The Missing Ingredient in Most eLearning Courses
eLearning developers, educators and HR departments have been trying for years to attract attention for their learners and come up with innovative ways to engage them. One idea after another is implemented in the hopes that each course finishes with excellent results. But why so many crash and burn? What does a course offers that many others don't?
In this post, we want to share with you what most eLearning developers miss when creating an eLearning course.
What’s In It For Me?
This question drives mostly every decision you make. From the moment you wake up in the morning, “What’s in it for me” is always playing quietly in the back of your head. Before starting a project, purchasing an item, or participating in a process ... the only thing you care about is "Will this work for me?" " What will I win?". These five words (WIIFM) help you make almost every choice, and in the eLearning world that's no exception. So why many courses continously forget to include this key ingredient?
No matter the subject of the course, or the specific characteristics of the target audience, adult learners always want to know why they are learning something and how it’s going to help them at work.
If the eLearning course does not answer this main question students will not be interested or motivated to go through the content, no matter how great and sophisticated it looks. Therefore, to ensure that your audience feels engaged we must be create courses your learners want to be in. If you don’t create a program that gives them the benefits or solutions they look for – if you don’t provide a course that thoroughly covers just what they’re looking for—they aren’t going to complete it, or even worse, they aren’t going to learn anything.
Treat the learning experience as a customer experience
If we compare the eLearning experience with a customer experience, you will be surprised how similar they are. When talking about great customer experiences, they say a memorable-focused experience will set you apart from the competition. You can even charge premium prices, because it adds unquantifiable value to your service or product. If customers feel they’re getting more, they’ll be willing to pay more. The same happens in eLearning, if you create relevant, meaningful and memorable learning experiences, students will definitely become attracted since the beginning and keep coming back for more. Contrary to this, as soon as they feel part of the experience is not to their liking or convenience, you will lose them.
How Can You Know Learners Better?
- Know what they want: Start designing the course taking into consideration your audience. You can design and plan your course based on what your students’ goals are. The goals of your learners will have a huge impact in your courses.
- Know what to focus on: What content? When? How should you present it? What, how and when to evaluate? You should recognize the richest resources for teaching adult learners. Focus on experiential techniques that tap into the experience of students, such as discussions, problem-solving, case studies, simulation exercises, games, and scenario, instead of only using traditional techniques such as text.
- Know how they behave and how they use information: You won’t know what the best use cases are if you don’t spend time with your learners. They’ll give you insight in how they use content.
- The Need to Know. Adults want to know why they need to learn something before undertaking learning. So, once you have a meaningful and valuable course, it’s time you promote it. It's useless to have an eLearning course or project well designed and relevant for the students, if you don’t promote it appropriately within your target audience.
- Connect Learning to Previous Knowledge: Relate new knowledge with existing knowledge of the students and explain how it helps them do their job easier, faster and appealing. Adults are motivated to learn that information that helps them achieve their goals, so your courses should focus on helping students accomplish their objectives in their daily work.
- Listen and Observe: Pay careful attention to feedback--positive and negative--regarding the eLearning course--and insist your team to pay close attention as well. Practice observing patrons!
Focus on capturing the attention of students and clearly understand why the course is for them and what's in it for them. Undoubtedly, this will let you achieve the ROI you are looking for the project, from any point of view. If you grab learners’ attention up front and consistently reiterate the WIIFM throughout your course, you’ll undoubtedly get them engaged and motivated.
Start Today Tip: Identifying and communicating WIIFM is easy and a MUST. Start including this element in your eLearning courses today. Give yourself some time to study your audience first, hook up with new or old learners to get a better feel for the course design. Try to spend a few minutes talking to the people who will take the course and you will see how that will make the difference in your courses.