Category Archives: eLearning

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Week 3 – Let Blackboard Work For You – Week of 01/26/15

So far we have been talking about dates, so this week we will continue along those lines. Chances are you already know when you plan to release each module of your course. Chances are you manually go in and release them, why not let Blackboard do the work for you? Did you know that you can set your course up so that modules can automatically release based on date or completion?

The tool used for this is Adaptive Release. It can seem a bit daunting, but is really easy to use. If you want to use it for an entire module, just create a folder for the module and put all of the items for the module within the folder. The items within the folder will only be able to be accessed once the folder itself if accessible.

To use Adaptive Release, click the down arrow to the right of the item’s name. Then choose Adaptive Release. You can then set up the Start and End date, Membership (Groups, or Individual Users), or Grade (Based on completion of another assignment). You can set up as many of these criteria as you like, but make sure that whatever you chose is achievable. For example, if you make it based on Grade, don’t set it based on completion of the Final Exam, when the exam won’t be taken before this item is completed. This is usually the problem people run into when trying to use Adaptive Release.

Once this is set up, students will only be able to view the item once the criteria are met. Personally, I like to set up Adaptive Release for Modules based on the completion of the assignment from the previous module, so those who may want to work ahead in an online class can do so. If you choose Advanced Adaptive Release you can set up several criteria if you chose. I like setting my courses up like this, when possible, so I can spend more time grading and working with students rather than worrying about opening and closing sections. (Although I have talked about setting up folders for Adaptive Release, you can also set up individual items.)

If you ever need to change any of the dates you have set up using Adaptive Release, did you know you can use the Blackboard Calendar to do so, like we talked about in Week 2? You can also use the Date Management Tool from Week 1 to make changes for these next semester as well.

Another benefit of opening sections up as you go, is you can arrange them in reverse order, so the Module you are currently working on is always at the top, and the previous ones are always available below for review purposes.

I hope this information on Adaptive Release is useful to you, and I encourage you to try it at least once. If you run into questions or problems throughout the semester with Blackboard, please take advantage of the COE Helpdesk.

Throughout the semester, the OAA-Instructional Technology Team will be offering Professional Development opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, please visit the COE Professional Development website. To register for any professional development sessions, please use Cornerstone.

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Blackboard Calendar

Week 2 – Course Calendar – Week of 1/19/15

Last week we talked about the Date Management Tool, which seemed fitting at the beginning of the semester. This week we will continue along the lines of dates, as this is the time when most faculty are working to get courses and dates set up for the semester.

In Blackboard, there is a Course Calendar for every course within it, and you can easily look at the calendar for every course you are involved in at once, you can even import these calendars into your Outlook calendar, if you choose. Taking advantage of these calendars can be a great benefit to your students, as they will be able to easily check on their assignments and requirements for all of their courses in one place. When you set up dates for assignments, tests, discussions, journals, announcements, etc., in Blackboard, you are automatically populating the calendar. There are no extra steps required!!

As the semester wears on, inevitably, due dates will change. It can be a pain to go into assignments to change these dates, and this is where the calendar can really be helpful to you. Did you know the calendar has a drag and drop feature? It’s true! If you have an assignment due on one day and it changes, you can simply drag that assignment to the new day and the date will change within the assignment. How easy is that? Need to change something about the assignment? You can do that from the calendar too!

Ok, I’ve made all of these promises, let me give you some more specifics. First of all, in order for this to work, you do need to set up dates in your course. The calendar will show Start, Due, and End dates for anything that is gradable as well as Announcements you create.

To access your calendar, you need to be in Blackboard, but not necessarily in a course. At the top left of any Blackboard page, you will see your name and an arrow pointing down.  If you click on the arrow, you will see several choices, including an icon of a calendar. Click on this icon.

In the light gray section you can choose a daily, weekly or monthly view, the date you want to view, and which Blackboard Course calendar(s) you’d like to view. Each calendar is color coded, and you can change the colors by clicking the dark gray triangle in the bottom right corner of that calendar’s name, if you choose.

