Are you experiencing higher learner dropout in your e-learning?
Do you see a higher rate of disengagement among the learners?

If you have seen these signs in your organisation, I must say that your learners are not enjoying the learning experience and are disengaged.

So how can an organisation create and deliver e-learning your audiences will love?

Sadly, there is no instant recipe or formula. But there are ways to work around and create and deliver e-learning your audiences will love. E-learning, as we all know, is not the same as it was some years back, from the traditional click -next style of learning, it has evolved and progressed to engaging, multimodal and device agnostic e-learning. Hence, in this blog, I have summarised and collated popular ways to create e-learning that your learners/employees will definitely love.

1.Shift from traditional designs to Learning Experience Design (LXD)

It was only a few years back that a trendy keyword started appearing on my internet feeds and today it has given a different perspective to e-learning development i.e from the traditional design techniques in e-learning (ADDIE model in e-learning), the designers are moving/shifting to the design style that is learner-centric- learner experience design.

What is Learner Experience Design or LXD
Learning experience design (LX design) is the process of creating learning experiences that enable learners to achieve the desired learning outcome in a human centered and goal oriented way.
The principle behind every learner experience design is simple i.e great e-learning must foster great learner experiences. Here the learner experience refers to any course, program, or other interaction where learning takes place.
The traditional design model like ADDIE was the most popular instructional design model used to create learning courses both online and offline. But such techniques were not focused on the learner experience. Instead, they focused more on the learning content. Thus today, there is the growing popularity of implementing learner experience design that incorporates the learners’ needs, reactions, thoughts, and attitudes while designing the course.

Here is a quick comparison of steps in implementing the ADDIE model and learner experience design which uses design thinking approach

Steps in implementing ADDIE design model

Steps in implementing LxD

To know about how to implement a learner experience design, you can refer to my blog here

2.Visually powerful e-learning

Ohh.. the e-learning module was not visually appealing.
It was too bright and the fonts were too small to read. It looked well in the desktop but not in the smartphone. If you had thought that visual appeal of an e-learning course has only very less to do in creating a sticky learner experience then I must say that it needs a deep rethinking today as the visual elements play a significant role in creating an e-learning that audiences will love. Here are some popular visual elements in e-learning.

2.1. E-learning layout

An e-learning layout is the structure and design framework that holds the content of the learning module. Today there are numerous design templates that are available for easy downloads. But it should be noted that the designer should choose a contextual e-learning layout to serve the learning purpose. Like if you are designing for mobile learning and your audiences are millennials then you should choose an e-learning layout which is mobile friendly and has a fluid design. Else if you’re looking to design an e-learning layout from scratch, take inspiration from the layouts used in responsive websites and research on how are they able to create and sustain the engagement.

Tips :
1. Make sure that you chose a responsive design layout

2. Ensure that the chosen layout is neat and contextual.

2.2 Multimedia

The word multimedia includes the combination of text, graphics, animations, audio and video and more. To develop e-learning that your audiences will love, make sure that you chose the right multimedia that can relate to the e-learning content. Overloading e-learning with multimedia can confuse the learners and derail the learning experience. So let us now look at each of the elements one by one

2.3 Typography

While choosing the typography, as a designer the primary focus should be to ensure that the content on the screen is readable for the learners. It should be clearly visible and the learners shouldn’t feel that the text is too small or cluttered. This is ensured by choosing the right typeface for e-learning.

Here are 5 important tips that should be considered while choosing the typography for e-learning
1. Choose a font palette that is clean and use a combination of two font styles to suit the heading and body.

2. Ensure that the font size is easily legible for your learners. Usually, it is 12 to 16 pixels for the body in a typical e-learning screen.

3. Most of your e-learning courses are accessed through a web browser or mobile browser so it is important to choose font styles which render well in the browsers.

4. Use the same font family for a group of text-serif or sans serif or use contrasting family for body and title.

5. Limit the course to two or three fonts.

2.4 Colors

have great relevance in the e-learning development. The designer should be very careful in choosing the color schemes for e-learning. If there are brand guidelines, the designer can easily follow the same.

1. Use colors that compliment each other.

2. Experiment with colors by breaking  out from the monotonous color schemes. If you have a target audience comprising more of millennials, use bold colors and colors that can attract the millennial audience.

