How to Take your Online Learning from Boring to Engaging
All too often, eLearning is like baseball – it’s too long, too slow and too boring, and it’s given eLearning a bad reputation for years. In this time of an accelerated transition to online learning, it’s not as simple as taking your on-site learning materials and putting them online. And, like it or not, your learners are starting to demand higher levels of quality and engagement throughout the eLearning experience.
With that in mind, let’s explore how you can go from playing at a youth league, college or minor league level to developing a major league course and innovating on some of the rules of the eLearning game.
Leveraging the Power of Video in eLearning
What level are you playing at right now? Are you effectively using videos, or is your course riddled with long text passages? Great courses should highlight the instructor on camera to increase the personal connection to the learners, but not just present long webinar recordings from the back of the room during a live session.
And, if you wouldn’t want to sit and watch a PowerPoint with a voiceover, then why would your learners be engaged by that format? Content should be created specifically for the online course and, whether you learn to edit or enlist the help of professional editors, your videos should have some level of editing to increase engagement.
Trimming the Fat
Let’s move on to the length of online courses. In 2020, Major League Baseball actually started beginning extra innings with a runner on second base in an attempt to shorten games. The simple answer to the question of appropriate course length is, “It depends.” The learning objectives of the course, the amount of content and the learner profile are all key considerations.
You can’t teach advanced physics in an hour, but you should always try to make the course as lean as possible and consider breaking the course up into multiple courses for lengthy subject matter.
There is, however, extensive research on the length of the videos within your course. Recent studies show that videos between two and six minutes are the sweet spot for most learners, and, even with the most engaging content, you should never go beyond 12 minutes in a single video.
Picking Up the Pace
Finally, let’s take a look at the pace of online courses. In 2017, Major League Baseball started enforcing limits on the amount of time between pitches to speed up the rate of play. What steps are you taking to keep a brisk pace with your online courses?
As we mentioned above, shorter videos are a great place to start. Another best practice is to change it up with different activities and interactive experiences between videos, keeping the learner guessing instead of just offering a long video playlist or the exact same components in each lesson.
Today’s learners are different. They’re used to being engaged with content – from Netflix and phone apps to quality multi-media experiences.
While providing this level of engagement is not yet the norm, just like baseball, the time to evolve is now – and the hardware and software to do so are more affordable and easier to use than ever. Even enlisting the help of a professional third party to build courses with you is more affordable than you might think.
So, do your learners a huge favor, and stop building boring courses. A little extra effort will go a long way toward bringing the level of your courses up to the big leagues.