Missing Learner Engagement In Your eLearning? 5 Ways To Bring It In
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5 Ways To Bring Learner Engagement Into Your eLearning Course

As a learning developer, what are the challenges you face every time you create a course? One definite challenge is how to make the eLearning course engaging for your learners. This is not surprising, as engagement is the crucial factor that will transform a staid course into a winning one. And no one wants to create a course sans engagement. To overcome this, there are many ways to include engaging elements in your courses. Here are 5 to consider:

 1. Structure Your Content Carefully

Many eLearning courses follow a similar structure; they start with an introduction followed by the learning objectives, and then by the modules with an assessment at the end. This is a linear and logical structure that learning developers and learners prefer. But you can still play with the content to engage your learners.

  • Make the sentences interesting by varying their length; catch learners’ attention by throwing in a short sentence. You can follow this up with longer sentences that explain the content.
  • Use titles and subtitles that draw attention and focus on the key benefits of the course.
  • Use a conversational tone that will help learners connect with the content.
  • Use quotes, analogies, or examples to highlight the critical points in the course.

Make content interesting by using stories that can emotionally connect with the learner, help them relate to the content, and invoke curiosity. For instance, you can start the course with a story that will make learners take notice and wonder 'What happens next?' and then proceed with the course.

Humor in the form of jokes, cartoons, and funny quotes interspersed in the course can increase learner engagement. The audio you use with the content is an important engagement factor. The tone of the audio should convince learners of what they will gain from the course and it should also engage them.

While keeping the content focused on the topic, watch out for relevance to learners. If the content is relevant to their needs or helps them solve a problem, it will catch their attention.

Navigation also plays a crucial role in engaging learners. Use it as an alternative to the linear approach where learners are guided on how to move through the course. You can unlock the navigation and let learners explore what they need. Let them click on items to learn more, uncover hidden sub-menus.

This allows learners to 'pull' the information rather than you 'pushing' it to them. This allows learners to discover content intuitively. For instance, if the course is a series of videos on the features of the software, the 'push' model will make learners watch all the videos while in the 'pull' model, learners can choose what videos they want to watch because some may already be familiar with certain features.

2. Build A Compelling Visual Experience

Visuals, when combined with content, can enhance the learning experience. Visuals in the form of photos, illustrations, videos, charts, or animated GIFs connect with the audience and make the learning experience engaging. They can be used to present information in a concise, appealing manner. This ensures learners are not burdened cognitively and will recall information readily. The right visuals will catch learners’ attention and help in better comprehension.

Visuals help break the monotony of the course. Infographics can replace a list of statistics, animated visuals or videos can explain complex procedures, and charts can be used to represent data.

3. Add Meaningful Interactions

Use interactions to sustain the interest of your learners. Interacting with the content will make them active participants in the learning experience. Interactivities ask learners for their inputs, and this is bound to make them pay attention.

Interactivities can include tab interactions, interactive scenarios, assessments, quizzes, and more. There are numerous options to choose from. But the option you choose must involve the learner and make them actively participate in the interactivity.

Tab interactions can be used creatively to exploit the human tendency to be inquisitive, use them to induce learners to explore the course and discover content. For instance, instead of having multiple slides filled with bullets, use a single tab interaction that will allow learners to discover information in any order they want. This is a great way to help learners explore the content and from a design perspective, helps you consolidate a lot of information on a single slide.

Another way to help learners discover through exploration is to use mouseovers and hotspots. For instance, the bullet points on a board in the screen can reveal additional information when you click on them.

Interactive scenarios are a great way to draw in learners to content that may not be exactly stimulating. The use of images, video, and audio makes these scenarios interactive. When these scenarios are related to real-life problems and examples, it gives an opportunity to show learners how they can apply the acquired knowledge to real-life situations.

Scenarios can include problems that are contextually relevant to your learners so that they can be motivated to solve them. They can be designed to help learners exercise the knowledge they have acquired such as courses on customer service or technical skills which they can later use on-the-job.

Branching scenarios give options to learners to take decisions that will determine the outcome. This creates an interest in what will happen next. They will also help learners explore the consequences of their actions or play with the choices to change the outcome of the situation. The more learners can relate to the scenarios, the more engaging it becomes.

Assessments and quizzes are other ways to engage learners. Apart from using them at the end of the course, quizzes can be used sporadically to sustain learner interest. These interactivities help learners assess their progress and utilize what they have learned. Assessments can include knowledge-check questions that reinforce key concepts or an activity that helps them practice their new skills.

Questions in the middle of the course can provide opportunities for reflection and connect learners to the content. Questions such as 'What do you think?' or 'How would you solve the problem?' or even questions that influence what the learner will see next are all different ways to engage learners.

 4. Use Videos For A Multisensory Experience

Videos create a multisensory learning experience because they appeal both to the auditory and visual senses. And when this content is engaging, you create a greater impact on learners.

Videos with relevant content, related graphics, and high-quality audio catch the attention of learners. The use of interactive videos takes engagement to a higher level. Explorable elements in videos turn the passive activity of watching a video into an active one. Interactive content provides opportunities for learners to go deeper into the content. For instance, if you have a video on safety procedures, you can add markers at various points in the video, which learners can click to read additional information on the topic.

5. Include Gamification To Challenge Learners

When game elements are used, learners are engaged in a challenge, and they use the interactivities and feedback to make decisions and engage with the content. Break up your eLearning into small segments, and gamify them with various challenges or decision-making activities. The challenges should tie in with your learning objectives. For instance, in a course on sales training, learners can progress to the next level of the game only if they demonstrate their knowledge of a certain level of skill sets.

Feedback in eLearning courses should also be provided to learners to help them know they are on the right track when they take a decision or complete an activity. Providing scores to employees and having leaderboards both keep them motivated and introduce an element of competition.

There are various ways to engage your learners—from modifying the content and adding visuals to using the right interactivities and including videos and gamification in your course. It is not necessary to use all these elements; you can select appropriate ones based on the profile of your audience and the content of your course. This leads to greater learner engagement, and you get better results from your training. So, it’s a win-win for everyone.

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