It’s simple. Your video eLearning content, from top to bottom, needs to engage the viewer. I mean, why do we go to the movies? Well, as Russell Crowe in Gladiator pointed out:
To be entertained!
We like the action-packed blockbusters that engage our senses. And we also like thought-provoking movies that have masterful storytelling and believable performances. But we’ve all sat through some lousy pictures, too. They either had major plot holes, terrible acting, shoddy designs, or other blemishes that we just couldn’t get past.
So can all, or most, elements of a bad movie be compared to a poorly-thought out eLearning course?
Of course it can.
Here are 8 ways an eLearning course might not receive as many “thumbs ups” as you’d like.
- There’s No Story
The eLearning course is devoid of any narrative. It’s just a bunch of information, lists and statistics thrown in a blender and produced for the screen. Even if what’s being said is interesting, no one’s going to listen. It will be like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.“In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the... Anyone? Anyone?... the Great Depression, passed the... Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill?”
- It’s Assembled Wrong
The best movies, plays and books all have tight introductions, compelling middles and satisfying ends. If your eLearning courses don’t have a logical flow, it’s difficult for the audience to fully digest the information.
- Grammatical Errors
Whether your audience is a group of grammar aficionados ready to pounce on the first incorrect pronunciation from the presenter, or the first incorrect use of “affect” against “effect,” it’s a safe bet their attention will be divided by the distraction. First time’s a pass. A second time is a glaring instructional error.
- It’s Not Specific
When you create eLearning courses that are too broad, you’re wasting their time and your money. For example, if the IT department is experiencing high project overflows, you need to get in depth with training. Even though a course on time management tips is a good option, you might want to customize the lesson and hit on topics such as effective delegation, how to hold productive meetings, or how to conduct risk assessments. That’s being specific.
- Too Many Distractions on Screen
It happens a lot. The presenter’s speaking too fast or they mispronounce words. The background has too many graphics coming in and out of each scene. The fonts used for text displays are too big, or their colors contrast poorly against the backdrop. Great content requires great design, great visualization and a little bit of editing magic.
- Too Much Jargon
If you reference too many business buzzwords you’re making the content more complex and confusing than it needs to be. Keep it simple. Keep your audience in mind and make the information relatable. Use the learners voice when you create your eLearning content, make it more like a casual conversation between two people.
- It’s Not Persuasive
Learning must be about the story first, and then persuade me second. If your content doesn’t give learners a reason to care, why should they continue to watch? There needs to be that hook - whether it’s more interesting facts or something else - to help further drive your message across.
- There Aren’t Enough Scenarios
You have wonderful information throughout the course, the narrative’s there, but you forget to include specific workplace scenarios for how this lesson will help. Again, learning is about connecting the dots. If you’re trying to deliver a course on, say, time management tips to people in the office, include a common scenario of a person struggling with common workplace distractions, like their inbox alerts pulling their eyes away too much.
What other missing ingredients can you think of? Let me know in the comments!