Top Mistakes When Designing An eLearning Platform And How To Avoid Them

Top Mistakes When Designing An eLearning Platform And How To Avoid Them
Summary: In a technology-driven world, learning and teaching are adapted to meet the needs of users. Hence, students need more interactive and flexible learning methods. This is one of the reasons why the LMS and eLearning platform market is booming today.

eLearning Platform Design Mistakes

Creating and developing an eLearning platform becomes a challenge for companies because they need to consider many aspects. Creators need to build an effective system that is both user-friendly and useful. As with any development project, the building of an eLearning platform has certain pitfalls. In this article, we'll walk you through the main mistakes that you might encounter during the development process.

The eLearning Industry: An Overview

To begin, let's discuss Learning Management Systems (LMSs) briefly. Learning Management Systems are software used to create and deliver content and monitor users’ training. With an LMS, learners have access to training resources in a convenient format, on any device, whenever they want.

Now that we’ve recapped what an LMS is, let's move on to the growth of the eLearning industry. To be aware of how widely used and how impactful eLearning is, let's look at the statistics:

  • The eLearning industry will continue to grow and will reach $243 billion in 2022.
  • Approximately 40% of Fortune 500 companies provide training through eLearning.
  • The mobile eLearning market is expected to reach $80 billion by 2027.
  • eLearning increases learning retention rates by between 25% and 60%.
  • 81% of students reported that eLearning tools helped them to enhance their grades.

In sum, the statistics above show only a small part of the rapidly increasing popularity and adoption of eLearning. But what are the reasons for this growth? One of the key factors driving the growth of the eLearning market is the increased use of the internet and mobile devices. Therefore, many courses are being adapted for mobile use.

Another factor that has had a powerful impact on the growth of distance learning is COVID-19. eLearning used to be an advantage offered only by some institutions. COVID-19 sped up the transition to remote education. Currently, it is the norm and the preference for many people, because eLearning platforms allow creators to target learning approaches based on students' strengths and weaknesses.

eLearning Platform Design: 8 Common Mistakes

Companies offer a variety of corporate training and eLearning courses. But are all of these courses effective for learners? A company can often overlook things that prevent eLearning from being as effective as it can be. Hence, when a company designs a platform, it is essential to avoid the following common mistakes.

1. Lack Of Focus On The Goals And Objectives

A serious mistake in eLearning development is having unclear goals and objectives. It can lead to a poorly organized process and, as a result, a missing outcome. You may be wondering: what is the problem with setting unclear goals? Most of the time, a lack of knowledge about the learners' exact needs contributes to an inability to set clear goals.

Before you start designing your eLearning course, make sure you have a clear idea of what learners want to find and what information you are able to share with them. It allows you to determine the steps needed to achieve business targets. The company's targets may involve:

  • Meeting the students' learning needs
  • Enhancing the quality of learning
  • Enhancing student efficiency and effectiveness
  • Improving user accessibility to engage in learning
  • Improving the user's work-related skills
  • Providing a classification upgrade

Based on specific goals, a business has the ability to develop different eLearning solutions. Furthermore, once you've set your goals, don't lose sight of them and keep moving forward toward them. Otherwise, all outcomes are out of the window.

2. Lack Of Responsive Design

Developers also make the mistake of viewing responsive design as a nice-to-have. But in reality, if students can't access the courses from a device that's convenient for them, they're unlikely to return to the learning process.

To meet learners’ needs and improve the User Experience (UX), responsive design is an essential feature. Although an eLearning course is generally designed for desktops and laptops, a responsive design tends to offer learners flexibility and provides a consistent experience across all devices (phones, pads, and tablets). Therefore, learners are able to access courses regardless of the device they use and are therefore more likely to engage with the course.

3. The Focus Is On Graphic Design Instead Of Navigation

The graphic components of the course are obviously able to catch the user's attention. But will graphic design be useful if it has a negative impact on the eLearning on the platform? If learners have experienced difficulty navigating the course due to having a lot of elements on the screen, they won’t find your courses easy to use.

Graphic design related to navigation allows for the creation of a streamlined and organized experience. So, one of the best things you can do to avoid disparate design is to pay similar attention to both the graphic design and the navigation. It means your graphic design needs to keep the navigation consistent and simple, and here's how to achieve that:

  • Choose fonts that are suitable for both a desktop and a mobile device
  • Use emotional elements and storytelling techniques to grab the learner’s attention
  • Keep navigation elements straightforward
  • Create easy-to-understand visualizations of data
  • Ensure that links are noticeable (active) on the page
  • Take advantage of visual symbols (lines, icons) to streamline navigation

To help your audience easily navigate your eLearning course, you will have to design carefully. Because your learners need to know where they are on the course and where to go next, it's also a good idea for companies to test their navigation system to ensure it works properly.

