"Technology and eLearning, a perfect pair."
Technology drives eLearning, and eLearning is driven by technology.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Mobile Learning, Gamification, Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), and Learning Management systems (LMS) are all technology-based trends that can contribute to a perfect eLearning course.
Technology is in the air, making us do better and be better. For modern learners, technology is an extension of their lives. It changes the way they process things and how they learn, and that's where eLearning plays an important role.
This article is for instructional designers and course creators to help them improve eLearning course design consistent with the current trends in the eLearning industry.
Suggestions and areas are further discussed when considering improving one’s online course.
The significance of course design cannot be underestimated. When learners begin an eLearning course, first impressions are crucial.
Read here: 10 Instructional Design Trends to Improve an Online Course - Current and Innovative Tips in eLearning to learn more about technology trends in eLearning.
Here are some ways to improve an Online Course
1. Course Title
What's in a title?
Everything! Choosing the best title is probably the most important aspect of the success of your online course.
Think about it.
There are tons of courses offered online, but we don't have the luxury of time to check and click everything. So, creating a good impression and attracting users online starts with a suitable title. Your decision whether or not to move on whenever you search or see an ad on Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, is on the title.
The title is the first thing that learners see when they search for online courses, and if it is not irresistible or compelling, they will continue to scroll down and won't click it at all. A good title should be descriptive and engaging and arouse users' curiosity. A title should also work in SEO optics to be well-positioned in the search results.
2. Course Introductions & Walkthrough
Instructional designers should not overlook the importance of a course introduction. Learners must have clear expectations of prerequisite skills and what they will be learning in the course. Online courses should include a course opening that welcomes the learner.
In addition to the course description and learning outcomes, the course introduction should ensure that learners know the protocols, guidelines, and ethics that govern the course.
These factors will help set a purpose and understanding of the course, engaging learners right from the beginning. Make it personal and humanize yourself in the eyes of your learners.
An excellent way to do this is by including a video with the following content:
a tutorial that explains how to navigate through the course and the learning management system;
short self-introduction that can set a tone of positivity and trust with your students;
your goals of the course and your professional passion; and
your priority of helping your learners succeed.
Offering a course preview is essential when creating online courses for selling. It is like giving them a free taste of your course before buying it. A comprehensive walkthrough will not only ensure a reasonable conversion rate. Still, it would also enhance the learning experience by letting the students know about things they can expect from the particular course content. Including a course walkthrough at the beginning is a great way to outline what the learner should expect from taking the course.
3. Structure and Style of an eLearning Course
Have cohesiveness in structure and style. The topics and their sequences are the concepts of structure. Instructional designers must organize topics to ensure the continuous flow of information is being communicated. Instructional Designers use storyboarding to help them have a clear vision of the course sequence and whether the size of each lesson is big or small.
Even in a traditional classroom, this should be a given without being said. However, the emphasis in an online classroom is even more critical because learners don’t have direct physical contact with their instructor when completing coursework.
It can be very easy for a learner to get lost in an eLearning course content if topics jump from topic to topic randomly without ensuring that the learner has all the prerequisite knowledge gained from previously learned modules.
4. Communication with the Trainer
Communication with the trainer is essential, and learner support must clearly be distinguished. This issue will help learners feel more connected and engaged in their learning.
Learners should receive consistent, timely, and detailed feedback. Trainers also need to be available to connect with their learners through multiple formats, such as email, Skype, or the phone.
Learners must also be aware of trainer support, academic support, technical support, and administrative support. Live chat, email, and phone are all excellent support services. Even an FAQ can help the learner feel like a support system is in place, leading to a more effective learning experience.
The trainer’s responsibility is to decipher between these different forms of communication and explain their role in the process to the learners.
Watch this to learn more about increasing presence in eLearning. Increasing Online Presence with the Community of Inquiry Framework in eLearning
5. Cross-Platform Responsiveness
The learning management system you are using must be cross-platform responsiveness.
You should ALWAYS have some support system in a place built into the eLearning course, wherein the learner can receive help if they need it along the way.
Today’s digital learners spend a significant amount of time on their phones. Therefore, mobility is essential. eLearning courses need to be accessible through various devices, browsers, and platforms.
In addition, it might be a good idea for you to provide alternative resources just in case any of the resources aren’t easily accessible for technical reasons; relating to the diversity of special needs of learners is also a good idea.
6. eLearning Course Efficacy
Using a good authoring tool is imperative when designing an eLearning course. The platform needs to allow multiple forms of media to be easily accessible through the LMS.
In addition, limitations of specific LMS software, such as Blackboard, can potentially slow down interactions, limiting functionality, adding time limitations, and frustration between instructors and learners.
This can be highly detrimental to learners when taking an eLearning course because keeping them engaged is very critical in eLearning.
7. Collaboration in eLearning
Using project collaboration is another important aspect to consider.
The needs to be continuous cooperation between subject matter experts, instructors, instructional designers, and colleagues to determine best practices from multiple perspectives in designing their eLearning course.
One of the elements of authentic eLearning is to utilize access to networks of experts through social media by learning and to share with others through blogs, discussions, and team projects. This will help give online instructors multiple pathways and opportunities to share knowledge from different perspectives.
This is an essential factor to consider specifically in eLearning because the field is continuously growing and changing.
Instructional designers must stay updated with current trends and media in this constantly growing digital age.
8. Engagement Aspects of eLearning
Keeping it simple is one way of engaging your learners.
Learner engagement doesn't happen by chance when delivering great eLearning courses. Keeping your learners engaged makes learning more enjoyable and motivating. Employee efficiency, productivity, and satisfaction increased with proper engagement of employees in eLearning training. Positive learning experiences can motivate employees to continue learning independently and apply their learning in new ways. Adding interactive games, simulations, presentations, and assessments that reinforce the content in a fun and motivational way can improve learner engagement. Adding examples to your course can also help boost learners' attention. Giving them examples is like giving them a compass so they can find their way.
Read here: Enhancing eLearning with Examples and Case Studies in Instructional Design to learn more about using examples in eLearning.
9. Feedback from Veteran Instructional Designers
Getting input from veteran instructional designers will improve the course’s credibility and help you become a more compelling online instructor yourself. Why would one not want to enhance their knowledge from experienced professionals?
It’s also a great idea to have the instructor bring in experts or other educationists to speak live or on recorded sessions directly to the learners throughout the course. From my personal experience in eLearning, this was especially valuable to my learning.
Technology is making rapid changes in every aspect of our lives: mobility, communications, entertainment, business, finance, and most especially, education. The task of instructional designers is to understand and assess the technology; to transform content into formats that are more efficient and more engaging to the learners. By considering the course title, course introduction & walkthrough, structure and style, communication with the trainer, course efficacy, collaboration, and engagement, instructional designers will be able to design an eLearning course that will tailor-fit to the needs of today's learners.
Learning new tips and technology trends in eLearning and instructional design is not enough to create and develop efficient and effective eLearning courses and training.
APPLYING these tips and trends is what is important, Let me tell you how...
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