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10 tips for creating engaging e-learning content

The evolution of technology over the past few years has led to major changes with regards to employee training and continued professional development. It is no longer acceptable for employees to wait for weeks on end before training facilities become available – if an organisation is to have any chance at succeeding, they need their staff to perform at their best at all times. Well-trained teams have been found to be more motivated, more productive and more valuable to a business and online learning eliminates many of the problems associated with different instructors teaching variant material on the same subject — for corporate training, consistency is critical.

In-house e-learning courses can only be effective if the content is delivered in a way that is engaging and easily understood. When organisations consider e-learning as the training medium for their employees, there are many things to take into consideration before jumping into the deep end. The first and perhaps the most obvious step that needs to be completed, is mapping out the objectives of what you need to achieve through e-learning. It’s fairly straightforward to create course material that conveys what you as an organisation need your employees to know and understand, but it is far more challenging to create material that appeals to them and gets them engaged in what they are learning about.

Let’s have a look at a few things that we can do in order to make the content more engaging:

1. Promote thinking
Studies show that learners who are actively engaged in an activity are ten times more likely to remember it. Instead of a series of screens which are jam-packed with text, give the learner something to think about or a puzzle to solve – this will keep them focused on solving the puzzle and prevent them from becoming irritated or bored with the content.

2. Keep it relevant
If the material that the learner is required to absorb does not relate to them in any way, it will be tough for them to retain the information. Learning needs to be reinforced in ways that the student can relate to.

3. Get their attention
“You’ve got seconds to grab someone’s attention, and only 10 minutes to keep it,” says Molecular Biologist and Author, Dr John Medina, “At 9 minutes and 59 seconds, something must be done quickly – something emotional and relevant”.

4. Recognition and feedback are critical
Providing on-going feedback to learners enhances the learning experience and encourages them to keep on trying. An animated character popping onto the screen and congratulating them for figuring out how to complete something is the motivation they need to keep moving forward.

5. Pulling information
By allowing the learner to make their own decisions, it challenges them to demonstrate their understanding of what they have been learning about. Leading them to explore before making an important decision will keep the learner engrossed in the lesson, while also promoting the retention of information.

6. Bytes of information
We can’t expect learners to absorb pages and pages of information without dropping the ball at some point. Learners need to be presented with small ‘bytes’ of information at a time. Once they have reflected on those tidbits of information and have gained an understanding thereof through repetition, they can move onto the next segment or byte.

7. Build confidence
It is important to build the confidence of your learners in order to ensure that their expectations of the course are realistic. This can be done by showing them what they have the capacity to achieve and then directing them towards taking personal responsibility for the outcome of their learning experience.

8. Variety is key
It is important that you mix things up a little – reinforce the lessons they have already learned through graphic representations, that way they are getting the message more than once and it is more likely to stick. Create content that challenges the learner to think instead of structuring things in the same way throughout a course, causing it to become predictable.

9. Make it humorous
A little bit of humour goes a long way when trying to keep a course engaging. Laughter is known to trigger the release of adrenaline in your body, which in turn reduces stress levels and increases the retention of information.

10. Problem-solving
Create a scenario where the learner has to use the information that they have just learned in order to solve a problem. This will help them to adapt the information to real-life scenarios, while also reinforcing what they have already learned.

Training is a vital component of any successful organisation, and the more engaging you make your content, the more likely you are to see dramatic results from your employees.

Author | Kirsty Chadwick

Kirsty Chadwick
As an experienced educator, public speaker and leader, Kirsty Chadwick has spent almost two decades involved in the field of education. Founder of The Training Room Online, which designs and develops innovative tailor-made e-learning material for the private and public sectors, Kirsty has trained, developed and inspired people across... More

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