How To Become An Effective eLearning Communicator
Being an effective eLearning communicator is just as important as being an effective Instructional Designer. In fact, these two go hand-in-hand. To convey the subject matter and ensure that your online learners get the information they require, you must be able to clearly articulate all of the key concepts and ideas when you're designing and developing your eLearning course. The challenge is determining how you can successfully communicate with your online learners, especially since body language and other non-verbal indicators are not there to reveal behavioral clues.
- Identify with your online learners.
This can be one of the most challenging feats to accomplish, as it's difficult to step into someone else's shoes and see things from their point of view. However, if you are able to achieve it, you are well on your way to becoming an effective eLearning communicator. If you cannot meet with them in person or observe them on-the-job, then learn as much as possible through surveys, questionnaires, and interviews. Show them that you care by asking about their thoughts and opinions, and then figure out how you can relate to them. If you come across as someone who is on-par with them, rather than an authoritative manager or trainer, then they will be more likely to participate in an open dialogue.
- Listen to your eLearning audience.
It's one thing to talk to your eLearning audience, but talking with them is an entirely different story. Active listening benefits all parties involved. Your online learners feel as though they are actually been heard and that you value their input. Likewise, you get the valuable insight you need to improve your eLearning strategy and create goal-centric eLearning courses. Take note of what they have to say and let them know that you appreciate their opinions. A good rule of thumb is to repeat back what they just said or to summarize their main points. Ask questions that allow you to expand upon the conversation and prove that they have your undivided attention.
- Be authentic.
Generally speaking, people can detect when you are not being completely genuine. We've all had a conversation, or several, with individuals who were just going through the motions. It was obvious that they weren't really listening or that they just wanted to give you the impression that your voice was being heard. Inevitably, this made you feel like your thoughts and ideas weren't worth their time, even if you knew that they could have benefited from them in some way. This is why it's so important to be authentic when you are addressing your audience or online collaborators, especially if you are hosting a live training event, like a webinar, that includes both audio and visual components. Make sure to go at a steady pace and closely monitor your body language and expressions. In other words, only smile if you really mean it.
- Create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Being an effective eLearning communicator has a lot to do with how you make people feel. Do you put them at ease and give them the sense that they are respected, or are you creating a cold eLearning environment that feels uninviting? It is essential to offer your audience a warm and welcoming place to learn. In the case of eLearning, this refers to a virtual space, such as your eLearning course platform. Greet them on the first page and offer the tips throughout the eLearning experience. Choose your words carefully and avoid jargon that can come across as "stuffy". Use terms that you know they use on a regular basis, and adopt a tone that is both personable and professional.
- Always ask instead of assume.
If you aren't entirely sure what is being said or how you should interpret something, always ask rather than simply assuming. This can help you to avoid any potential conflicts or misunderstandings, especially when you are working with eLearning team members who are helping you to develop your eLearning course. When in doubt, just ask them to clarify what they meant or elaborate on the subject. This also applies to your audience. When there is any confusion about an email or instant message that they send, avoid arriving at any conclusions before you ask them to clear the matter up.
- Offer immediate feedback and responses.
This is something most of us have been guilty, particularly during times when we were busy or overwhelmed with work. However, it's imperative to follow up with your online learners, clients, and eLearning team members as soon as possible. Don't let an email message go unanswered for days or set their text messages aside until the end of the work day. Do your best to reply promptly. This rule also applies to social media posts. For example, you should allocate some time every morning or afternoon to answering Facebook messages or commenting on posts. Providing immediate feedback and responses can significantly boost your brand image and credibility, especially if you avoid canned replies and personalize every message. On a side note, if you are going to be out of office, just set up an automatic reply that keeps your contacts informed.
We are not born with the innate ability to effectively communicate with those around us. This means that we have to develop the skill and learn the nuances of social interactions. However, if you are ready to put in the effort and focus on your communication and active listening capabilities, your online learners will benefit greatly as a result.
After you've mastered the fine art of communication, it's time to find a video conferencing tool to help you reach out and stay in touch. Read the article Top 7 Benefits Of Web Conferencing Software For eLearning Professionals to discover the benefits of using web conferencing software in eLearning.