The right side shows the calendar. If you want to change the due date or time, you can simply find the item on the calendar and drag it to the new date. If you need to change the time – change to the weekly or daily view to have more control over specific times. You can also double-click the item to make bigger changes. Once you have the calendar item open, you can change the name of the item all together (yes it will change the item in the course as well), and make bigger changes to the date. If you need to make changes to the actual assignment, you will see a link “Edit this . . .” If you click this link, it will take you to the item within the course and out of the calendar.

You can add events to the course calendar, but they will only be added to the calendar. This is not a way to add assignments to your course. One possible suggestion for adding events to your course would be to add your office hours, so they are easily available to your students.

If you would like, you can export your Blackboard Calendars to your Outlook calendar using the link at the bottom of the light gray section. Unfortunately you cannot import your Outlook calendar to Blackboard.

Plan to attend the profession development session “Becoming Date Friendly in Blackboard” on using the Calendar and the Date Management Tool on February 2nd from 2-3 pm in Speight 225. To attend, register today using Cornerstone!

I hope this information about the Blackboard Calendar was useful to you. If you run into questions or problems throughout the semester with Blackboard, please take advantage of the COE Helpdesk.

Throughout the semester, the OAA-Instructional Technology Team will be offering Professional Development opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, please visit the COE Professional Development website. To register for any professional development sessions, please use Cornerstone.

Date_Management

Week 1 – Blackboard Date Management – Week of 01/12/15

It is nice that each semester you can reuse your class from a previous semester and only need to tweak the content and assignments a bit. It is a pain, if you use dates, you need to go through and painstakingly change each one throughout the class. Or is it??

A new tool introduced with the latest version of Blackboard, that ECU is using, is the Date Management Tool. It allows you to have all of the dates in your course change by a number of days that you, the instructor, determines, up to +/- 999 days.

Yes, I can already hear you saying, “But all the dates in the class won’t change exactly the same amount!” I’m sure that is true, but personally I would rather go in and manually change a few dates than have to go in and manually change each and every date, wouldn’t you? But, let’s say you wouldn’t, in the Date Management Tool, you can choose to “List All Dates For Review” and it will allow you to choose specific items and change dates as you see fit, if that works better for you.

Personally, I recommend a combination of the two. A broad sweep of the course getting the dates into at least the right semester, and then “List All Dates For Review” to go in and tweak several dates at once that still need adjusting for holidays, breaks etc.

Another option you have, once you get your dates in the right ball park is to use the calendar itself. It is particularly useful when dates need to be changed individually or on the fly. Next week, we’ll discuss how to use the Blackboard calendar to make your life, and the life of your students easier.

Plan to attend the profession development session “Becoming Date Friendly in Blackboard” on using the Calendar and the Date Management Tool on February 2nd from 2-3 pm in Speight 225. To attend, register today using Cornerstone!

Throughout the semester, the OAA-Instructional Technology Team will be offering Professional Development opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, please visit the COE Professional Development website. We are currently still in the planning process for this semester, so please use this website if you have any specific requests. To register for any professional development sessions, please use Cornerstone.

Store-Swivl3

The Swivl is here.

What is the Swivl?  Swivl is a camera dock with a twist.  Instead of holding your camera still, the Swivl will follow you around the room, tracking you as you move around on stage or in front of an audience.  This device follows the paired mic wherever it goes.  It is compatible with Android and IOS devices.

So who is using it in COE?  Students have begun to use it to record class sessions for edTPA and ISLES.  OAA has been using it to interview faculty and students about Pirate Code innovations.  Why use this instead of a video camera?  It’s ease of set up and video download capabilities.  The device can connect to any Android or IOS device that has the Swivl app.  You place it in the dock, hook up the mic cable, sync the mic, turn on app and you are ready to go.  The Swivl zeros in on the mic and follows it.  You can use it for one speaker or pass the mic for a group.  The quality of the recording ability lets you place it in the middle of a table to record a small group.  If you want to know more or are interested in trying out the Swivl, feel free to contact OAA IT for more information.

