Organisations are under more pressure to compete, remain dynamic, flexible and fast-paced. How do you ensure that digital learning is engaging and effective?
Deliver successful eLearning courses with a proven recipe plus the right mix of ingredients. Capture your learners' interest and provide meaningful outcomes to both learners and your organisation.
This article will discuss the most effective ways to get learners participating, engaging, and benefitting from their eLearning course.
First, let's look at how to measure that effectiveness.
Define success, achieve success.
To accurately measure whether your eLearning course has been successful, you need first to define what that success means.
Doing this at the beginning of the course implementation will help you assess the effectiveness of the content retrospectively and help guide you in developing the course. Once you know what needs is to be achieved, you can begin to design accordingly.
Remember, success can mean different things to different people. It can also mean other things for learners as it does for your organisation.
Define what success looks like for learners and your organisation in clear, measurable terms.
Set clear and meaningful objectives.
Rather than simply charting raw results - grades, completion rates or capturing CPD (Continuing Professional Development) hours - set meaningful objectives that can demonstrate the value in your course, both for the learner and the organisation.
For learners, clear objectives will help them select an appropriate course and help motivate them to persevere with their studies. Knowing the exact skills and competencies they will achieve makes it easier for learners to stay on track. It also makes it easier to assess the impact of the learning content by identifying specific things that learners have acquired throughout the course.
For organisations, learning objectives are usually closely linked to business objectives. For example, you might have a specific focus on improving staff retention by providing more opportunities for upskilling. In this case, one of your objectives would be for the learner to expand their capabilities and responsibilities within the organisation by acquiring new skills.
Measure the effectiveness of the course.
Learners' scores are the first and most apparent measurement of the success of an eLearning course, but scores alone are just the tip of the iceberg.
There are several other attributes that you can measure to determine the effectiveness of your eLearning course. These include things within the learning content, assessment and general behaviours in the workplace that change due to the learner's participation.
A successful eLearning course should have a positive effect on things such as:
- employee engagement
- job satisfaction
- job security
These can be measured before and after to gauge the effect of the course on their behaviours and performance.
Capture, measure and monitor the effectiveness of the course in the workplace, alongside their achievements, role-based outcomes and day to day activities.
Take a learner-first approach.
The success of any eLearning course relies on the right balance of many ingredients, but ultimately, it all depends on the learner.
To have any chance of achieving successful learning outcomes, you need to provide the learner with an engaging and valuable learning experience. To do that, you have to take a learner-first approach to design your course.
Aren't all courses aimed at the learner? Well, yes, but they aren't all designed with the learner in mind.
Rather than designing course material around your schedule and your preferences, give learners the flexibility of choice to ensure that they engage with your course.
We all work differently, and we all learn differently. Allow the learning experience to complement the workplace culture and support various learning behaviours while achieving the desired outcomes.
Choice of pace.
Learners have different levels of capacity and time constraints. Giving them the option to choose their own pace to complete the course can eliminate the risk of some people falling behind, burning out or dropping out.
Choice of device.
With the prevalence of mobile devices, studying can take place anywhere and at anytime.
Design your content to be easily accessible on mobile devices as it is on desktop computers. The learning experience should be engaging and effective whether learners choose to work at a desk, on the train, or during exercise (a few possibilities).
Giving learners a choice to study using their preferred device is crucial for a successful eLearning course.
Variety of formats.
A mix of formats can significantly increase learner engagement. These can include:
- gamified / interactive content
- hotspots / labeled graphics
- sorting activities
Some people prefer one over the other, and some learn better from one than another. In any case, giving learners a choice to access content in the way they prefer is likely to lead to better learning outcomes.
Look at blended learning possibilities, combining your online educational material with ILT (instructor led training), or vILT (virtual instructor led training). It requires the physical presence of both the facilitator and the learning, along with along some elements of student control such as place, pace and pathway.
Choice of topics.
By now, you're probably noticing a trend here. The freedom and flexibility of choice is a common factor in achieving learner engagement. Just as it is essential to give learners the option of pace and format, it is equally beneficial to offer various learning topics within each course.
If learners can have a degree of influence on the course by selecting subjects or projects that are most relevant to them, they are far more likely to engage with the learning content and benefit from it.
Make it relevant.
Whether or not you're able to choose subjects within your course, the course should be relevant to the learner's work and organisation.
Making the course subject matter relatable is essential to maintaining learner interest and spurring them to apply themselves wholeheartedly. Further, if learners can apply what they've learned to their work, they will inevitably feel a far greater sense of accomplishment after completing the course.
Aligning your course with your organisation's work is also likely to benefit the organisation more than taking a generic approach. A direct connection between coursework and benefit to the organisation is a precise measure of the success of your eLearning course, and it has the added benefit of helping to get stakeholder buy-in for future learning objectives.
Focus on the design.
The visual design of an eLearning course plays a significant role in how learners engage with it, even more, important on mobile devices.
A clean and aesthetically pleasing design leads to a better overall learning experience. Intelligent design also makes it easier to deliver the content, and learners are more likely to absorb information if presented well.
When developing your content, focus on the design, taking into account:
- visual elements
An extra benefit of having a well-designed course is that it positively affects your organisation's reputation. Your eLearning courses are as much a representation of your brand as your public-facing content or promotional materials.
Make sure your design hits the target learner audience, use graphics that are relevant to the learner that they are familiar with.
Bonus tip: Make it challenging
When something is challenging, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's too complicated. When developing your content, do so in a way that encourages learners to think outside the box. To challenge what they already know.
Learners are far more likely to engage and participate if they explore something new or an existing concept in a new way. They will benefit from being stimulated to think laterally, and your course will be all the better for it.
At Skillslive, we believe in developing long-lasting relationships. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and our approach reflects this commitment.
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