Three Small Adjustments to Supercharge Your E-Learning

25 Jun 2021 5:51 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

If e-learning courses are underperforming, it may mean your courses aren’t designed for success. By removing dull content, getting creative with formatting, and helping people see themselves, you can increase your content’s quality and engage members more effectively.

If your association’s e-learning courses are underperforming, is it time to throw in the towel? No. It’s time to make a few small changes that will elevate your courses to the next level. These three simple changes can make your courses more engaging and valuable.

Cut the Dull, Less Actionable Content

Have you ever sat through a presentation from someone who is an expert in their field, but not in the art of public speaking? First, they take a deep dive into the history of their research and then they get so caught up in the granular details, the audience checks out.

Avoid this scenario with your association’s e-learning courses by removing information that’s dull or otherwise unnecessary. You may feel tempted to create highly comprehensive courses that cover topics in-depth—but the fact is, members want direct, actionable tips that can make them more effective in their fields.

Switching up the formatting of your courses takes learners into content that’s engaging and more likely to be retained over time.

To evaluate your content, ask the following questions:

  • What do I want the learner to do better or differently?
  • What skills do they need to do that thing more effectively?
  • Is this information actively helping the learner develop that skill?
  • If not, is there another compelling reason to include this information?
  • If I was a busy association member, would I find this information interesting?

Elevating your courses doesn’t always mean adding in new, innovative information. Sometimes, it’s just as valuable to cut the fluff and keep your learners’ attention for the full course.

If you’re struggling to figure out how to move from an information or “tell-based” course to an application or “do-based” course, you can work with an e-learning content-development partner that has knowledge of course design best practices to increase engagement and knowledge retention.

Switch Up Your Formatting to Add Interest

We’ve discussed what you can remove from content to increase its value for members, but what about what you can add?

Members are probably completing courses from their homes. These homes also have family members to chat with, chores to complete, and favorite TV shows to catch up on. Oh, and this is on top of day-to-day work.

Your content is competing for their attention, and strong formatting decisions can help it stand out. Here are a few quick ideas that you can use to add interest to your courses:
  • Slider and dials. Rather than “click on this image to learn more,” this interactive, multi-layered variant increases engagement.
  • Labeling and sorting. This is an alternative to multiple-choice knowledge checks that uses imagery to increase interaction.
  • Audio review. You can use character audio to have a character tell their own story or switch up narrators to break up the monotony of a single speaker.

Switching up the formatting of your courses takes learners into content that’s engaging and more likely to be retained over time.

Help People See Themselves in Your Courses

While 70 percent of respondents in an ASAE Research Foundation study acknowledged the importance of DEI, only half had developed policies to advance it. By making one small adjustment in how you think about building your e-learning courses—helping people see themselves in your courses—you can take a big step in the right direction.
Some organizations think that swapping out a few images in the course will provide diversity. Instead, ask yourself a few questions to adjust your thinking to meet the needs of your learners:
  • Look at your images—Are they representative of your membership? What about the future of your membership?
  • Listen to your audio—Would you benefit from some variety in narration or character voices?
  • Try to experience your course as if you had a sight or hearing impairment.
  • Imagine what it would be like to take your course on a mobile device because you don’t have access to a computer or your Wi-Fi signal is low.

Not only should association members be able to take your courses and recognize themselves and their peers in them, but this can also impact how they apply your lessons to their workplace. For example, let’s say you’re a medical association and you’re creating healthcare e-learning to help members maintain their certifications. Since your members work with diverse patients, your diversity-related content prepares them to provide effective care for all races, genders, cultures, abilities, and more.

With a new way of thinking and some relatively minor tweaks in course design, you will open your learners’ hearts and minds to what you’re teaching.

Original article posted at ASAE learning Centre

June 21, 2021By: Amy Morrisey


The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

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