In today’s world, e-learning has replaced traditional learning and training methods with ease and swiftness. It provides access to learning and training material anywhere and anytime. The course designers know that creating e-learning content can be tricky and weary as you have to ensure that the learners are able to not just grasp the information and knowledge, but their retention also does not face a difficult time to keep high.
It is not enough for the content to be sharp, short, to the point, convenient, useful, and have practical material, but it has to be engaging and compelling as well. Most of the tips you find on the internet to make your e-learning content compelling discuss the points that are directed towards answering the ‘what’ question but skip the ‘how,’ ‘why,’ and ‘who’ parts. To make your content compelling, you have to create it with the considerations of how the learners will perceive it. It should have an element of ‘fun’ in it, and it should attract the learners and prompt them to receive it actively.
Here are some effective ways to make your e-learning content compelling and engaging:
Make Your Content Answer the Question, ‘Why?’
We all want to know why we are doing something before we start doing it. In today’s world, people do not have the time or energy to invest their efforts in something that is not beneficial for them. So, you have to let your potential learners know how your course or content will benefit them and in what ways. If people know why they are going through your content, they will be more engaged and emotionally invested in the process.
An effective way to go about answering the ‘why’ question for your prospective learners is to organize your content into focused learning outcomes that briefly tell the people what they will or can achieve after going through and learning your content. There are many tools and resources that help in transforming your e-learning content into effective learning outcomes. The choice of content should pertain to the learning objectives you have at hand. A learning objective of ‘How to create an effective work culture in your organization?’ requires your content to teach more than just the theory as the objective indicates that the content will teach the practical implications for ‘how to create?’ as well. So, instead of just a set of notes, a webinar or workshop where learners get to tackle a case study or practice their skills might be beneficial.
Do Not Just Know, but Understand Your ‘Who’
You can easily create content if you know who it is intended for. If it is for people who are interested in learning the art of self-defense? The content will simply be about the art of self-defense. But how will it be compelling? How will it stand out from your competition? Why would people choose it over other similar content, and will they stick to it after they start learning from it?
The answer lies in you knowing your audience a little deeper. You need to identify the personal goals, reading habits, preferences, lifestyle, occupation, age, etc., of people who usually want to learn the art of self-defense. Answering and identifying answers to all these questions will enable you to tailor your content accordingly and make it insights-rich and relatable for your audience. They will connect with the lessons and feel like it is created specifically for them.
For this purpose, if it is a subject that you are not an expert in, a subject matter expert (SME) is highly recommended. To make your e-learning content compelling and specific to a niche audience, using an SME to provide to the point, detail-oriented, and specialized training is essential. It is not necessary that you get an SME to record videos or host live workshops for you, but their involvement, with their experience and knowledge regarding the subject matter, in the e-learning content creation process is imminent.
Involving an SME in your planning and thought process is a great resourceful way to create addictive, relevant, and current content that is coated in sparkling glitter. Other than the knowledge and expertise, passion is another factor that a specialist can bring to the project that gets incorporated in the content.
Structure the Content
Creating relative and expert content is never enough. Filling the course or content with knowledge and information is useful but properly structuring it is also important. Take out separate time and energy for the task to structure it in a way that makes sense to the reader and creates utility and ease for them. The pieces of content that have similar learning objectives and are about topics that co-relate should be coupled and presented together.
One of the benefits of e-learning is that people can pursue it at their own pace. They can revisit and review the things they are finding difficult to grasp and skip the pieces they already have the knowledge of. But that does not mean that you cannot add to the manageability of their learning pace. It is best to start off your content with the simplest and easiest topics and pieces and increase the level of difficulty and expertise slowly and gradually. This way, the learners will be able to digest their knowledge and practice their skills before their minds get piled up with more. This makes them feel that the training is easy and they feel rewarded for their efforts and confident about themselves as well as the content.
Incorporating ways at the beginning that help and aid the learners to recall their information and previous basic learning about the topics is always good. Using infographics, simple explanations, and definitions of the basics of the topic do wonders. Creating self-analyzing content that reflects on the current status of learning during different stages helps learners know where they stand before moving on to more complex topics. As the content progresses, you can use practical quizzes with automated feedback and other opportunities that help learners gauge their own learning and knowledge. Tasks are interactive and engaging and give a sense of accomplishment when completed.