 

#ECU_CAEPisComing

15 Facts and Stats That Reveal The Power Of eLearning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 @ 12:45 PM

eLearning statsThere is a lot of talk about how the internet has revolutionized the way companies do business. With eLearning that’s no different. But, without hard data and solid advice, how can training professionals move forward and get ahead of the curve?

Here are some great eLearning facts, figures and statistics that you should take notice of:

  1. Companies are now increasing their use of eLearning regardless of size, but 41.7% of global Fortune 500 Companies used technology during formal learning hours last year. (Elearning! Magazine, May 2013)
  2. With eLearning students have more control over their learning process and can better understand the material, leading to a 60% faster learning curve, compared to instructor-led training. (Facts, Figures and Forces Behind e-Learning – August, 2000)
  3. IBM, after rolling out an eLearning program for managers, found that participants learned nearly five times more material without increasing time spent training. (Article: eLearning Success – measuring the ROI impact and benefits, May 2013)
  4. According to a 2009 study from the Department of Education: “Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.” Students who mix online learning with traditional coursework (i.e. blended learning) do even better. (Internet Time Group Report)
  5. eLearning is good for the environment. Britain’s Open University’s study found that producing and providing eLearning courses consumes an average of 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than conventional face-to-face courses. (Knowledge Direct Web)
  6. Learning Technologies are boosting agility. 35% improvement in time competency, 32% faster roll out of new IT systems, 32% improvement in ability to introduce new products and services, 26% overall cost saving. (Towards Maturity Report, 2012)
  7. Revenue generation per employee is 26% higher for companies who employ training and development best practices through eLearning. (The Business Impact of Next-Generation eLearning, 2011)
  8. Reduced learning times – Brandon-Hall, reported that eLearning typically requires from 40% to 60% less employee time than the same material delivered in a traditional classroom setting.
  9. eLearning can help companies boost productivity by 50%. Every $1 spent in eLearning results in $30 of productivity. (The Value of Training- IBM Report)
  10. The Research Institute of America found that the eLearning experience increases the retention rate 25-60%! This is due to the student having control over the learning process as well as providing them with an opportunity to revisit the training as needed, which is ideal for infrequent users. ( e-Learning – A Strategy for Maximizing Human Capital in the Knowledge Economy)
  11. Several software companies recently found that by using eLearning to give their sales force information on eLearning (as opposed to the traditional approach of instruction), they were able to cut six weeks off the time it took to get their products marketed.
  12. According to most recent data published by CertifyMe.net on the state of eLearning in corporate education: 72% of organizations interviewed believe that eLearning is providing them with the competitive advantage by continuing to keep them on top of changes in their particular market.
  13. Companies plan to invest nearly 240% more into elearning in 2013. This was a similar pattern found in the previous year’s report, and the data is backing it up as a reported $1.46 million was spent in 2011 compared to the $3.5 million spent in 2012. (Elearning! Magazine, May 2013)
  14. Organizations with strong learning culture significantly outperform their peers. 46% more likely to be first to market, 37% greater employee productivity, 34% better response to customer needs, 26% greater ability to deliver “quality products”, 58% more prepared to meet future demand, 17% more likely to be market share leader. (Bersin & Associates, 2012)
  15. Companies that use online learning technology achieve an 18% boost in employee engagement. This way, as you increase job satisfaction and engagement among your employees, the overall health of your organization also improves. (Article: 3 Reasons to Implement eLearning in Your Organization, 2013)

Key Takeaways:

The internet is where all businesses have to be. If you want to stay afloat, you need to get online. As these statistics reflect, implementing an effective eLearning initiative can be an invaluable tool in generating greater business performance and learning outcomes for your organization.

Which of these 15 statistics is most shocking to you? If you like some of these stats, please share them!

10 eLearning Commandments

The Ten eLearning Commandments [Infographic]

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 @ 01:18 PM

eLearning CommandmentsIn order to lay some ground rules for creating successful eLearning programs, we have put together 10 commandments for you to follow.

