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Effective eLearning just needs a dose of common sense

Common sense Pills

Do a Google search on ‘the effectiveness of eLearning’ or similar and you will find a wealth of academic and industry based research studies published over the years. What do they tell us? Not a lot more than a good dollop of common-sense would tell you, in my view. Just think about your own lifelong learning experiences and I am sure you will get close to a great answer to this question.

Here’s our common-sense approach to delivering effective eLearning programmes:

1. Keep it short. In an online world time is magnified; seconds feel like minutes and minutes feel like hours from a user experience perspective; the clock is always ticking … tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock is ringing in your learners’ ears. Everything about eLearning needs to be ‘short and sweet’ and less is normally more. Every element of content needs to be optimised in terms of duration from the embedded video or animations, through lesson construction to the overall length of a module. I am not advocating that everything becomes a micro-course but rather that you need to focus on minimising the time taken in relation to each and every learning objective.

2. Interaction slows the ticking clock. The best (perhaps only) way to slow down the learners’ ticking clock is to offer them valued interaction throughout their learning journey. It’s crucial that the interaction is both valued and productive for the learner so it is quality that counts and variety pays dividends also.

3. Create a sense of achievement. We all like material evidence to know that we have achieved something worthwhile and this is especially the case with a solitary experience such as eLearning. Ensure you offer certifications to learners for achieving something meaningful, ideally that they have passed the assessment in a course as opposed to just completing the course itself.

4. Communicate with your learners. ‘You are not alone’ is an important message that you need to continually reinforce amongst your online learning community. Ideally, you should look to create opportunities for learners to socialise online but in any event, you should ensure your L&D organisation offers regular communications and reminders to drive learning activity and action.

As we said at the start, none of this is rocket science and all is easy to implement with the right choice and design of content.

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