Never Compromise on Quality
Getting the learners to engage your content with complete focus is one thing. Getting them to maintain that level of focus is another. If you are watching a periodic movie that is set in the 1920s and you see an airbus flying by in the background, what will happen? Your focus will suddenly shift from the storyline to the production error. The same is the case when you come across a typo while reading a novel. And very same is the case with e-learning content.
Whether it is readable notes, a video, audio, or an infographic, poor quality and errors can distract the learners away from the topic at hand and deter the learning process and experience. You have to make your content go through high-standard quality assurance checks before putting it out there. Proofreading, proof viewing, and proof listening are all essential processes that you must go through.
Create a Balance Between Active and Passive Learning
If a whole content piece is filled with active learning techniques, learners can become exhausted. Content should have a proportional balance between passive and active learning, so the audience neither gets bored nor overwhelmed. It is good to motivate learners to become actively involved in the learning process through different activities, such as brainstorming sessions, quizzes, problem-solving, discussions, role-playing activities, and simulations.
Creating scenarios that enable the participants to make decisions, right or wrong, to practice their knowledge and skills, and learn from them, is an effective training tool. Such activities boost collaborative and communication skills as well as enhance performance and motivation by allowing risk-taking, experimentation, and exploration. However, there are some topics and types of theoretical knowledge that are best imparted passively. The overall content should have both types of approaches in moderation. Extremes to both ends can damage the learning experience of the participants.
Keep Your Tone Original
Online resources for almost every topic are aplenty and but not everything that relates to your topic has the tone same as yours. Content curation has many benefits as it offers varied and different perspectives and styles of learning, but it cannot compete with original content. You can pick different articles, images, and videos from the internet, and they can all be cool, but your readers will get a sense of being all over the place while engaging with the content, and some will like some parts while others enjoy the other parts.
By staying original with the tone of all types of content materials, you lose the risk of making the content feel less credible and inauthentic. Choose material that is similar to your own tone and style and try to create your own material as much as you can that the learners will not be able to find elsewhere.
Speak the Language of the Audience
It takes us back to our second point of answering, ‘Who?’ If you understand your audience deeply, you will know what language to use to convey your content. The learners should not have to waste their energy understanding the words your content uses or the way the sentences are crafted. Your content should penetrate the brains of the receivers swiftly and easily. The relatability of the type of content and knowledge as well as of the language is equally crucial, and a lack of any of it can pose a risk of your content losing the attention of its audience.
The key is to keep it simple and not use the terminologies that the learners will have a hard time understanding. The level at which your content is delivered should match the understanding level of the audience. Another way to make the content relate more to the students is to use terminologies that are industry-specific but widely used.
Do not Constrict it to a Specific Learning Style
Your target audience might have similar interests, experiences, and prior knowledge, but you cannot expect them to have similar personalities. All students are different with different tastes and learning preferences. Some prefer reading, while some enjoy learning from videos. Some are a little more advanced and gain the most from kinesthetic elements. To make your e-learning content compelling for a wider audience, sprinkle it with some of all types of learning and training components.
Divide your topics into categories and then sub-categories. If you are incorporating activities, then do not stick to just a single kind of activity. Similarly, written notes, graphic content, videos, and audio content should all be of variable types. Remember to keep a good balance between each training style and pertain the educating ways to the kind of information you are providing. Some methodologies and content formats are more suited to specific learning material more than others. Some information is better to be presented in a list format instead of in long paragraphs.
Keep it Short
One-time training sessions can be tedious and tend to get exhausting and sometimes even frustrating. Students highly prefer short training content, and less is always more in this regard. You will have to set your foot on the ground and leave out some stuff. Keep the learning outcomes and objectives in mind and include only the necessary information which is to the point, straightforward, and simple. Microlearning principles allow people to have a flexible and quick learning experience through bite-sized chunks of content.
It might feel like a challenge, but practice makes us perfect, and it is true for the e-learning and training content creation process as well. You can make a checklist of these tips, and soon the process will get automated with the incorporation of these elements. To make your e-learning content compelling and engaging, be in your audience’s shoes for some time while creating the content and plan and strategize before initiating the creation process. Remember, your learners do not have time to create utility for themselves. You will have to do that for them and serve them everything they require. Never spoon-fed someone? Now is the time to start doing that.