Engaging your learners is key to the success of your eLearning content, but how do you go about doing this?
Using different technologies and carefully considered web design will help you make a unique and engaging eLearning experience. Both the design of your course and the method of delivery will work together to encourage users, and there are a number of ideas to consider when trying to optimise your content.
know your audience
Understanding who your learners are before starting will help create an almost personalised eLearning course. Customer segmentation is a common marketing strategy to help you visualise your users. If you can imagine an individual, it will be far less difficult to teach and engage. It’s really important to make a course specific to the target audience; a course could be of the highest quality and full of information, yet still unsuccessful because it fails to reach out to its target market. Think about the demographics of your learners. What are the common problems they face? If you can drill your content down to what they really want to learn, you can use more relatable examples and topics.
boost their confidence
Learners will stay motivated throughout a course when they see themselves progress. Jumping too far ahead can leave gaps in knowledge and will eventually discourage the user. You can easily build confidence by introducing new topics in small steps and ensuring that everyone is staying on track. However, there is a balance to strike. The course should not be too slow, as this will become boring. Try and push the limits when using exercises and activities, but keep the bulk of the content easy to follow.
Reinforcing the information learned in the course will also boost confidence. This is where interactive design plays its role to engage the learner with quizzes or activities. Not only does this mix up the style of learning for motivation and aesthetics, but it genuinely helps embed the understanding of the course.
utilise learning theories
It can seem difficult to try and mirror the advantages of a classroom environment. It’s like trying to recreate a 3D shape in just two dimensions. When it boils down to it, all you have is a computer screen. That’s why understanding core learning theories before making a course will really aid levels of engagement. These theories are well referenced and acknowledged in education, based on three principles of behaviourism, cognitivism and constructivism. Though they can conflict in styles of learning, using the wealth of knowledge that exists on the topic can really benefit your course. They make solid recommendations for teaching styles you could implement, such as brainstorming or positive reinforcement.
use gamification and interactivity
Once you have thought about the overlying concept of your content design, there are a number of ways to put that into action. Gamification is an effective example of how to get the user to apply information learned. It’s possible to simulate real-life situations or scenarios, and generally, make the learning environment more fun. It’s a method that plays on instant gratification, helping to visualise the rewards of learning and links back to that idea of building confidence.
You can also offer a real hands-on approach to learning through simulations and interactive modules. Depending on the content, you could find it beneficial to include a software simulation in your course, for example. The user gets to learn-by-doing, rather than trying to follow a set of instructions or a process map. The learner is not bogged down by unimportant text and will come away having learned something practical.
There’s no requirement to follow a template when creating an eLearning course. The more targeted and personalised you can make it, the better it will be. Ensure the content is delivered in a way suited to the reader, and use interactive design to complement and reinforce the learning journey.