Similar to having a mission statement or defined company goals, your eLearning development should rely on these ten pillars of success:

1. Thou shall start with good beginnings.

Begin with a bait, an offer, or an honest introduction as if you are meeting someone for the first time. If your opening lines are good, learners will happily read your introductory material. The best eLearning courses are stories disguised in chunks and bits of educational data. And all good stories have good beginnings. Read your course’s introductory material again and again. If it sounds like the starting signal for an Olympic mouse clicking event, then you’re probably doing the right thing.

2. Thou shalt love thy learner as thyself.

Learning happens when the learner begins to acquire knowledge or skill. The spotlight, without a doubt, belongs to the learner. Learn as much as you can about your learners — what their needs, roles, dreams and abilities are — and build a course based on your findings.

3. Thou shalt respect your audience.

A relationship built on respect is guaranteed to last a long time. You can show respect for the learner in different ways. Start by respecting the learner’s intelligence, by responding to his/her mental needs. Design every part of your course with their needs in mind. They’ll show their appreciation by finishing your eLearning course.

4. Thou shalt keep it conversational.

Your tone of voice matters a lot. Learners may not see their instructors face-to-face but that doesn’t mean they won’t notice your approach. Keep your tone conversational by using the first or second person. This opens up learning environment to one that is interactive. Get rid of jargon and don’t be overly formal or condescending.

5. Thou shalt avoid eye candy.

Learning is mostly visual but too much graphics does not aid instruction. It’s a distraction that prevents learners from focusing their attention on the material. This is not an uncommon bad practice among eLearning designers. Many add images to simply fill slots on pages of text.

Designing for eLearning is a practice of restraint and balance. Aim for useful design, not decoration. Give learners enough room to breath by using white space.

6. Thou shalt show, not tell.

“Show, don’t tell” is a simple yet elegant piece of advice given to writers and artists. eLearning course developers should take heed of this too by allowing learners to experience the course through action. This means one thing: less conversation and exposition, and more action. Instead of asking them to read paragraphs after paragraphs of raw facts, think of interesting and creative ways to impart information

7. Thou shalt not abuse interactivity.

The medium encourages interactions but using them excessively is actually counterproductive. Overusing interactions reduces the effectiveness of the course. In fact, many studies revealed that more is NOT always better when it comes to interactivity in eLearning courses.

8. Thou shalt use small learning units.

Today’s learners struggle with information overload. Bombard them with large data and they’ll feel overwhelmed. They’ll either retain scraps of information or learn nothing. Dividing information into chunks is ideal. Organize your content around digestible, bite-sized piece of information. Prioritize need-to-know and place nice-to-know information in your resources section, if needed.

9. Thou shall not steal control from the learner.

Treat learners as king or queen. They’re not prisoners. Adult learners, after all, sign up for eLearning courses so that they can learn at self-directed pace. Allow them to maneuver your material. Don’t force on them what you think is good for them.

10. Thou shalt focus on activity, not screens.

Information is not evil but it doesn’t belong in a sardine can. Focus on screens and you’re in for a learning disaster.

Note: See the infographic bigger click here.

30 Incredibly Useful Tools and Resources for eLearning Professionals

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Jun 06, 2013 @ 02:04 PM

eLearning tools There are thousands of free eLearning tools and resources available out there. So, to make life easier for you, we’ve collected a list of 30 free resources. We believe all eLearning professionals, especially those on a budget, should know of these tools and resources since they are quite common.

Take a close look at each one and consider the possible uses in your eLearning projects:

Free Stock Images:

When you need images for eLearning, you want to make sure the photos you use aren’t violating copyright law. Certainly, buying one every time you need can get expensive. So, here are five places to find FREE images:

1. SXC.hu: Definitely one of the most popular free photo sites. The photographers establish the terms, so read the conditions, but most pictures can be reused immediately.

2. eLearningArt: Find royalty free stock photography for eLearning courses.The site has some nice, free, downloadable useful images.

3. Stockvault: Stock Vault offers a lot of free images. Just make sure to read license agreements.

4. MorgueFile.com: Offers stock photographs in high resolution digital. With over 55,000 images, divided into several categories

Bonus: If you don’t want to see the same characters in many eLearning examples, check out eLearning Stock. This site provides the first comprehensive stock media site focused exclusively on the training industry. Images vary from $1-$5 based on size.

