Improving the 4 Most Important Elements of Your eLearning Course
When an eLearning course is underperforming, there are a number of elements that could be going wrong, but the eLearning development team that designed it doesn't necessarily have to start from scratch. There are four areas that most commonly run into trouble, and revisiting the course and making improvements in these areas can significantly maximize the performance of the course. When it comes to getting high quality courses, little changes can make a big difference. Our suggestion: try to focus on improving one thing at a time. Don’t try to make all changes at once. Improve one area of the course and then work on the others.
This post will help you improve those key areas of your course and start moving toward better eLearning.
Element #1: Visuals and Design
You have just a few very short seconds to try and impress your learner, so you better have an attractive course that’s visually appealing. The visuals of a course will shape the users' impressions and attitudes when approaching it, and if the course looks cheap, outdated, or unprofessional, learners won't trust the quality of the content.
Incorporate high-quality visuals. A surprising number of eLearning courses still exhibit clip-art from the 1990's, or offer shaky, low-quality video with poor sound. Truth is your eLearning graphics need to stand out and this requires some extra effort to stop and analyze effective visuals when you’re trying to improve a course.
The design and layout of the course may also need a boost. During eLearning development, many designers try to make the screens more dynamic and interesting, but this can result in a cluttered and confusing appearance. So, how can you improve this?
- Ensure a good balance of text, images, and multi-media to grab your learners’ attention at all times.
- Pages should be streamlined and anything that doesn't enhance the learner's experience with the content should be removed.
- The style of your course should not be ignored. Adding style to your course (fonts, images, colors, text size, or the template design) is basic to get learners to be interested enough to try the course, and ultimately getting them to pay attention to you.
Element #2: Interactivity
If you’ve identified that your entire course is a one-way learning experience where your learners just click and read or watch a video to the end, then it’s definitely time your content becomes more interactive.
From passive to active learning. People learn more readily when they are actively engaged with the content, rather than sitting back and passively absorbing it. It's harder to become distracted when an eLearning course is regularly asking for thoughtful input – which means something more than clicking "Next." You’ll see that when eLearning development incorporates real interaction and engagement into the design of a course, users will get more out of the content. What are some easily fixed interactive elements in your courses?
- Move the content from the “show it” arena and into “try it”. Giving users the opportunity to explore the material they have just learned with a game or simulation is an effective way to reinforce lessons.
- Include short quizzes or assessments in order to force learners to pay attention and retain the material being taught.
- Shift the format of the content delivery from a linear progression to a series of branching avenues, the eLearning development team can create a course in which users must make choices which unlock new material in a manner that follows from their decisions.
Element #3: Content
Ultimately, an eLearning course is only as good as the content itself. Often, additional details and supplemental materials are added in during eLearning development, causing the content of the course to bloat unnecessarily.
Ensure it’s relevant to learners. The content of an unsuccessful course should undergo a relevancy review; anything that is not necessary for the main learning goals of the course should be moved into tabs or links, included in a link (only if it’s really necessary to read) or cut out entirely. So, move it or remove it!
Check out the order and progression of eLearning content. Skills and concepts need to be introduced in a manner that proceeds logically and facilitates understanding, rather than in whatever order someone on the eLearning development team thought of them. Concepts must build on one another to create a strong foundation for learning, rather than being stacked haphazardly without regard for coherence.
When at all possible, try to avoid confusing learners. Creating eLearning courses is all about transferring information quickly and efficiently. By going through content and ensuring there’re no confusing buttons, difficult to read text, or oversaturated interface designs, developers can guarantee that users will not be confused.
Element #4: Navigation
Open up the navigation. After having established what content is necessary and the order in which it should most effectively be experienced, an eLearning development team may be tempted to ensure that the user's experience with the content proceeds exactly as they have deemed optimal by locking down the navigation controls and allowing a user's experience to proceed only in a linear fashion, hitting every point in order. This approach is sure to annoy and frustrate many users. By unlocking the navigation and letting users backtrack or skip ahead as they feel necessary, moving past screens of content they already understand or jumping to a particular chapter that they want to review, the eLearning development team can make the content more accessible and help users feel more engaged.
What other quick tricks do you have for instantly boosting eLearning quality?