Mix It Up: 3 Ways to Keep Your Learners Interested

Engaging Instructional Design

eLearning is a great way to provide a wide range of content that people can conveniently access online whenever they have free time to do so. Unlike face-to-face courses, eLearning requires special attention when it comes to designing courses that effectively keep participants engaged. If your program doesn’t give them what they need or is boring, you risk losing their interest and their ongoing business. To ensure that you don’t put your users to sleep, consider the following tips on how to keep your online learning interesting.

1. Content

Keep content relevant. There’s nothing more boring than adding fluff or information that isn’t important. If you’re in need of information to be used as a supplement or extension of your main content, think outside of the box and be creative. Add case studies, real-world scenarios and stories to add interest to textbook content. Giving specific examples of course concepts can help participants learn by seeing firsthand how the information can be applied. In turn, they may also be able to relate the content to their own personal experiences. They will take ownership of their learning, which will better motivate them and keep them engaged throughout their online course.

2. Graphics

It’s easy to find resources that offer huge selections of graphics. From cartoons and illustrations to photos and charts to videos and animations, it can be tempting to want to add cutesy stuff to break up online course content. But just like your content should be relevant, so should your graphics be meaningful. When carefully selected or created, the proper use of images can provide visuals that make complex or difficult topics easier to understand. Use graphics to emphasis or draw attention to key points that you want your participants to remember. You can also use graphics, such as pie charts, graphs and tables to organize information so it’s easier to comprehend at a glance. Use photos sparingly and only if they are directly tied to what you are teaching.

3. Interactives

Interactive content adds interest to learning and makes otherwise boring content more fun. Interactive content is like hands-on learning. Many people learn better by actually doing what they learn rather than just being told what they need to learn. In fact, participatory learning has been shown to be more effective than traditional ways of learning. Ideally, a combination of both approaches should be used for the best learning outcomes. Implementing an interactive approach to some of your eLearning content can be as simple as providing a short quiz that offers immediate feedback either after each question or at the end of the finished quiz. This keeps participants alert, offers them a bit of a challenge and let’s them check what they’ve learned so far. If they expect to be quizzed, they will also pay better attention. Other ways to keep participants engaged is by provide interactive ways that they can interact with one another. Try simple interactives like text chats, audio chats, video chats or discussion boards or the more complex interactives such as games or interactive assessments.

Relevant content is one of the most important factors related to the success of an online program. It presents the meat of whatever it is you are trying to teach your participants. However, more often than not, content alone isn’t enough to keep your users alert. It’s also important to incorporate carefully selected graphics that are relevant and directly support your content in way that it enhances learning. Similarly, the addition of interactive content in the form of quizzes, games or chat sessions adds a fun factor to the mix, especially to content that may be otherwise boring. A combination of good content, graphics and interactives is a great way to keep your learners actively involved and more open to continued learning.