Simplicity is a beautiful thing, as the best business ideas are usually just simple solutions to a problem, and the best songs are simple, catchy tunes. The learning process should be no different from this.
Online learning has been designed to easily help students learn new information, yet many LMS’s (learning management systems) and digital courses lack the simplicity required to create an effective e-learning pathway for students.
They should be designed to be easy to use, with content broken down into digestible enough chunks for the learners to retain the information long term. Course creators should have an understanding of their learner’s brain capacity and how they retain information. They should then create and break up the course content accordingly. This all can be summarised with one phrase, “Keep it simple”.
Applying and teaching with simplicity as the foundational structure will allow you to build a course with higher completion rates and engagement overall. When there is too much clutter, or your sections are too large, the learner can get overwhelmed and drop off.
Archy Learning has put together 5 effective (and simple) tips on how to create an effective yet impactful learning course material.
1) Focus on the basics
There is a famous saying that states “good design is as little design as possible”. Now, this can be taken into many different contexts in real life, as simplicity should be paired with a positive and seamless user experience within course design. An educator should not simply gather all of their static slides, and throw it all into an LMS, and expect completion rates to sit at 100%.
In the digital age, eLearners have an expectation of quality, and user-friendliness, that is paired with simple and broken down educational content. When reviewing the content that you will be converting into an online format, following the rule of simplicity and putting yourself into the audience’s shoes is imperative for building a relevant and effective online course.
There is a rule in learning called the I.B.I. Rule.
I.B.I. stands for “interesting, but irrelevant”, so be sure to use this rule as an overarching guide when writing out the content and then uploading it into your LMS. If the content is interesting, yet irrelevant, feel free to put it aside.
2) Understand your audience
When creating anything to sell, teach, or market, understanding your ideal audience is an art that can never be underestimated. Market research must be done to know exactly where they are in the learning pathway and curating content specifically to them. While building the course, keep your audience in mind. While marketing your course, the statement stays the same.
This will allow you to create focused and curated content that will create a positive learning experience and a community of students that will share their satisfaction with their experience and new knowledge.
3) Support text with visuals
Wise men have said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Can you summarise an entire PowerPoint more effectively than by either photos or a quick video to illustrate the point or learning lesson? Try creating eLearning courses with fun infographics and gifs to add moving elements and illustrations, as well as video content to create a fun and dynamic learning experience. This will be able to condense thousands of words into more digestible content that your users are much more likely to enjoy and engage with.
4) Avoid wordiness
There are different ways to structure out text-based learning content into more digestible micro pieces. Studies have shown that fewer words in lessons result in more meaning and retention. So if you aren’t able to create content into video, here are a few advanced tips on how to create “less wordy” content.
Make sure your paragraphs are limited to no more than four sentences each: This will ensure that your key content points are straight to the point and summarised well, allowing your learners to digest the information better, as well as encourage them to keep going.
Teach one concept at a time: Either per lesson or module, infographic or video, ensure that there is one main point being emphasized for your audience. Many different points can overwhelm, and cause higher dropout rates overall.
Reduce Jargon: There are courses available for more advanced learners in particular subjects, but for the majority of content, you want to keep jargon and terminology low. Use simple phrases, or if teaching industry language, make sure the terms are broken down and explained simply and used within the correct context.
5) Use Gamification
It’s no secret that implementing gamification within the learning environment has created dramatic improvements for students. Increased engagement and retention rates are just the beginning of the positive impact that is left when gamifying the learning experience. Archy Learning has partnered with Gamify to not only help reward and encourage your students to not only engage with the content, but they will have fun with it as well!
You can create and brand mini-games to your companies branding, and have your students score points with the mini-games and pop-up quizzes that show up along the learning pathways.
Rewarding your learners and having fun leaderboards to show off high scores will create fun, lighthearted competition and is sure to keep your students coming back for more. The dopamine release of either achieving or accomplishing a lesson in record time, or winning a new level from one of the mini-games, will send positive brain signals that will keep them inspired and continue on willingly down the learning pathway.
There are thousands of eLearning courses available online today, with many different subjects available to study at any time. The most popular and effective ones implement specific strategies to keep the content simple, easy to digest for learners, and have high completion rates. In order to launch your eLearning course and ensure that your students are having a positive learning experience, make sure you implement Archy’s 5 eLearning design tips on simplifying your eLearning course.
Details such as knowing your audience, focusing on the basics, using video content, and gamification are just a few ways to ensure your course is a success. Make sure to check out Archy’s blogs for more “how-to” guides on how to launch your own course. You can find them here. Happy Learning!