The Secrets to Creating Effective eLearning


In today’s day and age, almost anyone can create an online learning experience. Whether that online learning experience is effective, is a completely different story. For us at Belvista Studios, creating effective eLearning is our goal. Through having this goal, we have compiled a list of criteria that enables us to assess the effectiveness of our learning solutions.

In this blog we would like to share with you some considerations for effective eLearning as well as practical tips that you can use for your next eLearning solution.

In this blog, we will share our following secrets.

1. Sharing the Intent of the Learning
2. Creating Challenging Activities
3. Using Consistent Feedback

1. Sharing the Intent of the Learning


To enable learners to gain an understanding of the intent of the learning and apply their learnings outside of the eLearning experience, they need to know the intent.

For the sake of understanding the importance of the intent, imagine you are given an eLearning course on how to speak to customers over the phone. This sounds like a common workplace skill, right? Now I want you to imagine that in your role, you don’t ever speak to customers over the phone. Would you be…

Motivated to complete the learning.

or

Perplexed as to why you would waste your time on a skill that you don’t require.

Whilst I am a lover of learning, I think I would be leaning more towards the second response. Intent is important, and I know for me, it has a significant impact on my levels of motivation. The day and age that we currently live in has a lot of stimuli on offer, constantly grabbing our attention, I therefore carefully choose what I spend my time and energy on. If I do not understand how the content or learning will benefit my life, then I am likely to not engage with it.

Here are some practical tips for incorporating the intent into your learning solutions:

Explain the Intent at the Beginning

Explain the intent of the learning solution and how it will benefit the learner at the beginning of the learning experience. To support you in doing this, answer the following questions:

By completing the learning experience…

1. How will the learner’s life be made easier?
2. How will the learner improve in their role?
3. How will the learner’s day to day life be improved?

If the learner knows the answer to these questions from the very beginning they may be more inclined to engage in the learning as they will be aware of how doing so, can positively impact their life.

If you are unsure of how the module content can benefit the learner, you may want to ask yourself whether they need to complete the training at all. With an open mind, consider if the learning experience is necessary.


The intent of a Human-centred design module, which is used up front before any training happens.

Incorporate Realistic Scenarios

When you are designing a learning solution, a great way to provide intent to the learner’s ‘real world’ is by incorporating realistic scenarios. Think about what the learning outcomes are, consider the behaviours you would like the learner to exhibit post the course and come up with scenarios that they would realistically face in their life. The best way to gain this sort of information is by observing or speaking with the learners so that you gain a deep understanding of what their reality is.


An example of a realistic scenario we created as part of a bullying and harassment module where the responses are the common thoughts that go through the head of the employees when faced with situations such as this.


2. Creating Challenging Activities

When you are designing your learning, ensure it includes some element of challenge and difficulty. However, not too difficult that the learner has no chance of accomplishing the task.

Have you ever completed an eLearning course that had questions that you hardly had to think twice about to achieve the correct answer? I have most definitely had that experience. It resulted in me clicking answers as quickly as possible (taking in the least amount of information that I could) with the intent of getting to the end of the module, so I could return to my normal life.

Consider how you will create the right level of ‘challenge’ for your learning experience by creating activities that replicate the real world.

Prior to designing your activities think about what behaviours you would like your learner to demonstrate as well as any skills that you would like them to obtain. You can then incorporate these behaviours and skills into your activities. Ensure that your activities represent reality so that learners can replicate the behaviours outside of the learning experience.

When you are creating your questions or scenarios, ensure that the answer options reflect what would happen in reality. For example, if you are training staff in how to greet a customer, include options that reflect how customers are greeted in the organisation. You can obtain this information by observing your learner on-the-job and recording the different greetings that are used. This is far more effective over having an obvious correct answer and two answers along the lines of, ‘Stare at the customer and say nothing’ or, ‘Ignore the customer, they are low on your list of priorities’.


In this example from part of an activity the answer choices reflect the reality of a conversation. We know this as we asked employees how conversations normally go in their workplace.

3. Using Consistent Feedback

Providing useful feedback is integral to a good eLearning course. Feedback provides the learner with an opportunity to discover if they are understanding the content correctly.

Explicit and frequent feedback is important in eLearning design (AgileGamification, 2014). Encourage the learner to continue or adjust their actions with onscreen feedback messages. This can also involve congratulating the learner for reaching a goal, encouraging the next action or promoting a new reward (Bunchball, 2015).

If you provide your learner with feedback consistently throughout the learning experience they will be able to learn in the moment and adjust their decisions accordingly.


In this branching scenario conversation we use five opportunities for feedback - Rob’s engagement, his thoughts, what he says, his body language and tips from a coach.

That’s all for this blog on ‘The Secrets to Creating Effective eLearning’. We hope that these tips support you in creating an effective online experience. If you have any tips and tricks on how to create effective eLearning experiences, we would love to hear about it.

                                                          References

Agilegamification. (2014). Agile Gamification. Retrieved from http://www.agilegamification.org/gamification/points-badges-leaderboards/.

Bunchball. (2015). Bunchball. Retrieved 30 October, 2016, fromhttp://www.bunchball.com/gamification/game-mechanics.

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