12 Tips and Tricks to Spice Up Your Bland eLearning Courses
Is your eLearning course a yawn? How do you bring the spark back into a boring eLearning course and inject some va-va-voom into them? Well, it's all about approaching your course with a little creativity and extra work. Don't worry! In this post you'll learn how to avoid the Boring eLearning Syndrome.
Here are 12 tips ans tricks to spice up your eLearning courses the next time your creativity needs a jolt:
Unleash the Power of Templates:
Great authoring tools offer a variety of templates that you can use to create more engaging and meaningful courses. Hopefully they are also flexible enough to meet your needs. Templates are created to add professionally designed interactivity to your courses without requiring any programming or graphic design skills.You can seamlessly use these layouts with scenarios, characters, images, and animations to bring your eLearning courses to life. Learn more about templates here.
Feature a Main Character:
You can take your courses up a notch with a realistic touch. By using some type of character (avatars,learning agents, real people or even cartoons) you are giving your courses personality and boosting learners’ engagement. Characters are the perfect way to combine the best parts of both face-to-face training and computer-based learning. Their intent is to personalize the learning experience, help learners focus during the course, and make the course fun and interesting. Hint: Include them in your scenarios, or while explaining and assessing the learning.
Put Quality Over Quantity:
If you’re presenting great amounts of content but the quality is lacking, you won’t have learners coming back. Be concise in your screens. If you take too long to get to your point, you’ll lose interest rapidly. Remember: attention spans are short. This means:
- You need to break up your content into segments of no more than ten minutes length. Why? Because that is the average amount of time most people are use to listening to information being presented. Chunking content is a great technique to create successful eLearning. You can look for patterns and chunk related ideas, limit screens to one simple idea at a time or just focus on the “must-learn” content. Including visual content is also a great idea to give a breath to the learner.
- Cut out the unnecessary data. This means, pick over all of the information that your client wants to throw into the course and still make it a good course. Follow this basic rule: if it doesn't help meet the initial learning objectives, take it out of the course!
Including podcasts as a part of your courses is like having your own radio show. It’s a fantastic opportunity to share audio content with your learners. One of the most important educational features offered by podcasting is learning through listening. For many people, listening may be more attractive and less tedious than reading full-text screens.
Try using video:
Words get boring quickly. The truth is that not many people enjoy reading as much as they used to. With all the interactive options available, why would they? The perfect way to spice up your boring audience is to create a video. They provide greater engagement than just text or images because they combine audio, video and text. Additionally, it’s an effective way to tell stories, share information and educate.Hint: consider using this resource to share tips, insights or even demonstrate how a product is used.
It's applying gaming principles to a particular course -- in order to achieve some desired end. Your audience engages in some kind of game so that they might win something, and in return, you get something you want out of them, too. Games definitely make the course more enjoyable to use for the learner. Gamification elements range from simple progress bars like the “percentage complete” reminder, badges and awards that can be earned for a wide range of activities, to providing positive feedback as learner’s progress through the course. However, it's much more than just points and levels... it's about presenting a challenge, and using interactivity and feedback to achieve specific goals. Hint: Don't focus on entertainment! For further information watch this presentation from Karl Kapp.
Identify your audience and stick with them:
Identify your opportunities, find your audience, and supply them with engaging content. Your eLearning strategy does not have to appeal everyone in the company, just those that will actually take the course. The key in all of this is to put yourself in the position of the new learner. And by doing this, you’ll make a course that is relevant and successful.
Present a Story:
Creating a hook that will engage an audience is an important part of eLearning development. Crafting a story which can capture the imagination of the learner is a great technique to spice up your courses. An element of storytelling is the creation and resolution of suspense as a way to draw in the learner. A great way to get people to continue is to withhold information from them. This can be as complex as creating a mystery where the lesson works toward true resolution, or it can be as simple as grouping tasks together and delaying the time judgment is finally given. People remember stories not a pile of facts. Think about how you can convert your organization’s information into an easy-to-remember story all of your prospects can remember.
One way to breathe life into your courses is to move learners from being passive recipients of information to active and engaged learners. Using an active voice rather than the passive voice it’s a good start, but not enough. You can achieve higher levers of engagement by including activities that will make them think and analyze and by inspiring students to explore and get them to “pull” or discover the information they need along the course.
Offer format variety:
When text fails to get your point across, use other formats such as charts and diagrams, videos, system simulations, infographics, powerful images, etc.
Include links to relevant information:
Part of the value of using eLearning is to provide the learner more interactive means. Hyperlinks for example, are a great way to add interactivity to your courses; mainly because they allow learners to click on your screen and jump directly to any additional content they need (a different part of the course, a web page or a document). Hint: Only link to specific pages that are really necessary for the learner to read.
Be practical first… then be cool:
Creating eLearning courses is all about transferring information quickly and efficiently. Confusing navigation buttons, difficult to read text, and oversaturated interface designs are usually counterproductive and fail to achieve your courses’ objectives. Sometimes being obvious is not cool, but it’s functional. If you use creative navigation button just be sure your audience knows what will happen when they click on it.
These tips are just for starters. There are plenty of other ways to spice-up your eLearning courses. With a little effort, you can make the learning experience a far more enjoyable one for learners.