Also check this list curated by Connie Malamad. It includes a very complete collection of all paid stock photos and illustrations sites.

Free Color Tools:

When creating eLearning, how do you determine the overall color scheme? Take the guesswork out of design with this FREE Color Palette Generators:

5. COLOURLovers: There are loads of pre-made color palettes you can choose from.

6. Color Wizard: This easy to use color picker is quick and simple, and always seems to produce the perfect combo! You can submit a base color and it generates color schemes based on your color’s complementary color.

Free Graphics:

If you are looking for free vector art for your eLearning projects you can check out these sites:

7. Vecteezy: There are tons of wallpapers, icons, and vector graphics to use for your site.

8. Iconfinder: Browse icons of all types.

9. Vector Art: Vector Art StockImages for free under the creative commons license.

Free Image Creation and Editing:

If you don’t have the resources to hire a graphic designer or create high-quality images, don’t worry, here are some free tools to help you create and edit images:

10. Skitch: From the creators of Evernote comes this simple screenshot tool. Easily grab screen shots of your screen, and boost them text, shapes, and objects.

11. Sumopaint: Its a powerful graphics editor. All the basic features of Photoshop have been adopted and made easy-to-use by this free web-based photo editing app.

12. Picozu: If you’re looking for a nice tool for to create images for your eLearning courses, Picozu is worth giving a good look. Its a free online image editing tool. You can touch-up existing images or you can create new images from scratch.

Free ebooks:

13. The eLearning Guild’s Handbook of e-Learning Strategy: This e-Book will help you make a broad, fundamental connection between learning, e-Learning, and your organization’s mission, business objectives, and the bottom line.

14. Kineo’s first compilation of tips since 2005 through 2013: This anthology contains over 75 short articles focused on practical things you can do to design eLearning programs that make a difference. For the moment, you can just download part I.

15. 701 eLearning Tips from the Masie Center: This is a collection of 141 pages and 14 chapters, covering the main eLearning tips from all times. These tips are from senior managers and training professionals from major companies around the world. Specially take a look (and print) page 139, which has Elliot Massie’s Personal eLearning Tips.

16. The 9 Secrets of Effective eLearning Courses: is a eBook filled with the action items you can implement today to make your eLearning courses more successful. This is a must read for every eLearning professional looking to take their courses to the next level.

Blogs and sites:

17. eLearning Industry: The Leading eLearning Portal for professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Find all the latest trends, articles and news.

18. Cammy Bean’s Learning Visions: Her blog has links to many useful instructional design resources, as well as information for those just getting started on the road to an instructional design degree.

19. Alltop: A great place to keep up with the latest stories from the top eLearning news, websites and blogs. If you love collecting interesting content as much as we do, you’ll love it too.

20. Bozarthzone: Dr. Jane Bozarth specializes in learning and development, workforce learning, and social media. This blog contains ideas for creating and outsourcing inexpensive eLearning solutions, along with general thoughts about the training and development.

21. The eLearning Coach: For tips and reviews for success with online and mobile learning check out Connie Malamed’s blog.

22. Cathy Moore’s Let’s save the world from boring e-learning: Cathy Moore is a recognized elearning and training expert. he tagline on your blog is, “Let’s save the world from boring e-learning!” … a must-read!

Magazines:

23. Trainingmag.com: is a 48-year-old professional development magazine that advocates training and workforce development as a business tool. The magazine delves into management issues such as leadership and succession planning, HR issues such as recruitment and retention, and training.

24. Learning Solutions Magazine: It’s a publication of The eLearning Guild since 2002, and is the industry’s oldest and most trusted source for practical information on the strategies, tools, technologies, services, and best practices for the management, design, development, and implementation of enterprise-wide learning programs. Provides hands-on information about techniques, and practical advice about learning technologies.

Other Free Resources:

25. Free Kit: Creating eLearning That Makes a Difference: In this kit, Ethan Edwards covers the concept of instructional interactivity, and demonstrates how it can transform the learning experience for learners working independently through an e-learning program.

