Oh, you build those boring modules we have to do every year do you?
Why though? What’s given eLearning or digital learning such a bad reputation?
Well, the answer to that takes several forms but ultimately it comes down to engagement. Not every digital learning module can be an immersive, high-value production crammed with AR, interactive video, and gamification. #spoiler it doesn’t have to!
Some topics, especially compliance, tend to be extremely heavy in content, after all, the learner must know all this ‘stuff’ to be compliant right? While the desire to teach as much knowledge as possible is understandable, falling into the trap of trying to squeeze every last drop into the learners head, is a huge amount of knowledge. This is failing to highlight the practical application of the information and is all too common.
Stick to what the learner actually needs to know and help them understand how to apply it to their daily activities. If there is a large amount of content that has to be covered, split down the learning into more manageable size modules, rather than a 1hr course. Utilise video for example, as Amelia’s video here states as well as being fun to watch, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and studies have shown that you process videos 60,000 times faster than text!
Since the rush to digitalise learning content occurred, we see many examples of organisations designing their eLearning in the same way as their PowerPoint presentations and in some cases, simply upload existing PowerPoints. If this sounds familiar, we won’t judge, but what we can do is help. Although programs such as Storyline can look similar to PowerPoint in their interface, they deliver very different end user experiences.
Nobody wants slide after slide of text, images and infographics. Digital learning shouldn’t be something your read, but something you do! Make sure there are opportunities for the learner to interact and engage with the content. With this in mind, read on.
To keep users engaged with digital learning, you need to think about the type of content and the media should ideally change every 90 seconds. This supports not only engagement but assures that multiple learning styles are considered.
This is most important when looking at text, read the words out loud and see if it’s over 90 seconds of text, if it is, look to break up the module with a piece of interactivity (this is often found to be approximately 270 words).
I’ve shared a lot here about digital modules but not all content needs to be an eLearning module. Think about your end user and how they will consume the content. Explainer videos are a great way to convey information quickly. Consider a nicely designed infographic, this can get the message across equally as well. If you do this think about how these will be used in the future to make this learning sustainable. A digital toolkit is a great approach, also, breaking down your interactions into separate modules to be used repeatedly to boost your people’s retention and drive powerful results.
Make sure everyone has the same learning experience by designing the content with W3C standards in mind. In the UK for example, 15% of internet users have a disability that can affect their digital learning experience. Whether it be hearing, motor or visual difficulties or learning disabilities there are some fast and straightforward things that you can do to make your learning solutions accessible, and by doing so you’ll improve the ease-of-use for everyone.
Here are some tips:
The learning content may hit the mark but if not enough time and effort has been spent on the visuals, layout, UX (user experience) and overall theme it will fail to deliver. Equally if you go for a style over substance approach it doesn’t matter how nice it looks, if the course doesn’t address the learning objectives and the content is not aligned with the workers expectations, it’s a waste of the learner’s time and your organisation’s money.
Bear these points in mind the next time you’re designing a digital solution and I guarantee you will see your digital learning become a more engaging experience providing successful outcomes.
If you have experienced any of the challenges mentioned, or have any other suggestions to add, please feel free to share your comments.
My colleagues and I in the Digital Learning team at Davies, would love to hear from you if you need any assistance with your digital learning solutions.