What do you need to develop a successful eLearning course?
As a very popular way of learning via the Internet lately, eLearning has certainly made its name heard in the educational field. Today, there are millions of courses exist, but not every one of them is a success. So, what do you need to develop a successful eLearning course? If you are wondering, here are the main elements that will help you develop your own effective course. To be more simple, think of it as cooking a full course meal that you’re preparing for your favorite guests. You’ll need to pay attention to these 4 key factors.
1. High-quality content – the foundation of an effective course
The first, and maybe the most important factor making an eLearning course’ success, is the content. Why? As we mentioned earlier, if building an eLearning course was like cooking, then content will be “the meat of your meal”. Specifically, high-quality content must be easy to comprehend, useful and inviting to the learners. That way, your content will be a strong foundation that other factors can thrive on.
For example, if there were two online courses for learners to choose. Which course do you think the learners would prefer? Is it a course has an eye-catching design but rather unhelpful and unintelligible content? Or the one which has a simpler design and yet, comes with an engaging, easy to access content? Now that you’ve understood how content can help you build an excellent online course, it’s time to know what makes content great.
The guideline for a great course content
Step 1: Know your audience
As an educator, it’s crucial to understand your learners’ needs. Hence, you should create content that fit them the most. There are 2 major things you’ll need to identify first – “Who are your learners?” and “What are their learning styles?’’. After you found the answers to these questions, then your course can become the place where learners feel familiar with. For instance, children always prefer to learn with funny cartoons and colorful design. Therefore, what would be better if animation elements can be added to their learning course? Not only it’ll help attract and secure children’s attention remarkably, but it also let them have great fun while learning!
For further understanding:
Step 2: Clarify learning objectives
The second but just as significant thing to do is be clear about your course’s learning objectives. Not only it can help you target the right learners, but it also guides your content throughout the entire course.
Therefore, clarify what learners need to be able to do with what they learn is a must. Additionally, this way, you can show the usefulness of your course to people.
Step 3: Choose your form of delivery
This is how your learners will approach and digest the information. So choose carefully. Because the right form of delivery will not only make it cohesive with the content but likewise increase the value of knowledge.
Currently, there are 3 main types of form: text-based, video-based, and game-based courses. Depend on your teaching purposes or learners’ learning style, you can choose between these 3 forms to make it work. For example, if you’re teaching about visual arts, what would be a better choice than the video-based format?
This is another example of adopting animated video in a nurse training course. The video-based format in this situation firstly helps visualize the context of knowledge. Besides, when combined with voice-over, the visualization brings engagement to the content for a better understanding.
2. Good design – a successful eLearning course’s must-have outfit
Now that you have created great content, what you need is to find a good appearance for it. It’s because a good design will attract learner’s attention and enhance their visual experience. On the other hand, if a course looks bad, learners might feel lacking motivation to learn. So, if it was cooking, consider this is your meal decoration. Of course, people will enjoy the food more if it looks nice, right?
Tips on how to achieve an attractive course’s look
Find a fabulous style that fits your eLearning course
Normally, it is well-recommended to find a design that suits the course style. To begin with, there are 3 elements that you should pay attention to. Specifically, they are fonts, colors, and illustrations.
For example, if you’re working with young learners, the design should come with vibrant colors and adorable fonts. They can bring a fun vibe and excitement to children, hence, make them enjoy learning more.
And stick with it!
Another thing when it comes to style is that you should keep it consistent. Since no one wants a chaotic design that has 5 different colors, shapes and fonts. Just imagine! It’ll make learners feel overwhelmed. Therefore, it’s best that you should use the same color palette and keep it between 1-2 fonts for each lesson. And always remember, less is more!
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Make a great first impression with the course cover
The old saying goes “First impression lasts!”. Indeed, in online courses, the cover is your first impression on people. So why not make an eye-catching course cover to make heads turn? Not only will it attract learners’ attention, but it also makes your course look more professional and well invested.
3. Wise structure for well-organized eLearning course
Think of structure as the menu plan for your meal. In which, the order of serving food is planned out. A reasonable menu plan always leaves the customer satisfied while hungry for more at the same time. Same goes with a successful eLearning course. Likewise, it needs a strategic structure which can kick off learners’ curiosity to explore the course by themselves.
For one thing, a strong and clear course structure will make learners see their whole curriculum better. Thus, they can have good preparation or digest knowledge easier. On the other hand, learners might be confused and feel lost by a disorganized structure.
Typically, many online courses are following a structure model that likes a Push structure. Although, it appears pretty transparent by dividing knowledge into each section. However, this Push structure can be a little heavy in mere information. So, with performance-based courses, Push model might come out dry and tedious to learners.
(Source: eLearning Heroes)
The Pull structure solution
Now that you know what’s tedious to the learners, it’s time to find out what will make them interested. Why not try this exciting Pull Structure for a change? It’s an approach allows each learner to access the same information at the same time, and they’ll decide what content will be pulled. Would you rather have one studying plan for all students or make a unique one for your own? So instead of pushing information out to learners, Pull Structure change the way they get it. Now, learners can have their own pathway that suits their learning style while also being stimulated to study more.
(Source: eLearning Heroes)
How to use it best?
There are various ways that you can apply to let this structure do its best :
- Encourage learners to make decisions on their own learning path
- Motivate learning by regular assessment and small deadlines
- Add cases studies/scenarios that learners need to find out the solution by pulling the information from the course.
4. Meaningful interaction – the glue of a successful eLearning course
The last element of a successful eLearning course is interaction. Indeed, interaction is what makes the learning experience complete and memorable. Due to the geographical distance and the lack of instructors’ presence, interaction becomes a vital element in eLearning courses. Since it offers us an active role to gain knowledge, we learn much more effective. Besides, interaction also helps learners maintain their attention and engagement during the course.
So how can you provide interaction into your course properly? We can show you 4 easy tips to achieve this!
4 ways to add more interaction into your eLearning course
- Asking questions: You can ask questions that make learners brainstorming for the answer. Or just simple questions like “What do you feel about today lesson?” that offer learners chances to give feedback.
- Making problem-solving scenarios: These real-life situations will definitely help information become more practical and memorable to the learners. A little tip for you – make the interaction relevant to learners’ experience so they can enjoy them more.
- Create interactive learning spaces: It’s a good idea to open groups or learning community for learners and peers/instructors can communicate with each other!
- Social media is your friend! Learners should be allowed to share your content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,… In other words, let them decide how they want to interact with the information. Plus, it means your content can reach out to other people as well.
Plus: How should you design your eLearning course?
This infographic will point out the pros and cons of designing eLearning course with 2 common option: DIY and hire an instructional designer. Some tips for best design course with each option are included, check it out!
In short, to develop a successful eLearning course, you must take good care of these elements: content, design, structure, and interaction. For content, create one that suits your learners the best! But remember, even a skyrocket content can’t attract learners without a fine, consistent design style. In addition, don’t forget that a good course structure will wake learners’ curiosity for knowledge. A dull one will push information to them. Lastly, the glue that will tie all of these portions together and enhance learners’ experience is meaningful interaction.
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