26. Kineo’s free eLearning Reports: These are designed to provide you with the practical support you need to improve performance through eLearning. These free reports bring you quickly up to date with key trends. Browse them here.

27. eLearning Survival Guide: Everything you need to succeed in the wild world of mobile learning and eLearning.

28. The Compact Instructional Design Review Checklist: At this article you will find 12 Free Instructional Design and eLearning Review Checklists!

Inspiration:

29. TED: If you’re a designer, there are other 15 recommended TED Talks that will definitely inspire you.

30. Best eLearning Presentations: This is a collection of the presentations posted at SlideShare.net. They focus on eLearning.

Now, be sure to let us know your favorites (or if we missed one) in the comments!

10 Careless Mistakes That Will Totally Ruin Your eLearning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 @ 12:21 PM

careless mistakes1It’s part of your job as an eLearning course developer to polish up your material before you hit publish. A single error speaks volumes. It tells learners you’re in a hurry to even check the course or think you don’t care enough about details. Worse, it may substantially delay or prevent them from completing on time. Don’t let careless mistakes muck up your eLearning courses.

Here are 10 careless mistakes we’ve seen eLearning professionals make that have the potential to totally mess with the effectiveness of your courses:

1) Wrong or misplaced links.

They may either be in the wrong place or nowhere to be found. Links are important extensions of your course content. They point to additional resources or further explain a subject. Double check them by clicking and verifying each link. Make them clear, specific, brief and accurately labeled.

2) Lack of clear instructions.

Vague instructions for quizzes, tests and games confuse learners. This is especially important in highly interactive tasks (think drag-and-drop games) and situations where they need to interact with content on-screen. Instead of completing activities to help students check their progress, unclear instructions can frustrate them and may even discourage them from continuing the course.

3) Copyright and usage.

The Internet is the best place to scour for educational images and other materials. But it isn’t a free-for-all place. When you use an image or data, make sure you’re not violating copyright laws. Check if it’s free for educational or commercial purposes. Google Search and other image sharing services such as Flickr usually makes it clear if the image is free to use. If you’re using Google, click on the Advanced Image Search and choose “free to share or use, even commercially” in the “usage rights” box. Flickr also has an Advanced Search feature that lets you filter images by usage rights.

This doesn’t just go for images. Some research companies may offer data and statistics for a fee. Avoid getting penalized by making sure that you’re legally allowed to use a material for your specific purpose.

4) Grammar and spelling errors.

eLearning course developers are expected to master grammar and spelling. This is the most evident way of showing learners that you’re dead serious about grammar and spelling. Remember, fluency in both spoken and written language is an essential skill for learners. What’s more, errors can hurt your credibility. You may lose learners as a result. Be sure to check your material for spelling and grammar mistakes.

5) Erroneous and unformatted screen titles.

Group screen titles when checking and editing them. You can easily do this by looking at the course menu, where all titles are listed. Are your titles logically organized? Are they written consistently or based on your style guide? Also, don’t forget to fix the format of your titles and subtitles. You can keep them in bold, italics or underlined formats.

6) Videos or media not working.

Many students rely on videos and interactive content. Why not? They’re much more efficient in packing a ton of content in as little as five minutes. The problem is, videos are prone to glitches. They play but are unable to sync accurately with the audio. Or they sometimes don’t play at all. Make sure your videos are working properly by reviewing your course just before opening it for students.

7) Incorrect labeling of graphics,charts, and diagrams.

These visual tools help simplify and organize content-heavy courses. Labeled incorrectly, they can misinform or confuse learners. Take a look at each name or number and edit them separately to make sure they are correct.

8) Illegible typography

This one might seem obvious, but it’s definitely not. Great typography is a huge part of a user-friendly experience; and if yours isn’t set correctly, you’re going to be losing learners’ attention quickly.

9) Confusing navigation buttons.

Navigation is one of those things you must get right. Create a course that has a friendly direction, that includes the intuitive navigation people look for, and that’s immediately clear to the learner what to do next. Try to keep every button simple.

