SHIFT's eLearning Blog

The Ten eLearning Commandments [Infographic]

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 @ 12:18 PM

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In order to lay some ground rules for creating successful eLearning programs, we have to put together 10 commandments for you to follow.

Similar to having a mission statement or defined company goals, your eLearning development should rely on these ten pillars of success:

1. Thou shall start with good beginnings.

Begin with a bait, an offer, or an honest introduction as if you are meeting someone for the first time. If your opening lines are good, learners will happily read your introductory material. The best eLearning courses are stories disguised in chunks and bits of educational data. And all good stories have good beginnings. Read your course’s introductory material again and again. If it sounds like the starting signal for an Olympic mouse clicking event, then you’re probably doing the right thing.

2. Thou shalt love thy learner as thyself.

Learning happens when the learner begins to acquire knowledge or skill. The spotlight, without a doubt, belongs to the learner. Learn as much as you can about your learners — what their needs, roles, dreams and abilities are — and build a course based on your findings.

3. Thou shalt respect your audience.

A relationship built on respect is guaranteed to last a long time. You can show respect for the learner in different ways. Start by respecting the learner’s intelligence, by responding to his/her mental needs. Design every part of your course with their needs in mind. They’ll show their appreciation by finishing your eLearning course.

4. Thou shalt keep it conversational.

Your tone of voice matters a lot. Learners may not see their instructors face-to-face but that doesn’t mean they won’t notice your approach. Keep your tone conversational by using the first or second person. This opens up learning environment to one that is interactive. Get rid of jargon and don’t be overly formal or condescending.

5. Thou shalt avoid eye candy.

Learning is mostly visual but too much graphics does not aid instruction. It’s a distraction that prevents learners from focusing their attention on the material. This is not an uncommon bad practice among eLearning designers. Many add images to simply fill slots on pages of text.

Designing for eLearning is a practice of restraint and balance. Aim for useful design, not decoration. Give learners enough room to breath by using white space.

6. Thou shalt show, not tell.

“Show, don’t tell” is a simple yet elegant piece of advice given to writers and artists. eLearning course developers should take heed of this too by allowing learners to experience the course through action. This means one thing: less conversation and exposition, and more action. Instead of asking them to read paragraphs after paragraphs of raw facts, think of interesting and creative ways to impart information

7. Thou shalt not abuse interactivity.

The medium encourages interactions but using them excessively is actually counterproductive. Overusing interactions reduces the effectiveness of the course. In fact, many studies revealed that more is NOT always better when it comes to interactivity in eLearning courses.

8. Thou shalt use small learning units.

Today’s learners struggle with information overload. Bombard them with large data and they’ll feel overwhelmed. They’ll either retain scraps of information or learn nothing. Dividing information into chunks is ideal. Organize your content around digestible, bite-sized piece of information. Prioritize need-to-know and place nice-to-know information in your resources section, if needed.

9. Thou shall not steal control from the learner.

Treat learners as king or queen. They’re not prisoners. Adult learners, after all, sign up for eLearning courses so that they can learn at self-directed pace. Allow them to maneuver your material. Don’t force on them what you think is good for them.

10. Thou shalt focus on activity, not screens.

Information is not evil but it doesn’t belong in a sardine can. Focus on screens and you’re in for a learning disaster.

Note: See the infographic bigger click here.

We're curious to know which points have been crucial to the success of youreLearning development. Let us know your best tips or experiences in the comments below.

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Topics: eLearning, eLearning tips

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