E-learning programs are popular with large organizations looking for a way to train their employees without taking them away from their day-to-day jobs. They are equally popular with learners, who can gain valuable professional qualifications by studying at a time and place that suits them.
But not all e-learning courses are making the most of the available technology or the psychology involved in independent study. With that in mind, the following tips can help improve your e-learning strategy and approach — and learners’ outcomes.
Know Your Audience
Before you do any preparation for your e-learning course, it is essential to know whom you will be delivering it to. Are you confident you know your target audience and understand the environment in which they will be learning? Will your learners be senior executives, new employees or experienced staff undertaking continuing professional development? You won’t be able to develop good content unless you know who your learners are.
Create a Content Plan
Prepare all your content offline first to ensure you have ample time to develop great content. Preparing in advance will also help you decide which sections are best suited to text, images, video or audio content. In addition, developing your content plan in chunks will ensure that you can easily reuse certain sections in future courses.
Consider Your Learners’ Motivation
Some learners are motivated by earning a professional qualification that will boost their career prospects. They may have actively pushed to attend the course. Other learners only attend because they are required to. Don’t assume everyone will be highly or equally motivated. Take responsibility for motivating your learners, and they will get more out of the course.
One simple way to motivate learners is to highlight the benefits of learning a particular topic. For instance, studying risk management can help project managers deliver their projects more successfully and develop a reputation as a successful project manager, opening up the possibility of a promotion or career progression.
Another motivational strategy is to highlight common problems in the working environment and show how the course will help employees overcome those problems, leading to less stress and more job satisfaction.
Consider the Average Attention Span
Whether our obsession with the internet has made our attention spans shorter is always open for debate, but different sources suggest that the average attention span is anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. If there are complex topics in the course, consider breaking them down into manageable parts.
Have Some Fun
Learning should, and can, be fun. Add quizzes or small games when appropriate. Even adding light-hearted case studies with humorous business names can lighten the mood for your learners and help motivate them. Humor and learning are not mutually exclusive, but far too many courses are dull.
Use Multimedia Formats
Even the most motivated learners will sometimes take things easy if they can. Keep them engaged with reminders to complete tasks, 60-second videos for quick bursts of inspiration and short podcasts with interesting guests.
Consider Blended Learning
Blended learning is a combination of different forms of learning, such as e-learning, workshops, podcasts and traditional in-person classes. It offers the best of each type of learning in one course. It’s also easier to tailor a blended learning course for different individual and organizational requirements.
No training professional is perfect, so aim to continually improve what you deliver by requesting feedback from learners and taking action to improve any aspects that are sub-par. Use that feedback and these tips, and you will soon be getting five-star feedback for your e-learning courses.