3. Visit forums, websites and look around to take inspirations

2.5 Consistency in design

Be consistent with the font, design, style, color etc throughout the e-learning module.

For example, you cannot combine serious looking characters or avatars with funny or cartoon characters in the same e-learning module. Similarly, you cannot choose a flat icon with a 3d icon. For more details, you can refer to my blog Seventeen Essentials for E-Learning Graphic Design

3.Importance of Structural Elements

If you’re looking to develop e-learning your audiences will love, one cannot miss these important elements i.e engagement and interactivity. Thanks to the latest learning trends in e-learning that emphasize higher engagement and interactivity by using the following strategies like:

3.1 Simulations

E-Learning simulations allow learners to experience the learning as it is in reality. Simulation combines the power of experiential and immersive learning with “a risk-free learning environment” so that learners learn and practice without the fear of making mistakes.
The simulated e-learning modules are user-centric and hence progress through the action of the learners making it more engaging for them. The challenges and tasks are mostly the ones that the learners are likely to face at the working environment. One of the most effective uses of virtual simulations is task walkthroughs. The learners can explore each step instead of just reading about what to do when.

3.2 Branching scenarios

Branching scenarios include different decision-making paths that online learners must choose to proceed and complete the learning process. As a result, they’re able to see the consequences of their actions and behaviors first-hand without having to deal with real-world risks. In order to achieve the desired outcomes, they have to utilize pre-existing knowledge, skills, and experience.

3.3 Gamification of learning

Gamification of learning is the right use of game elements in a non-gamified context. In a gamified e-learning , the organisation can choose the appropriate game mechanics and elements to raise the bar of engagement. Some popular game mechanics that can create engagement in e-learning include points, badges, leaderboards, levels, progress bars, timers etc.

3.4 Use of engaging storyline

Everybody likes to listen to good stories. They have the ability to keep the readers hooked to the content as the curiosity of what happens next drives the viewers. Research has shown that we human beings have a special connection to the stories.  The art of storytelling can be effectively used in e-learning as stories have the power to make the learners engage with the learning content and it is observed that learners tend to remember and recollect more through stories. To know more about effective storytelling in e-learning, you can refer to my blog here.

3.5 Animations in e-learning

The shorter duration and formats of e-learning animations have the power to enhance the learner engagement in an e-learning course. To know more about using animations in your e-learning, you can refer to my blog here.  E-learning animation includes not only creating animated videos, instead it can also include the use of animated infographics,micro interactions etc. Animations in e-learning are a sure shot way to create e-learning your audiences will love.

3.6 Keeping the content precise

Keeping the content longer and stretched is an open invitation for disengagement to creep in as it can lead to information overload. To combat this, break up the learning content into smaller chunks of bite-sized content that can be shared as individual learning units. This is popularly called as microlearning. In fact, microlearning is strongly emerging as a performance support tool and just in time tool for the learners and your audiences are bound to love microlearning.

3.7 Include social elements

Today as we see there are popular social websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and other instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and many more. They have changed the way we communicate and network with.  These social elements have influenced the learning in the organisation and I suggest you include the social elements like enabling peer to peer chats, using forums to engage the audience etc. Such features are often known to involve the audiences and are a part of the learning platforms or LMS.

3.8 Relevant learning content

The modern learners are sure to quit the learning process if they don’t find the learning content to be relevant. The old style of one size fits for all approach of learning is no longer the correct strategy to train the learners. Stepping into the year 2019, an organization should focus on developing e-learning that is more relevant to the target learners by focussing on creating personalised learning experiences and giving the learners more control over what they learn and how they learn.

4.The importance of testing

To create engaging e-learning that your audiences will love, you need to ensure that it’s properly tested more from the learner experience perspective before final implementation. Like cluttered navigation can destroy the entire learning experience, similarly unrelatable characters of avatars can create a disengagement. Hence, I recommend the organisation to choose a target group of learners(preferred are early adopters) and test the e-learning. Make sure to collect their feedback and ensure that queries if any are resolved. With learners’ preferring to access the learning content from different devices, it’s very important to ensure that the e-learning is tested on different screens like smartphones, tablet, iPad etc. to give a seamless user experience across devices.

Here are 4 popular ways to create e-learning your audiences will love. Feel free to share your suggestion and recommendations using the comment box below.