7 Tips To Enhance Online Research Skills Through eLearning

7 Tips To Enhance Online Research Skills Through eLearning
Summary: They say that the internet is a gold mine of information, but do your online learners know how to properly prospect it? In this article, I'll share 7 tips to enhance the online research skills of your learners through eLearning.

How To Enhance Online Research Skills Through eLearning

Finding the information you need has never been easier, thanks to the internet and mobile devices. Gone are the days of saving up all of your questions for the next trip to the library or study hall. Today, your online learners have the power to read eLearning articles, watch eLearning tutorials, and play serious games that entertain and educate. But even tech gurus may find it challenging to wade through all the information to find the nuggets of wisdom. Luckily, you can help them cultivate their online research skills by using these 7 eLearning design tips.

  1. Provide them with a list of must-have eLearning resources.
    In order to conduct online research your learners need some tools of the trade. You can equip them with a well-stocked tool box by compiling a list of must-have eLearning resources. Break the list up by category and include as many links as you can, making sure to offer a good mix of eLearning blogs, sites, articles, and eLearning videos. Encourage them to add links that they find during their online research for the benefit of their peers. Update the eLearning resource database on a regular basis and replace any outdated or broken links with new online sources. In addition, you need to ensure that all of the online resources on the list are credible.
  2. Teach them the basics of source citation.
    Citing sources is an essential part of online research, especially if you want to avoid copyright issues and give credit where credit is due. Provide your audience with articles, tutorials, eLearning videos, and tip sheets on how to properly cite an online source, including websites, news articles, and online books. Choose one style that you would like to use, such as MLA or Chicago, so that everyone is on the same page. Noteworthy online sources can also be added to their eLearning resource database, which can save them research time in the future. You may also want to stress the importance of choosing reliable online sources, and show them how to cross-check the information to avoid inaccuracies. For example, including three or four different sources for each topic.
  3. Stick to one research topic at a time.
    It's easy to start mixing up ideas and concepts when you research multiple topics at once. That's why it's important to focus on one research topic for each eLearning session. Encourage your online learners to set a goal before they begin the research process, as well as any questions that they need to answer by the time they're finished. This also improves their notetaking skills and makes the process more productive, as well as helping to prevent cognitive overload. Instead of trying to concentrate on a variety of different topics, they can dedicate all of their time and attention to one specific area. If your eLearning course involves a more complicated subject, then chunk it into more manageable subtopics that online learners can explore individually.
  4. Develop browser and search engine tutorials.
    Some of your online learners may already have the desire to become research pros, but they simply lack the tech know-how. You can remove this obstacle by creating browser and search engine tutorials that teach them the basics. Give them a step-by-step walk through of how to effectively use the search engines, such as how to choose the right keywords. Research your audience beforehand to gauge their level of tech familiarity so that you can customize each tutorial. For example, if they already know which search engines to use and how to conduct research on their mobile devices, you can skip these areas in your tutorial.
  5. Include research breaks into your eLearning course.
    Everybody needs a break from time to time to refresh and regroup. Set aside some time after each online research session or eLearning activity when your learners can give their brain a chance to absorb the information. This also helps to reduce cognitive overload, particularly when corporate learners are researching more evolved or complicated topics. You might also consider setting sub-goals for your online learners, such as researching one aspect of the topic before their first break and then diving into the second when they are mentally refreshed. This way they won't start blurring concepts and can fully assimilate the information before moving forward.
  6. Create an online forum for peer-based sharing.
    In addition to websites and eLearning blogs, peers can also serve as a valuable source of information. Create an online forum where learners can gather online and share their eLearning resource links, feedback, and experience. You can also opt for a project management online platform or document sharing site, such as Google Drive. For example, online learners who have printed learning materials can scan them in and share them with their colleagues. Be sure to set some ground rules so that learners stay on topic and don't veer off on time consuming tangents.
  7. Pair it with time management skills.
    One of the most important sub-skills of online research is time management. They must be able to find the facts and stats in a timely manner, without letting distractions stand in the way. For example, learners who spend half the time chatting with their friends on Facebook or watching irrelevant YouTube videos are wasting valuable online research time. Encourage your learners to create a schedule and stick to it. This should map out how long they'll spend on each topic, as well as how often they will take study breaks.

Online research skills are often overlooked in eLearning course design, despite the fact that they can be used in every aspect of your eLearning program. You can use these 7 tips to enhance the online research skills of your learners through eLearning and help your audience tap into the mine of knowledge.

Online research is just one of the soft skills that your learners need to know. Read the article 4 Tips To Develop Soft Skill Courses For Corporate eLearning to discover how to build soft skills courses for corporate eLearning, and how to apply the top 4 skill sets that corporate learners need in the modern workplace.