The quality of eLearning content will determine its longevity. That is, whether learners will stick through the content and how likely they are to retain the learned information and apply it to their job role. The key to designing quality digital training is to give learners a sense of autonomy over their individual learning experience.
When a learner feels responsible for their learning goals and outcomes, they are more likely to remain focused and engaged. Consequently, an attentive learner is a happy and motivated learner. They are willing to dedicate themselves to the material at hand and will progress through it with the intention of achieving success.
There are various ways that Instructional Designers (IDs) can design eLearning that delivers high-quality content. Some of these ways include carefully assessing the audience (or target group), creating content that has real-world applications, and raising self-confidence.
When designing an eLearning training, understanding the target audience is what makes the difference between a memorable learning experience and one that is forgettable. It is crucial that IDs take the time to assess their audience and research their learning goals and objectives. Factors such as the group’s size, the positions that the learners hold, topics they are interested in, and what they need to know for their job role will determine the efficacy of the content. Based on this knowledge, IDs can begin to design material that benefits their audience.
If the group size is larger, implementing components like discussion forums and feedback reviews will encourage learners to share their individual perspectives and exchange information amongst each other. This opportunity to collaborate will motivate them to become more involved in their training with the aim of demonstrating their knowledge to their colleagues and peers. Likewise, by incorporating content that is relevant to the audience’s job roles, IDs can design a training that complements learners’ expectations and will make it easier for them to apply their new knowledge and skills while on the job. When a learner can make a connection between the training objectives and their personal learning goals, they are more likely to actively participate in the training and refer to what they have learned moving forward.
Learners will quickly decide whether an eLearning training has value based on its real-world applications. Human beings are generally motivated by instant gratification, and if training content does not promise any benefits or rewards early on, most learners will disengage from the material. One way to avoid boredom is to design content that is clear, concise, and immediately outlines learning goals with specific training objectives.
IDs should carefully research their audience to better understand learners’ backgrounds. Varying factors like culture, education, and profession will affect each learner’s needs and preferences, and they will determine how likely a learner is to value the training. If the content is not applicable to the audience, learners will not see its real-world applications and they will quickly lose interest. For this reason, it is crucial that IDs take the time to genuinely familiarize themselves with their audience and design training that appeals to instant gratification.
Confident learners are motivated learners, and motivated learners strive to retain more knowledge to meet their training goals. IDs can help enhance learners’ self-confidence by designing content that gives them more control over their individual learning experience. Some ways to do so are by allowing learners to define and set their own goals, and by creating personalized training paths for each employee. These paths can include online assessments, interactive activities and components, and gamification:
Essentially, by incorporating these personalized paths into training content, IDs can help their audience feel more seen at an individual level. When a learner feels appreciated, can set their own goals, and watch their progress unfold, they will be more confident and determined to power through the training.
The world of eLearning is endlessly growing and evolving. Every day, more businesses and corporations are turning to the Internet to train their employees and motivate them to meet learning goals and apply them to their profession. With so much eLearning content becoming available to learners, it is important that IDs continue to design content that is aligned with employees’ expectations, needs, and goals. Now more than ever, IDs face the challenge of creating training that is memorable and leaves a lasting impression on their audience to avoid boredom, burn out, and repetition. By focusing on enhancing learners’ autonomy in identifying, setting, and achieving their learning goals, IDs can design quality eLearning that will propel learners (and their businesses) forward in the real world.
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