Most online training suffers from one of two problems: it’s text-heavy, too long, and not compelling enough to keep the learner interested or it just presents information without engaging a learner so they can really learn the material. If your online course development has either of these problems, you need to fix it ASAP.
By following these examples from our own custom course demos, well demonstrate 6 ways you can take your own courses to the next level.
Take Learners Through A Real-Life, Engaging Scenario
If you really want to engage your learners, its best to have them immersed in a simulation where they can relate to the environment and turn on their lateral thinking. For example, if its a course on the traits of a leader, put their course persona in a leadership position and take them through challenges that inform, grow, and test their leadership.
In our Patient Management demo, we take a user through a scenario where they have to ask a new patient questions on their condition, trying to come up with the proper diagnosis while managing their time commitment. This demo tests their knowledge, but also their budget and resource management skills using two different feedback trackers.
Add A Strong Visual Theme
People learn better when they are engaged with what they see, especially visual learners who are drawn in by images. Your elearning courses visual theme must have images that are inserted purposefully onto the screen. Its not simply good enough to just add pretty pictures to the screen (thats a start), but its best to follow a design with your learning. For example, using real-life photos of hospital workers and patients in a medical course, or a subtle office style background in a course based on managing others.
In the Trust-Based Communication demo, we use post-it notes and picture-type images, that make it look like the information is being posted on a number of bulletin boards. Thats the visual theme of the course that relates to an office.
Create A Flow To The Navigation
When moving from screen-to-screen, make sure that the learners know where to click next. If theyre confused by the navigation, then theyll get frustrated and wont learn your content even if its great. Templates are great for sequential navigation, as the user immediately learns how to move back and forth through the course, access help information, turn sound on/off, open the menu and more.
In our Supervisory Skills for First Time Leaders demo, the handy template contains all the necessary navigation information at the outset, including a short walkthrough of the main navigation highlights, so that a user starts with a great flow to the information.
Engage The User With Sounds And Music
Learners are engaged by hearing music and background sounds that give a pleasing background lilt and help them absorb the course information. The right music puts learners in the right mindset, where they are more receptive to having their ideas challenged by course material. Background sounds and effects draw learners in and make them pay attention by adding to the ambiance and realism.
In our Make the Sale demo, where you are a travel consultant trying to sell cruise packages, we added low volume background music, with a simple tropical tempo and some crashing waves to relax a tough sob (making sales calls) and get the learner in the mood for cruises!
Add Course Avatars Or Wizards
Avatars or wizards are simple characters that are added to a course so that the content has a go-between to speak directly to the learner. Avatars give assistance, tips, tricks, and advice so that people can learn and understand better. They often serve the same function as a host or speaker for a live event. These wizards give a virtual human touch, help hold their interest, and serve as a learning mentor.
In our Interviewing and Selection demo, the avatar is the narrator of the course, while in the Trust-Based Communication demo, the Pin character helps the user as hes heard all the office gossip that stunts workplace communication.
Move Learners With Movement And Activity
Kinesthetic learners are engaged when they touch, push, or pull at something. In an online training course, they want to click, drag, drop, and just generally interact with their course environment. If your course doesnt have any movement or activity, then people often shut off their brains and arent receptive to learning. Adding animations that are simple to do in Flash or HTML5 courses helps engage users, while having reviews and interactive events makes them more interested.
In our Role-Play demo, users must go through a course and find out the best way to respond and award their employees. Learners are forced to interact with the screen and select the options to interact with their environment.
By taking our demos into account and reflecting on your custom elearning development efforts, youll be able to create courses that engage your learners and get the results you need.
For more tips on how to create great elearning, download our free ebook, Learn How To Create Performance Based Elearning.