Top 10 Tips for Creating Engaging eLearning

If you are thinking about developing custom eLearning courses, these top 10 tips for creating engaging eLearning are worth considering.

1. Talk TO the learner not AT them

The tone of the training should make the learner feel you are talking directly to them;

for example, “This training course will help you do your job and help you look after your customers” instead of talking at them;

for example “This training course explains the role of a customer service adviser and how to communicate with customers”.

Writing content in this way lets you talk to your learner in an informal tone as if they are someone you know well, by doing this you increase the likelihood they will naturally listen.

Talking at your learner, is more impersonal, as if you are talking to no one in particular. This is confusing because the learner is not sure if he is supposed to pay attention to what you are saying. Talking at your learner can make sentences longer which again can confuse some learners and make them lose interest in your course.

2. Tell me a story

It is more important than ever to tell a story when trying to catch your learner’s attention, especially the younger generation who are beginning their careers. People remember stories more than they do “presentations”.

It doesn’t mean you have to weave a story about a princess, a knight or a magical forest! What it means is that giving real life examples to the content will help your learners better understand and remember what you are teaching them….it gives them a reason to remember!

Having said that, we all love a good story and we love nothing more than a story that has drama, crisis, and a happy ending. If you want to create a proper story around the content, then feel free to do so…it may just be a bit time consuming though.

3. Create IMPACTFUL headlines!!

Your headlines should grab your learner’s attention and compel them to delve further into the content.
Impactful headlines contain these three attention-grabbing elements:

Curiosity: Make your learners curious by using popular phrases: “You want the truth…You can’t handle the truth!” instead of “What is Identity theft?”

Benefit: Highlight the what’s-in-it-for-me information in the headline to encourage your learners to read on. For example, “How Can You Increase your Tips” instead of “The Benefits of Recommending Additional Services.”

Solution: Highlight a problem and state that you have the solution to it. Your learners are always in search of solutions to their problems, so they will be more hooked by a headline that reads “How You Can Delight an Unhappy Customer” rather than “Customer Service Troubleshooting Guide.”

4. Videos are mightier than the pen!

Digital videos (not tapes!) are a great way to keep your learners engaged. Short and snappy videos will hold your learner’s attention far more than reams of text. If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, Then Is a Video Worth 1.8 Million. *according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research

5. Don’t be a bore, let learners explore

The adult corporate learner loves to learn by discovering things for themselves. You can create opportunities within the eLearning course that allow learners to explore around and is a great way for you to engage with them.

If you can make images clickable or add buttons to find clues, or introduce quizzes to reinforce their learning, your learners can explore the course, rather than simply read the text on the slide. Humans are inquisitive by nature.

Your learner will naturally and enthusiastically “pull” information when you subtly guide them towards it instead of shoving content down their throat.

6. Tell your learners the course is good

The reptilian complex, also known as the R-complex or “reptilian brain” was proposed by the American physician and neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean. He states that the brain makes a quick decision as to whether someone is a friend or foe or likes and dislikes something. Once it has made that snap decision it looks for information to reassure itself that it made the right decision.

If you get people to talk positively about your courses (either line managers or other learners) then you will find your learners will look for all the positives about your course to back that up.

7. Don’t be shy, be heard

What would you prefer to hear? A dull, flat, robotic voice that just reads out information and sounds like a drone or an enthusiastic voice that emotes and crackles with life. Of course, the latter.

There is nothing like a dull voiceover to sap your learner’s enthusiasm or worse, lull them to sleep. A narrator not only provides credibility but also creates an opportunity for you to build a rapport with your audience.

8. Make a game of it

Gamification will keep your learners more engaged. One way to do this is by using a badge-based system that rewards your learners for various courses they have completed. Taking this one step further, you can allow employees to “cash-in” these badges and points for real benefits.

Gamification provides instant access to performance feedback. For example, if you are using a very basic gaming component such as a leader-board after a quiz, your learners immediately know where they stand among their peers.

Gamification will also increase learning retention. Be it with rewards or through friendly competition, gamification will help your learners as they will relate to the content differently than just reading a slide or watching a training video (both of which represent one direction communication).

9. Don’t isolate the learner

According to research findings, we learn 70 percent of new information from our peers. When creating engaging eLearning for your learners you should give them the ability to communicate with the subject matter experts, ask them questions, seek clarification and share thought with your other learners. You should introduce features like interactive discussion boards or forums where instructors can answer learners’ questions.

10. Just give me 1 good reason

You must give your learners a good reason to learn, otherwise you are fighting a losing battle, perhaps it is something they must do in order to be eligible for promotion, or receive an employee benefit of some kind?

If the only reason you give them is to be compliant with legislation, then you not only give them a negative perception of the course (Paul D. MacLean’s R- Complex) but you will also spend far too much time chasing up learners and reminding them to complete their training.

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