8 Effective Ways to Create Engaging eLearning Courses

Today’s eLearners face a lot of distractions: social media, emails, messaging apps and funny cat videos on YouTube, to name a few. That means it has become more challenging than ever for eLearning platforms to effectively engage an audience.

According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report, increasing engagement with learning programs was the No. 2 priority of talent developers that year. It is a critical and constant challenge that can be overcome with research and planning.

Learning becomes natural and effortless when you create eLearning experiences that resonate with your audience. So how can you achieve this?

In this article, we’ll look at eight things you can do to make your eLearning courses engaging for learners. They’ll help you to deliver highly accessible and captivating eLearning experiences.

1) Set Clear and Measurable Learning Objectives

Studying a course with no goals is like driving to a new destination with no map. Your learners will get lost. So, a critical element of online learning engagement is clarifying the aims and objectives of the course.

A learning objective is a specific and measurable description of each unit’s outcome and what your learners should be capable of once the course is completed. To set clear objectives, make sure you can answer the following:

  • What do I want learners to accomplish?
  • Can they achieve this by the end of the unit/course?
  • Can I measure their progress?
  • Are the goals realistic?
  • Do the goals have realistic timeframes?
  • Do the objectives make sense for my target audience?

Answering these questions will help you assess the performance of each learner and the course’s effectiveness.

2) Be Relevant and Concise

All information should be clear, brief and relevant. There is no need to add anything extra if it is not directly applicable. Smaller chunks of information will be more manageable for your audience to digest and retain. Bite-sized content is also more effective at holding people’s attention. Remember the old adage: Less is more. If you need some sections to be longer because there’s a lot of information to get across, consider using graphics or videos instead.

When designing a course, you need a clear idea of who your audience is. If you adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, you risk alienating many of your learners. More capable students may find the courses too easy, while less experienced learners may struggle. You need to create customized eLearning solutions. To do that, research your audience and get to know them better so you can design courses tailored to them.

3) Use Graphics and Multimedia

If they snooze, you lose. People’s attention spans are getting shorter, so you’ve got to think of ways to grab – and keep – your audience’s attention. Graphics and multimedia can play a big part in this.

Bring life to your course and enhance the learning experience with beautiful graphics and images. They make your content look fresh and visually appealing. This can boost information retention and eLearning engagement, and help you explain complicated topics. Options that you can use are stock images, illustrations, diagrams, charts, infographics and more.

You can also make use of high-quality audio and video clips of varying lengths. Both are more engaging than long blocks of text.

4) Deliver Interactive Learning Content

Picture a classroom full of students with a teacher speaking non-stop for the duration of the lesson. Boring, isn’t it? The same is true for eLearning courses that simply present reams of information. Interactivity helps your students stay focused and interested throughout the course. It keeps boredom and distractions at bay and forces them to engage. There are several ways to incorporate interactivity into eLearning courses. For example, adding quizzes, tests, clicks for a popup message, and drag-and-drop interactions.

5) Add Games to Make Things Fun

Gaming formats and tactics can boost engagement and participation. It helps to make eLearning courses more fun, accessible and enjoyable. Gamification is not just about creating polls or quizzes. It can also involve educational games and gamified scenario-based simulations. An affective gamification approach includes the following elements:

  • Compelling stories that take learners on a journey
  • Eye-catching visual designs
  • Challenges
  • Competitions
  • Rewards that help to motivate, such as medals, badges and unlocking of new levels. Other top motivating gamification elements are leaderboards and points
  • Instant feedback when learners have completed tasks

When done well, a gamification approach increases attention span and learner motivation, enriches the overall experience and results in better student engagement.

A 2019 survey by TalentLMS found that 83% of people who receive gamified training feel motivated, while 61% who receive non-gamified training feel bored and unproductive.

6) Be Mobile-Friendly

Mobile is dominating the world. There are more than 5 billion smartphone users worldwide, and more than 58% of all web traffic comes through mobile phones as of May 2022.

That means that a sizeable chunk of your potential audience will access your course via mobile devices, such as a smartphone or a tablet. According to LearnDash, 70% of students were more motivated when mobile devices were leveraged.

Keep the following tips in mind when developing mobile-friendly eLearning courses:

  • Don’t overload the screen with lots of visual clutter. Avoid unnecessary banners, buttons and notices
  • Remove large blocks of text
  • Use navigation icons
  • Ensure the navigation is intuitive to use
  • Avoid large graphs or anything else that requires a lot of scrolling
  • Compress content such as videos and images to avoid time-outs and learner frustrations. Remember that some participants may be working with slower Internet speeds
  • Provide downloadable content. This allows learners to complete work as their schedule permits
  • Don’t be afraid of white spaces
  • Use bullet points instead of long sentences
  • Before deploying your course, test it out on various devices

7) Collect Feedback from Your Learners

So, you’ve created what you think is an engaging, immersive and valuable eLearning course. You invested lot of time and effort into its development, and you naturally want to know if you’ve hit a home run. Does it provide the educational experience you had hoped for? The only way to find out is to ask your audience.

Don’t wait until the end of the course to ask for feedback. Your learners may have moved on to something else before finishing the course. Ask for their impressions after several stages or modules. You can solicit feedback via email or SMS or have a survey embedded on your website.

Your survey can include yes or no questions, multiple-choice questions, and scaled-response questions (those that ask respondents to rate something on a scale of 0-10).

Possible questions to ask include:

  • How do you feel about the learning pace?
  • Overall, how satisfied are you with the course?
  • What do you like most about the course?
  • What is the most helpful thing you have learned so far?
  • Is there anything that’s not relevant to you?

Also, give learners a chance to put things in their own words.

Feedback is an essential part of developing any product. When creating a course, it is not unusual to have to refine or enhance certain elements. In fact, doing so makes your material more engaging and relevant to your users.

8) Localize Your eLearning Content for Different Cultures

Approximately 75% of the world’s population doesn’t speak English. Localizing your eLearning content helps your course reach the billions of people whose primary language isn’t English.

Localization is the process of adapting your course content for learners in specific geographic locations. With it, users in that location will feel that the course has been made specifically for them. This has a direct impact on engagement and retention.

You may not need to localize every aspect of your eLearning course. It all depends on your target audience. Among the course elements you can localize are:

  • Written content
  • Images, illustrations and gestures
  • Colors and fonts
  • User Experience elements (e.g., navigation buttons)
  • Audio and video
  • Formatting (e.g., numbers, date, currencies)
  • Idioms and slang
  • Reviews
  • Comments
  • Subtitles
  • FAQs
  • Marketing materials

Conclusion

Engaged learners are what you want, so keep these tips in mind when creating your eLearning courses. When learners are engaged, they’re motivated, inspired and feel good about their work. As a result, they’ll learn more effectively.

EC Innovations offers a full suite of eLearning translation and multimedia services in over 130 languages. Interested in learning how we can help you localize training content to boost global engagement? Drop us a line today!

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