4 Elements Of A Great Learner Experience In eLearning

What Makes A Great Learner Experience In eLearning?

Even if we have all of the elements of a perfect, ideal Learning Management System in place, if learning isn’t rendered easy and accessible at the point of learning, then the whole enterprise of effective Learning and Development is over before it begins. Before we delve into what makes a great learner experience in eLearning, let us have a look at learning effectiveness.

eBook Release: Free eBook - The Critical Importance Of Learner Experience In eLearning
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Free eBook - The Critical Importance Of Learner Experience In eLearning
This eBook will help you learn what makes a stellar learner experience and how to design it.

The Essential Element Of Friction In Learning Effectiveness

Imagine one wants to learn how to play poker: They could pick up an old copy of Hoyle’s Rules of Games and read through pages and pages of instruction to learn the rules and nuances of how to play the game. Alternatively, they could have an instructor guide them, step by step, through the process. Or, they could just sit down with a few friends, learn on the fly, fail a time or two, and learn through experience how to play the game. Which approach, broadly, do you think would be more effective?

Our guess would be the latter. While different learners learn differently most effectively, there’s no doubt that learning in the environment, on the fly, as it happens, is an incredibly effective way of figuring out “the rules of the game”, as it were.

That’s why friction is such a fundamental element of learning performance, and a cornerstone of effective learner experience (LX). What do we mean by “friction”? Well, consider every obstacle a learner has to go through in order to, by way of the above example, learn how to play poker. Every textbook, every PowerPoint slideshow, every classroom-based training experience, and every video separates the user from the ultimate goal at hand: playing and winning at poker. Yes, these are all necessary steps, but they all represent forms of potential friction that impair the learner from learning towards their learning goals and objectives across the three Es of excellent learner experience: Expedience, efficiency, effortlessness.

If an end user who is using a Learning Management System and eLearning tool finds it challenging to use the eLearning tool in the first place, then friction is already established and the battle of learning is lost before it has begun. If an end user rolls their eyes when they learn they have to log into their LMS, then the learning journey is undermined. When a learner “suffers” through an online course only in the name of clicking the checkbox of completion, the enterprise of L&D itself has become an exercise in absurdity.

When a learner “suffers” through an online course only in the name of clicking the checkbox of completion, the enterprise of L&D itself has become an exercise in absurdity. If, on the other hand, a learner finds an eLearning product that is genuinely engaging and easy to use, and if they actually retain the information they have been provided, then perhaps all is not lost and the ongoing battle to captivate learners is not lost. And this is what leads us to the makings of a great learner experience.

The Elements Of A Great Learner Experience

Here are some broad factors that can help us figure out what makes a great learner experience:

1. It’s Easy To Use

We’ve talked about friction in LX, and this is where friction is most noticeable. If an LMS is cumbersome, unwieldy, or otherwise challenging to use for its end users, then it shouldn’t be used in the first place, period. We need LMSs that are in tune with the general user conventions end users are used to using, as redundant as that sounds. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel in most instances. Conventional users know how to use conventional software products, and LMSs should put end-user standards at the forefront in order to minimize the friction behind how they will achieve learning outcomes.

2. There’s Minimal-To-No Training Involved

This speaks to the previous point, but just as an LMS ought to be easy to use, it ought to also have no-to-minimal training involved. Once they log into the system, they should naturally see where their eyes and cursors need to go in order to fulfill their immediate training objectives. If someone logs into an LMS and has to ask questions off the bat, then we have problems.

3. It’s Actually Fun To Use

A step beyond being easy to use, an LMS ought to actually be fun to use. In subsequent sections we’ll discuss the role of gamification and augmented reality and virtuality in eLearning (which doubtless increase the “fun” quotient for users), but a system that is actually appealing and engaging for users will ultimately let them learn better and faster and let L&D professionals rest easier that their learners are acquiring knowledge at a good pace.

4. It Leverages Known Conventions

We’ve talked about how LMSs don’t have to re-invent the wheel of learning. So too, eLearning systems do not have to reinvent how users acquire new knowledge and skills. Learners are learning online everyday: How to make recipes, how to make shelves, how to build learn languages. They do this all with very known and very seamless learning conventions that are pretty widespread. Don’t find a new way to help learners how to learn. Understand how they learn effectively in their day-to-day lives and use the essentials of those approaches in your eLearning approaches to truly engage learners.

These were some broad factors that you need to keep in mind when diving into the world of learner experience. If you want to know more on LX, download the free eBook The Critical Importance Of Learner Experience In eLearning.

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