Ever wondered why the best laid plans for eLearning go awry? Why the human resources managers are unhappy and why the employees fail to perform? This is despite the good scores they achieve in your eLearning courses.
Sure enough, you developed entertaining content, complete with game-show style quizzes. Your course registration and completion rates are better than ever. And the testimonials and ratings by employees are in an all time high. You even have an effective community-of-practice style conversations under your courses. Managers and senior executives sometimes join in and provide their insights on a recurring problem.
Staring at the blank screen or sheet of paper is every creative’s nightmare. E-learning professionals are not far from writers and designers in this sense, as in most cases they need to start from scratch and build a program that will truly add value, be aesthetically pleasing and is in line with the learning objectives of a company.
The easiest way to fight creative block is to simply glance over to what others are doing and copy what seems to be working for them. John Cullum’s character in the film Kill Your Darlings declares, “There can be no creation before imitation.” This seems to ring true for most people trying to come up with a new product or idea and being lost in doubt or lack of creative spark.
Yes, it is tempting to imitate the success of another e-learning program and in some cases, when done within reason, copying design, style and presentation is not illegal. However, just in as many cases, bare imitation without first considering the audience and specific goals of the program tends to fire back.
There’s a saying in the real estate industry that the three most important aspects of a real estate property is “location, location, location”. In e-learning those three aspects would be “content, content, content”.
All the fancy gizmos (augmented reality, gamification, interactive multimedia and the like) won’t help you if your content is not up to the task ― the task being helping your students learn and understand the course’s subject matter, of course.
The generic advice we gave in previous posts still holds: it should be clear and succinct, well structured and divided into the appropriate lessons (or “chapters”), and accompanied with relevant as opposed to decorative examples, illustrations and media.
Beyond that, we cannot tell you in detail about how to write or structure your content because it depends on the particular course you’re offering and what better suits it.
Instead, we’ll have a look at what you should include in your course, taking into account what modern LMS platforms offer. Some of the advice (such as the need to have lessons) are seemingly obvious, but bear with us, as we delve into some issues course creators face, that you might not have thought.
More is better, bigger is better, shinier is better. Not necessarily when it comes to visual aesthetics in human-computer interactions.
Imagine opening a website looking for something specific, when all at once banners and pop-up ads start flashing at you, graphics are whirling, sounds exploding, text is blinking. The effect? You frantically start clicking and closing and minimizing… or you just become overwhelmed or annoyed and leave.
While not necessarily the case with training program design, there are instances when in the hopes of adding more functionality and value, course designers forget about the actual human experience of trainees.
First impressions are everything and looking at a program that does not immediately please us aesthetically makes us less inclined to enjoy interacting with it.
Culture determines not only how one learns and what one learns but also what one perceives as important to learn – and the effects of culture on learners’ experiences in elearning can be profound. Culture affects social behavior, communication, cognitive processes, and how one interacts with learning technologies – all central components to elearning design (Vatrapi, 2008). Anybody who has taught multi-cultural classes innately understand this in those “lost in translation” moments – dead silence, hesitation, discomfort, lack of participation – all visual cues. But if you’re doing an elearning course, especially if it’s self-paced, trainers cannot know what’s going on at the other end for learners. Continue reading