4. Lack Of High-Quality Content

An eLearning course isn't going to be successful if it doesn’t have high-quality content. It means that the content should be on-topic and relevant. A common mistake is the inclusion of a huge number of images, graphics, and design elements just for aesthetic reasons. Another typical pitfall is having inaccurate information or errors that can negatively affect the quality of your course. As a result, creators face the risk of losing their learners' trust and making them doubt their course.

Keep in mind that too much text is not always a good idea. eLearning material should be clear, well-organized, and relevant. If you are not familiar with a particular topic, it is worth seeking out a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to assist you in creating on-topic content. To make your content more valuable, follow these steps:

  • Provide on-topic information
  • Don't overload with information
  • Avoid adding extra or irrelevant information
  • Consider the age characteristics of the audience
  • Use summaries, and break up long passages of text
  • Add questions and quizzes between topics
  • Add appropriate interactive features

5. Information Overload

A big mistake is to overload a course with too much information, such as text, images, videos, and animations all together. Including extra and unnecessary materials can cause students to lose interest because they can't find what they are looking for.

There is no one-size-fits-all way to create a perfect course. But here are a few tips to help you avoid information overload:

  • Provide content in a simple and accessible format
  • Provide relevant and up-to-date information
  • Break topics down into small chunks
  • Eliminate unnecessary content
  • Use user-friendly navigation
  • Use an uncluttered design

Thus, the lack of information overload allows students to be more engaged in the learning process and to remember new information better.

6. Lack Of Interactive Features

You might worry that adding interactive components to your course will clutter up the content and lead to failure. But the truth is that a complete lack of interactive elements can worsen engagement and motivation among students. In contrast, students may be more likely to understand information if a table or illustration matches the explanation.

To create an effective eLearning course, creators can supplement the text with appropriate interactive elements, such as:

  • Images or videos
  • Audio clips
  • Illustrations
  • Real-life scenarios
  • Graphics and chats
  • Different types of media

With interactive features, students can focus and absorb new information more effectively. As with text, it is possible to be overloaded by interactive elements, which will then interfere with student learning. To avoid visual overload, ensure that all visual content is meaningful and minimal.

7. Lack Of Awareness Of Your LMS

To ensure the long-term success of your eLearning courses, you need to choose the right LMS. This means that the platform must provide specific requirements to satisfy both the brand and the students. Without an effective Learning Management System, it is impossible to create an eLearning platform that achieves defined goals.

Companies can choose between customer solutions on the market or develop a platform from scratch. In both cases, the software should provide the features and functionality your company needs, along with ease of use and maintenance. Hence, let's take a look at the basics to look for.

  • Identify your needs
    Determine the business goals and objectives you want to achieve.
  • Define learning LMS requirements
    Knowing your audience can help you better define your learning requirements and features to achieve training goals. This may include learner demographics and learning tools.
  • Define technical LMS requirements
    Technical requirements are the primary features for creating an educational experience. They may include supported content types, enrollment options, and reporting systems.
  • Consider additional features
    These allow the company to expand learning opportunities and improve the learning process. Such features may include integration, social/mobile learning, and certification.
  • Choose the right vendor
    If custom development is more valuable to you, compare the requirements above and choose the most suitable vendor for your business.

If you don't have technical expertise in software development, choosing a reliable vendor can help with many LMS-related problems. In addition, software companies can provide testing of the LMS. Demos can help companies test the features and functions of the eLearning platform to ensure they meet their needs and make changes if needed.

8. Lack Of Efficient Assessment/Feedback Tools

The last mistake to avoid is a lack of assessments for learners. What do learners expect after they have completed the course? They want to know how far they have come in learning the material. Hence, the lack of an accurate assessment tool can cause students to feel frustrated and useless.

A company can get a real insight into how successful an eLearning course is with feedback tools. So, to find out what your audience needs or is missing, creators need to use different survey tools like:

  • Online/offline tests
  • Multiple-choice questions
  • Discussions on forums
  • Online interviews
  • Dialogue simulations
  • Gaming activities
  • Online surveys
  • Collaboration on eLearning feedback

The assessment tool helps to determine both the level of knowledge of learners and the course's weaknesses and strengths based on student feedback. In addition, it is a great way for students to summarize, repeat information, and reinforce their knowledge.

Final Thoughts

The development of eLearning platforms for students, staff, and learners is a complex process that uses a variety of tools and technologies. However, the eight most common mistakes listed above will help you avoid some pitfalls and create learning-focused courses. In light of the growing popularity of eLearning education, industries striving to be more agile and dynamic may want to explore the possibilities of eLearning platforms.