Bad eLearning Course Design And How To Avoid It
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5 Types Of eLearning Design To Stay Away From

With eLearning going mainstream in the past decade, it is now used by a number of corporate organizations to train and develop their employees. However, not all organizations get successful results with eLearning, which leads to them giving it up as an unnecessary cost. Most of the time the problem is not with eLearning, but rather with badly designed eLearning, which results in organizations not getting what they expected from eLearning. Amateur Instructional Designers often sacrifice quality for quantity, which is where the problem starts. In this article, let us discuss 5 types of eLearning courses that constitute bad eLearning, and what Instructional Designers should avoid designing if they want their organization’s eLearning program to be successful.

1. Forced And Linear Courses

“Forced learning” is something which is still used by inexperienced eLearning designers to ensure that learners cannot skip screens—they must consume the content present on every screen. Forced learning is sometimes useful when the learners need to know the content present on every screen in order to progress and complete the course. However, it is not advisable to prevent learners from skipping screens in every course, especially in corporate organizations where not every employee is the same, and some of them are advanced learners. Secondly, linear courses have gone out of fashion. Clicking the “next” button a hundred times disengages a modern learner from the course. A course should progress smoothly, as one immersive learning environment where learners can move forward and backward as they choose. Forced and linear learning are best kept for novice learners who need a lot of guidance.

2. Presentation-Style Courses

This is a type of eLearning course that is, unfortunately, still prevalent in a number of corporate organizations. Although an eLearning course is similar to a PowerPoint presentation, it is not the same. Modern learners do not want only slide after slide of text, images, and infographics, they want high-quality visuals, videos, interactivities and gamified exercises. The old, presentation-style learning courses fail to engage the modern learner, which is why they fail to train or develop knowledge in them altogether. Instructional Designers need to stop living in the past and check out how the big businesses design eLearning.

3. Full Voice-Over Courses

Another bad habit of inexperienced Instructional Designers is designing courses where every single letter of the eLearning course’s on-screen text is narrated. Narration is meant to be an accessibility feature or for learners who prefer to learn aurally. The worst thing a designer can do is not give the learner the option to toggle narration. When learners see the same text on-screen as well as hear it in the narration, it doesn’t reinforce the information, but rather overwhelms the learner because not every learner reads at the same speed as the narrator. In addition, written text is very different from spoken language, and narrating such text sounds phony.

4.“All Push” Courses

Modern learners don’t prefer books for a number of reasons, two of them being that books don’t have any interactivities that challenge them and that they only push information. A lot of eLearning designers design their courses just like books, with no interactivities, quizzes, questions or simulations to challenge the learners. The courses are chock-full of text, images, and infographics that push the information the learner is supposed to retain. This leaves the learner no room to apply the information they’ve just learned, which prevents the information from “sticking.”

5. “All Show” Courses

Sometimes, Instructional Designers focus all of their attention on making the course look good through the use of high-quality themes, images, animations, and interactivities that they forget what they’re actually designing. An eLearning course is a method of instruction and it is supposed to make information easier to learn and retain. Sacrificing function for looks is one of the worst mistakes a designer can make. Filling up the eLearning course with graphics without guiding the learner through it will lead to a confused learner who doesn’t know what to do with all those visuals. While advanced learners who’ve been using eLearning for a long time will still be able to plow through the graphics and learn what they’re supposed to. However, the newer learners will have a hard time completing these “all show” courses.

Avoiding designing any of the 5 mentioned types of courses will ensure that Instructional Designers create something that actually helps learners learn and develop skills, instead of being a waste of the company’s time and resources. Organizations should always hire Instructional Designers who are experienced and who keep on following and updating their eLearning design according to modern design trends.

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