E-Learning is an important business investment that can help enhance profits through increased staff productivity and motivation, lower staff turnover, etc. But why, you may ask, should we invest extra money into creating engaging training programs, since most of them are compulsory anyway?
In order to really reap the business benefits of your e-learning program, learning has to be more than just ticking boxes and getting scores. The goal, ultimately, is for your employees to remember and apply what they learned, and this can only happen if the learner is fully engaged with the material. Engaging means effective.
So, how can you get there?
Create Meaningful Content
E-Learning development begins with the end users—the learners. And they are probably asking themselves: Why should I spend my time on this training? How does it benefit me?
Thanks to the internet, we’re all accustomed to getting access to information on-demand, at a moment’s notice. Almost any fact or skill imaginable is available at our fingertips, but the information really only becomes valuable to us at the moment we need it. That is why, before creating a training, it is necessary to get to know the learners, define their immediate learning needs, and make clear our expectations on what kind of behavioral change we expect after the training.
Create Stories and Case Studies
What will you remember more clearly: a list of an anti-money laundering policies or a story about a detective hunting down a criminal suspected of money laundering? Probably the latter.
We pay attention to things that engage us emotionally. Stories and case studies with realistic characters provide learners not with abstract descriptions and lists but with work-related context, experiences, and challenges. Even a compliance course can be fun and memorable if it contains real cases or a meaningful story.
Make the Course Interactive
Just watching the content being presented is boring and has little learning effect—learners will most likely forget the information shortly after the training. We need to encourage them to interact with the content—to click, to type, to search for information, to discover, to play. The more involved we are, the more we remember. Modern e-learning tools offer a great variety of interactive capabilities—simulations, exercises, various media—that, when they correspond to learning objectives, help keep learners be focused and engaged.
Too often the only opportunity for learners to practice and to check their knowledge is a quiz with “right/wrong” feedback at the end of the training. This is enough to get the scores necessary to pass, but certainly not enough to reflect on and retain the information. Each learning activity and assessment should ideally include meaningful feedback: if the answer is correct, learners will profit from additional information; if the answer is incorrect, it is helpful to give them a hint and explain why the answer is wrong. For example:
What button should you press in case of emergency?
Right: Well done! When you press this button, emergency services arrives immediately. You may also find it helpful to save the emergency contact list (link).
Wrong: Well tried! But that’s not quite right. If you press this button, you will switch off the electricity in the whole office. Please try again to be sure emergency services arrives on time.
Let Learners Play
Learning through play is one of the oldest instructional methods, and quickly becoming a popular feature in e-learning. Gamification strategies such as platform, tactical, and board games motivate learners to make decisions, try and fail, and learn in the process.
Recognizing the hard work and success of your learners motivates them to achieve even more. Incorporating gamification elements such as points, awards, and badges at the end of the training leaves learners with a sense of satisfaction and makes the learning experience much more memorable.
Provide Intuitive Navigation and Clear Design
Learners can become frustrated and lose focus quickly if they are faced with disruptive elements such as long load times, unclear navigation, text heavy slides, or jarring color combinations. When designing courses, the focus should be on ensuring the learner can intuitively progress through the course and that the navigation has a professional, compelling design. For courses on mobile devices, a mobile learning solution like Adapt can help you design an exceptional learner experience on any platform.
Keep it Short
Microlearning is a top e-learning trend, and for good reason. Who of us can watch a 40-minute explainer video or can take a 1-hour online course without losing focus?
Small pieces of content are much easier to digest—learners can absorb and apply the information quickly. Short modules are also much easier to re-take, so the learners are more likely to get back to the course when they need specific information. Microlearning doesn’t mean that we just cut long courses into smaller parts (though this also helps). It means we create content items that focus on one specific learning objective or task. Micro-modules are also perfect for use on mobile—learn where you want!
Create a Learning Community
E-learning is all about individual learning, which has its advantages. However, being part of a community motivates learners to collaborate and gain expertise, and helps them feel supported. Where appropriate, you can incorporate a social element into the LMS or an internal webserver where learners can create discussion groups and share learning materials.
Make it Personal
One of the most effective ways to personalize learning is to create adaptive learning journeys, where learners can get personalized course recommendations based on their knowledge level, role, and the tasks they perform. However, even more subtle personalization can make learners feel special. Allowing users to create a personal account on the LMS, view their progress, and bookmark the content gives learners a feeling of autonomy and responsibility for their own learning—and this is one of the foundations of adult education.
Engaging e-learning is a win-win both for employers and their teams. Please reach out to TransPerfect’s dedicated e-learning experts to learn more!