From giant screen monitors to tiny smartwatches, we have screens of every conceivable size available to us. There’s an abundance of evidence that suggests that our current levels of distraction and disengagement can be attributed to all these screens vying for our attention. We certainly see that in the online learning environment but can we say the same about social media?
You would probably agree that time spent on social media sites generally flies by but that’s not so true when you’re busy learning online. Part of it can be explained by the fact that we approach social media with the intent to entertain ourselves. Another important reason is that online learning is rarely presented in an equally compelling manner as social media sites.
In an effort to create engaging eLearning content, it is important to take inspiration from the successes of social media. By making some simple but intentional changes, it is possible to capture the learner’s interest in the subject matter just as much as Instagram or Twitter does. Let’s find out how!
1. Rethink Learning Objectives
Many course authors miss the opportunity to engage learners even before they actually start the course. Never underestimate the importance of learning objectives. Phrasing your goals thoughtfully has the potential to reel your learners in and get them excited about a course before they actually see any content.
We’re not talking about click-baiting your audience the social media way. Instead, emphasize the value the course brings to their lives. If by reading the objectives, your audience can see themselves gaining tangible skills and applying them in their everyday life, they will definitely maintain high engagement levels throughout the course.
2. Add Visual Elements
Ever notice how you avoid text-heavy posts on social media? Nobody wants to spend their time online reading blocks of text with no visual elements to break the monotony. The same applies to eLearning.
Adding attractive visuals in eLearning content is the most common way to boost engagement. These visual elements can range from videos to infographics, or even gifs. Some courses break the monotony of long presentations by adding attractive colors or a voiceover element as well.
The best part is that you don’t need any specialized software to add these elements. Most ed-tech platforms incorporate well-equipped course authoring suites which you can use to add just about anything you envision.
3. Let the Learners Relate
It is important to take a moment and consider your target audience. Knowing the demographic of your learners can inform the way you present your eLearning content. Different age groups respond differently to gamification elements, microlearning prompts, and assessments. Set aside some resources to conduct a learner survey that can help you get the information you need.
Apart from presenting a relevant format, it is also useful to provide context for the learning. Learners should be able to relate to real-life situations where they might find your content useful. This is especially important in workplace training programs where employees must be able to identify situations where the training will end up being useful.
4. Relinquish Control
Students have come to expect a certain degree of autonomy over their learning, especially when it comes to online learning environments. As an instructor or course author, you must recognize the benefits behind giving up some control over to the learners.
Giving students control over their learning automatically ensures their investment in the learning process. Personalized learning enables students to create their own learning paths where they can dictate the pace, content, as well as assessment types within the courses. Having a say in the learning process helps learners feel heard and understood. Naturally, engagement follows.
5. Make it Social
This is where we recommend taking the greatest inspiration from social media. Making learning a social experience can help students interact with each other despite geographical distances. Social learning is an incredibly effective way to keep students engaged and at the same time, ensure that they retain the course content.
Incorporating discussion forums into courses can make it easier for students to exchange knowledge, ask questions, and collaborate with each other. It is also a great way for instructors to touch base with students and make sure they get all the help they need.
Apart from forums, course authors can build social activities directly into the eLearning content. This can be in the form of group assignments, presentations, or peer reviews. Activities like these encourage team-based learning and interdependence.
6. Keep it Short and Sweet
Microlearning is a promising way to relay information to learners in the most efficient way possible. Breaking down content into smaller pieces and delivering them to students at crucial points throughout the course leaves a lasting impression on them. Content delivered in the form of spaced repetition ensures that students remember important aspects of the course without dedicating too much of their time.
7. Get Expert Advice
Balancing engagement and complicated subject matter is no easy task. Sometimes in an effort to relay information, we risk losing the learner’s interest. Conversely, trying to keep learners engaged can also make us lose sight of the end goal: learning. Oftentimes, this balancing act can be a bit taxing and leave many course creators unsure.
Creating engaging eLearning experiences can sometimes be best left to the experts. Edly’s learning and Instructional Design services can help you create and deliver thoughtful and engaging learning experiences tailored especially for your learners. Get in touch with us today, or experience our platform for free!