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A Step-By- Step Guide to Create Meaningful Learning Experiences

Posted by on in Best Practices
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Online learning is growing at a staggering pace and all set to clock USD 240 billion by 2023, thanks to the innumerable advantages it offers to trainers and online instructors. Although the figures are promising and a reason to rejoice for most online trainers, there is also a reason to worry. Counterintuitive, Isn’t it? As more and more trainers join the eLearning bandwagon, the expectations of learners are also on a constant rise. In other words, the courses that you create will now compete with hundreds and thousands of similar courses. Even if you are a professional who is not into selling courses, bland online courses can still cause learner dropouts to hurt your professional image. Luckily, there’s is a way out. Start creating “meaningful” learning experiences. If you ask what’s meaningful is, it’s anything that invokes the learners’ interests and helps them with their learning goals. Here’s a step-by- step guide that helps both online and corporate trainers to create meaningful experiences for their learners. Take a look.

1. Think Like a Learner

If you think like a trainer, you are most likely to forgo the learners’ requirements. On the other hand, thinking like a learner gives you insights into the type of course that they would love to consume, both on an informational and visual level. Imagine creating a basic course for an advanced learner or vice-versa. Needless to say, such an approach would definitely defeat the purpose. Consider these questions:

What’s the skill level of the learner: Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced
What are the goals that your training module is trying to meet: Only training or something more specific like exam preparation or internal compliance
What contents would appeal the most: Plain text, visuals, graphics or videos
Who is your audience: Students, Corporates or Independent Learners

Once you start creating slides or modules, ask these questions to get more insights into the learners’ needs and pain areas:

Is this something I would like to learn?
Is it better than my competition?
Does it explains complex concepts quickly?

2. Focus on Structure

Your eLearning course is like a puzzle. All scattered pieces when joined together must build a coherent story. If multiple teams are working together for creation, you need to steer clear of coherence and consistency problems. For instance, while creating an online course on writing; a trainer must follow a structure like this:

What is Writing
The common mistakes in writing online content
How you can become a good blog writer
A few examples

Flipping the structure leaves you with something like this:
A few examples
The common mistakes in writing online content
What is Writing
How you can become a good blog writer

Lost its meaning completely, isn’t it? So, make sure you place all the pieces of the puzzle which is your eLearning course, together. You are most likely to feel confused about close calls, so get your course reviewed for structure and coherence before it goes live on internal or ecommerce platforms.

3. Craft Ultra Short Modules

Imagine a learner trying to grasp a four-hour module in a single stretch. Sounds intimidating? Even if it’s the best learning course ever created on the planet, your learners might be struggling to navigate through it. Given that everyone has a unique and diverse learning style, your training course must appeal to each one of them. Most learners like to jot down the key points on a notepad or elsewhere so that they can consume information in bits and pieces on their way to the office or class. Moreover, if someone wants to revisit a concept in the middle of a lengthy course; hitting the playback button time and again can cause immense frustration. Allow your learners to absorb information into their long-term memory, which is only possible with highly-effective, short modules. Remember that the average attention span of a human mind is only 9 seconds, let alone attend a training course for two hours at a stretch.

Creating ultra-short courses spanning 7 or 10 minutes can end the learner burnout.
Learners can consume information at their own pace and get fully immersed in the
contents of that module. They can pause after consuming a slide and get started
with the other without feeling overwhelmed or burned out.

4. Create Pit Stops in Between

No matter how intriguing your training course is, learners can still lose interest in between. Blame it on information overload or a million other things pulling their attention, your training creation efforts go down the drain. If your eLearning content is a “bait”, here’s the hook:

Surveys
Quizzes
Questionnaires
Gamification

Quizzes and questionnaires allow a learner to recapture or revise the concepts in the modules, thereby creating a sense of accomplishment. When learners get rewarded with a 10/10 or an A+, that sense of reward triggers dopamine secretion in the brain. As Psychology Today suggests, this sensation can trigger dopamine secretion in the brain, which in turn recharges and motivates the learners to continue the course without feeling lost or exhausted. You can try drag and drop, multiple choice and True-False type quizzes to assess learner knowledge at regular intervals in the entire eLearning content. You can also rely on gamification to help learners absorb complex or tricky concepts in a simplified manner. Although there is no thumb rule to sprinkle quizzes and surveys, try them every second or third slide and compare reports on user engagement.

5. Pay Attention to Voice-Overs

Do you think informative content is enough for a gratifying learning experience? If the answer is “YES”, think twice. Although the course contents are pivotal to a course’s success, it’s only a tip of the iceberg. The way in which your course is presented can leave a “strong” or “feeble” impression on the learners’ mind. Now, what exactly is the “way”? It constitutes:

Tone
Pitch
Volume
Pace

The quality of voice-overs injects a personality to any training course that persuades the learners to continue without breaking a sweat. First, make sure the voice-overs used in delivering e-learning content is crystal clear so that learners can understand the concepts in a single go. Second, the pitch of the voice-over should follow the dynamics of language, if it’s not instructor led. 

Thinking what dynamics are? Say the word hello to 10 people and notice their pitch and tone. Same message, different tones, and style. Follow a normal pace in voice- overs, which is neither too slow nor too fast. Try out masculine and feminine voice- overs and reach out to your circle to learn what works and what not.

6. Spark Core Human Emotions

Your elearning course should resemble a Hollywood flick like Die Hard or The Pursuit of Happiness. Sounds Stupid? Here’s the ground reality: People want to learn through courses, but it’s your job to keep them sticking for long enough. A dry course won’t grab attention for long. Instead, learners will complete the course for the sake of doing and continue with their lives. Scenario-based training that are power-packed with persuasive elements such as storytelling and empathy captivates the readers, thereby boosting their motivation and knowledge retention.
Every word that’s spoken out in your learning module should trigger one or the other emotions like:

Fear
Urgency
Happiness
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

You can also bank on any of these core human emotions to create a training course that stands out in a crowded marketplace.

7. Inject Visual Appeal

Visuals can create an effect that plain words or large chunks of text can’t do. As the human brain is wired to process and absorb images faster, visuals can help you create compelling eLearning content. Not only the content looks more appealing but is also absorbed by the brain better. On top of that, visuals also strike an emotional connection with the learner; which can prove out handy in boosting course engagement and reducing learner dropouts. Use plenty of images, screenshots, GIFs and even cartoon characters to create a memorable learning experience for your
learners.

eLearning is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Anyone who is into creating online courses already knows that creating quality online courses is not an overnight task. Even when learners are a part of a virtual classroom, they still require that traditional touch for an immersive and relevant learning experience. For that to happen, you must always stay in touch with your learners through webinars. To further their learning curve, you must also ask for constant feedback that can be incorporated to revitalize the training courses. Form groups to encourage discussions and knowledge sharing and soon your courses will outperform your competition.

Author Bio:
Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system & elearning authoring tools - currently associated with ProProfs.

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