Top 5 Things Your Adult E-Learners Don't Want
There are lots of ways to find out what your existing and potential learners want, and we all should be investigating them regularly. But, what turns them off? What are the no-no’s that are driving students to the exits as fast as they can? Are there certain habits and edifices that we should retire ASAP to at least give ourselves a chance at winning them over? Here’s our top 5:
Poor Course Design
Truth is, eLearning courses don’t always come with a dashing, stylized or a very user friendly design. We know that creating a great online learning course takes time, money, and talent in user interface and aesthetic design alike – things some companies may not be quite willing to splurge on. But that doesn't mean your courses have to look ugly and boring. According to studies, eLearners frequently notice problems in the overall quality of course materials. Students expect more than just a course with a dump of text about a particular subject with a few short exercises within it… honestly, they could probably get the same training from a book. What do they want? They want eLearning courses that have an attractive and professional look, it makes it more credible, appealing and relevant.
What can you do? Create a visual design that is friendly and inviting. Design matters! It actually helps with the initial engagement and sets the tone of the course. So, create a course that’s as visually inviting as possible. Create great visual and interactive courses that engage, motivate, and communicate. Your goal is pull the learner into the course by capturing their attention. Learners love to see more than just text, so if you replace text overload through diagrams, infographics, charts, powerful images, interactive illustrations, and videos for example, chances are they will want to take the course.
Complicated and Confusing Courses
eLearning users don’t want to feel frustrated. Frustration causes them to fail and dislike their courses, and therefore their willingness to learn diminishes. Frustration is the feeling that arises when they can’t reach their goals. Cramming too much content into the course for example, leads to information overload, which is frustrating for the learner. Being unable to proceed to the next section or having difficulties finding where to go next can also create a frustrating experience and can lead to them abandoning the course. It’s very simple: learners want user-friendly and intuitive courses.
What can you do? Keep the layout obvious. Learners need to be busy working with the content, not busy trying to figure out what they’re supposed to be doing. A simple, clear and logical layout is the key to a learner-friendly course. For example, people use to scan the screen top-down and left right – so order your screen information that way. Use lots of white space as text overload causes confusion. And group related things together, for example any explanatory text that goes with a graphic.
A well-designed eLearning course shows learners where they’ve been and where they’re going. Learner-centric navigation and progress meters help light the way. Your courses should always begin with a set of instructions on how to use the course, how to advance and how to go back. Make it easy for learners to navigate through a course. No matter how engaging the content or innovative the design, if the course can’t be navigated easily or if it’s not accessible, you’ll de-motivate your learners so much that they will just leave and never come back.
To be Prisoners of a Restrictive Program
Gated activities, programmed to force the learner (to click, for example, every hotspot before moving on) are very irritating. The more restricted you make the course, the more opportunities you have to disengage and frustrate learners. There are better ways to help people learn. It’s a fact that adult learners are more self-guided in their learning and they want control over the pace of the course (start/stop times).
What can you do? Let learners drive. Start trusting students more to take control of their learning. Let them choose what they take and when they want to, so they can learn at their own self-directed pace. Create an environment where learners have as much freedom as possible, where they can click around and explore content as they wish, this way you are enhancing the learning experience. Even if you provide a suggested order, try to allow students to take lessons in a sequence that works for them.
Wasting their precious time
The phrase “there’s a need for speed” rings true: online learners want speed. They want information and answers fast, and moreover they want it presented in visual and interactive modes. For them, it’s a matter of getting in and out as quick as possible and then getting back to work; the quicker, the better.
eLearning students are interested in straightforward how-to information. They want what they need now, this means: only the essential information in the moment they need it. They don’t want to waste time reviewing material they already know.
What you can do? As eLearning professionals, we need to make sure that we have optimized all media elements for a network delivery. The computer may be running at an optimal level, but if the network connection is bogged down, eLearners will criticize the course for running slow.
The best way of allowing the learner to get what they need while avoiding what they don’t need is to using the “test and tell” method. This means, evaluate the learner on something immediately. If they know the answer, they can continue and get some feedback. But, if they answer wrong, the lesson material will appear.
You can also show them immediately how new knowledge or skills can be applied to current problems or situations. Don’t frustrate them or waste their time with a bunch of extra branched scenarios. Tell them what they need to know and let them go. You must be fairly brief, and to the point – and include a photograph, movie, audio, animation, or some form of interaction to help with your explanation.
Many times, eLearning courses are all show and no go. They can be brilliantly designed courses that look great but don’t actually teach anything valuable. Having poor performing courses that ultimately teach nothing frustrates your learners and causes that they never want to take an eLearning course again. Relevance is by far the most reported successful motivator when taking an eLearning session. When content is meaningful to the audience they become interested completing the course.
What can you do? Avoid poor performing courses. In many cases eLearning courses doesn’t have clear and measurable learning goals. Each course should have a specific objective, and the content inside needs to focus on meeting that objective. If the content doesn’t contribute to the objective, then it can be left out. To have the best course and engage your learners, you want to maintain focus on achieving the objectives. there shouldn't be lengthy, roundabout paths taken to reach the pertinent material. At every step of the way, an eye should be given to how the upcoming content directly affects the student, as pertains to the task they will be able to execute with this new-found knowledge. If learners aren’t sure where they’re heading or don’t find sense on what they’re doing since the beginning, they will probably will be unresponsive to the course. We suggest you create courses that relate or apply directly to the learner's perceived needs, that they are timely and appropriate for their current lives and tasks.
Give your learners eLearning courses that offer a user-friendly interface, meaningful content and media, solid instructional strategies, and professional, fresh approaches. This way, your training will be successful. Guaranteed!