January 7th, 2015 E-Learning

devAre you currently creating an online course – or have you in the past? As a course developer (instructional designer), you know the importance of continually improving in your craft.

In general, this means staying on top of industry trends, and understanding learning design theory as it applies to the digital age.

The information around these areas is great, but it can sometimes become full of too much jargon, or delve too deep into the details.

As an instructional designer, you know that there has to be room for creativity. Simply following a “script” is not going to yield the best results because your courses will not be optimized for the audience.

This being the case, consider the items below as suggestions for making your elearning not only effective, but fun.

Make Content Understandable

Some course content is really difficult to grasp. As the elearning developer, it is your job to ensure that key points are conveyed in a way that is understandable, but doesn’t require an extensive industry-specific background.

You can do this by using graphs, charts, and succinct text in your lessons and quizzes.

Make It Entertaining

No one wants to take an elearning course that resembles a PowerPoint presentation. Ultimately, learners will just keep clicking “next” until they reach the end (and that’s clearly not what you want)!

Using case-studies, interactions, hot-spots, quizzes, badges, and points are all great ways to create logical breaks in the content. It also forces the learner to comprehend the material from a different angle.

Multiple Perspectives

Creating online courses is one thing, taking them is another. Spend some time thinking about what you enjoy about a well-done elearning course and see how you can incorporate those elements into your own.

As you build your course, go through the lessons as if you were the learner. Too often instructional designers get stuck in “design mode” and forget to look at the content from another perspective.

Innovate When Possible

It is easy to get stuck in our ways – doing what makes us comfortable. For each elearning course you design, you should incorporate a new component or employ different methodology. The industry is constantly evolving, you owe it to yourself and your eventual learners to implement new innovations where possible.

Sometimes this will work, other times it won’t. Ultimately you won’t know either way unless you keep pushing your comfort levels and try new things.


Justin Ferriman photo

About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter


One response

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Hi Justin, I agree with everything you said, especially the part about “Make It Entertaining”. I have a mix of vimeo videos, articulate engage interactions (I like making those with mulitmedia), and text and screen grab.
I do have 2 questions:
1) How much humor should someone interject? I am doing web app development training, and I do add some humor into mine. I am always afraid it might seem non-professional if I put too much…

2) what do you mean by hot-spots? I am new to the training/LMS world so don’t know everything about it.

Thanks, BTW learndash has been performing great for me. I have created a very extensive course and have partners looking at it right now. Everyone says that “my system” looks impressive. Thanks for making me look good!

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