10) Slow loading media.

Nothing frustrates people more than waiting for an image of video to load more than five minutes. You definitely want to deliver the course’s content to them as quickly as possible. So, start by getting to know your users, specially if they have slow connections or older hardware. Then, be sure to optimize all of your media so that it loads quickly.

Our tip: Set up a checklist and make sure each of the points are covered!

So next time you create an eLearning course, check it over for these errors. It should be error free. Here’s a formula: polish and perfect it before hitting publish.

What are some other things that people do that kill eLearning courses? And how can they be avoided?

eLearning visual design course

 

5 Tips for Beating Boring eLearning

Posted by karla gutierrez on Tue, Aug 07, 2012 @ 10:15 AM

The promise of eLearning for many students is the chance to engage in a “classroom” like never before. Every seat is in the front and the dynamic eLearning space has the potential for some of the most engaging curriculum and learning experiences students have ever experienced. So why are many eLearning environments so boring?

beating boring elearning

Among the key success factors for eLearning include making sure it does not become boring, tired and predictable. Employees can already find that in the traditional training sessions. eLearning has to be something more to stave off boredom and keep learners engaged. Merely presenting content is not enough to create an effective learning experience. In this post, we’ll look at what you should avoid and do to beat boring eLearning.

It’s a fact that many elearning courses experience the same mistakes. They overload learners with too much information, they are too passive, not involving or challenging the learners. Beating these common mistakes is not difficult at all, actually you’ll save development time and probably get better results as well.

While you can’t make a person learn, you can create an environment that is more contributive to learning. You do this by crushing demotivational factors. Your job as an eLearning professional is to figure out how to engage your learners and react according to that.

#1: Move away from the practice of taking traditional curriculum and moving it online

better eLearningThe first and most important of the key success factors for eLearning is to move away from the practice of taking traditional curriculum and moving it online. What works well in person and in traditional classroom situations does not translate to the eLearning environment. Take the Power Point, for example. In traditional training sessions, instructors can stop and discuss each slide more deeply, answer questions and encourage discussion. In the eLearning environment, the Power Point becomes a boring slide show that employees simply click through as quickly as possible or only refer to when completing the assignment.

#2: Use the full power of the Internet to fuel coursework

Another way to beat boring eLearning is to use the full power of the Internet to fuel coursework. Many eLearning courses already utilize the somewhat outdated online tools of discussion boards or rollover. But the digital environment has changed dramatically in recent years. Audio and video make a good first step but eLearning can go farther with game technology, simulations or even digital avatars representing the learner. The Internet and other learning innovations make these kinds of engaging learning scenarios possible in today’s eLearning classroom.

#3: Avoid passive learning

elearning Key success factors for eLearning involve much more than just using digital technology. Any passive learning whether it is in traditional training or through eLearning is boring. The majorities of students check out of that kind of classroom and retain information just long enough to pass a test. It won’t be a learning experience the learner hangs on to.

Instead, the most effective instruction actively engages the learner in meaning making. The learner or community of learners should work together to construct knowledge with the guidance of an instructor. You can gradually provide the information they need through coaching along the way. This definitely helps shift the focus from only reading to participating.This kind of learning brings the student into the process and helps the learner internalize and retain the new information more effectively.

#4: Make it visual!

Think visually. Avoiding text completely is not an effective practice, however, you can replace text overload through diagrams, infographics, powerful images that communicate, and videos for example.

It’s as important to motivate learners as it is to present content to them. Presenting content in a visual way definitely beats the constant lack of motivation learners feel.

#5: Keep formality away

Too much formality can bore learners very fast. This doesn’t mean you will be unprofessional, you can just write in a conversational and casual way. You can choose a friendly and informal tone, however transmitting content professionally. Not only write to inform, but also engage and challenge your learners constantly.

Remember: Adult learners need to be engaged if they are to learn something…

eLearning has the potential to create a new, dynamic and engaging learning environment, far beyond the boring, passive eLearning models of old. The key success factors for eLearning recognize this opportunity to change eLearning into the exciting learning experience it can be!