Spurring engagement is the age-old battle in learning and development.
Whether we’re focusing on partners, customers, or employees, engaging our learners is the ultimate goal, simply because the learning process becomes so much more difficult if the audience isn’t engaged in it.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn,” once said Confucius, and you know he was right.
When you create e-learning experiences that connect your learners with your online content, learning becomes simple, natural, and effortless. And it sticks.
So, how can you create engaging e-learning experiences?
In this article, we’ll share 10 effective e-learning strategies to create learning programs that highly interest, motivate, and engage your learners, no matter who they are.
1. Know Your Learners
This should be a given, but have you really taken the time to get to know your learners?
The goal of any learning program is to connect with your audience, but it’s difficult to connect with anyone if you know nothing about them.
Analyze your audience and get to know their characteristics, habits, learning behaviors, and needs in order to know exactly what they expect from their e-learning experience.
Are they tech savvy enough to respond well to new technologies that you want to use? Do they have a heavy workload and therefore can’t dedicate much time to learning? What are your learners’ educational background, their learning abilities, and preferences?
Different people learn in different ways and, unless you know exactly who you are creating your e-learning courses for, you won’t be able to find the elements that contribute to an engaging learning experience for them.
2. Set Clear Learning Objectives
Why would anyone be interested in learning anything unless they knew exactly what they will need the information for?
Setting clear learning objectives at the beginning of every course will help your learners see the benefits of their learning, how it will help them develop and improve their skills, and create the right environment for learner engagement.
In addition to this, setting learning goals will not only add value to your learning programs for your learners, but it will also significantly help you to create a clear course structure.
Once you have set your goals, all of the other aspects of your content development strategy will fall into place.
3. Make Your Learning Programs Interactive
Incorporating interactivity into your learning programs is an important factor in helping learners be interested in what they’re learning, and stay focused as they progress through the course.
Both of these elements boost engagement, as boredom and distraction are engagement’s worst enemies.
There are several ways to develop an interactive e-learning strategy, from adding simple drag and drop interactions to turning your presentation into an interactive e-learning course, and designing an interactive virtual classroom environment.
Just remember that your goal is to keep your audience interested – the more you know about your learners, the easier it will be to find the interactive elements that keep them fascinated and involved.
4. Keep Your E-Learning Courses Organized
Speaking of clear structure, organizing your e-learning content is crucial for an engaging learning experience.
Organizing your learning programs will help you avoid cognitive overload, which prevents learners from engaging and focusing on key points.
Make sure that you prioritize your information – what are the most important messages you want to get across? Which courses are mandatory and which are supplementary?
Consider using action mapping to arrange your topics and distribute them in a logical flow in order to boost knowledge retention. Well organized learning content will not only help your learners absorb the course material easier and quicker, but also allows you to distribute the information in effective ways that align with your e-learning objectives.
5. Keep Your Learning Modules Short
Endless content is the fastest way to disengage your audience – no one has unlimited time and patience to devote to their learning, especially if they lead busy lives.
Keeping your learning modules short will not only show your learners that you respect the fact that their time is limited, but will also help them to engage more easily with the material, as it is easier to connect with small chunks of information than with endless stories, videos, and narration.
The best course of action is to break your content up into short sections, provide quick exercises, and, if you are using presentations, remember not to overload your screens with text.
6. Make Your E-Learning Course Visually Appealing
Interestingly, another word for engaging is attractive.
More often than not, engaging learning content is aesthetically appealing, and visual design is a great way to get your learners’ attention and attract their interest.
If you don’t know where to start, remember that less is more. Keep your text short and use white space balance for a harmonious effect that facilitates reading. Choose quality images, animations, avatars, and high quality videos, and don’t hesitate to use great design for your online quizzes.
Focus on an attractive virtual environment and take full advantage of the proven power of aesthetics that not only initiate, but also sustain engagement.
7. Trigger Your Audience’s Curiosity
When you give your learners something to be curious about, you increase their interest and, thus, their engagement levels.
Capture their attention with well chosen visuals and then create an environment that stimulates their curiosity with thought-provoking scenario questions and challenging e-learning games.
Any kind of exercise that introduces conflict and dilemma will encourage your audience to think and reflect on what they are learning. Remember that your goal is to engage your learners, and nothing can engage them more than curiosity, as curiosity keeps leading people down new paths and creates a thirst for knowledge.
8. Provide a Meaningful Experience
Why meaningful? Because finding meaning in new information helps learners not only connect more easily with it, but also grasp knowledge in an effortless way.
To create a meaningful e-learning experience you need to focus on resonating with your learners’ personal experiences and evoke their emotions.
Adopting a learner-centered approach to your e-learning strategy will help you address diverse needs and backgrounds, and scenarios that explore real life situations will help your learners see how new learning is applicable to them.
In addition, addressing your audience’s emotions is one of the most effective ways to increase their engagement levels; well chosen images, compelling stories, small doses of humor, all these stimulate interest, positive motivation, and emotional connectivity.
Activate your learners’ existing knowledge using both relevant information and their emotions, and offer them a meaningful, engaging e-learning experience.
9. Let Your Learners Explore
Exploring is learning itself.
Your learners’ interest grows when they are allowed to navigate freely through their learning platform and scan the information themselves.
Locked navigation is a cause of frustration – imagine listening to an audio file, missing a key point, and not having the ability to rewind a few seconds to listen to it again. Or wanting to get a general idea about the e-learning course and not being able to click through it unless finishing the whole chapter or module first.
Freeing up the navigation gives your audience freedom and control. It helps them build context, create their own paths, move around, and engage much more with their e-learning experience.
10. Be Proud of the End Result
You may be wondering how being proud can be a strategy, but this effect e-learning strategy ensures that your end product is worthwhile.
When you find yourself proud of something you created, it means that you committed yourself to fight against all forces that could sabotage it. It means that you truly cared about the result. That you paid full attention to every single detail. That you used all the means you had to make it awesome. That you put yourself into your audience’s shoes and you were happy with how they felt.
It is quite simple, really – having a modest response to something you created is a major indicator of mediocrity. On the contrary, if their response is enthusiastic, it means that the possibility that your learners are enjoying using your product, as much as you enjoyed creating it, is really, really high.
If you want to provide your learners with an engaging experience, while scaling your e-learning strategy, speeding up time to delivery, and automating menial tasks, talk to our team about what Docebo can do for you!