Not every elearning course that you take is going to hold your attention. If the content is boring or delivered poorly then your mind will wander.
It certainly does not help that we often take these courses using our personal laptops or mobile device which means the internet (and our email) are only one click away.
This “battle for attention” has been a constant struggle for instructional designers as they create their courses. It is particularly of concern for elearning designed for continuing education and certification.
While there is not a full-proof way to keep learner attention, there are some strategies to help foster learner engagement.
The more engaged the learner is with your content the more likely they will stick to the course and not succumb to other distractions.
In theory 😉 .
Here are five ways elearning developers combat learner distraction in their courses:
Set Clear Expectations
Your learners want to know “what’s in it for them”. Make this abundantly clear from the beginning of the course. Outline what it is they will learn and (more importantly) why it is important.
Keep It Concise
While instructor-led courses afford you the opportunity to provide detailed explanations and multiple examples, elearning does not have that luxury. The more drawn-out the explanation the harder it is to keep the learner’s attention. Deliver your content in bite-size chunks instead of all at once.
When possible include some gamification into the course. This can be as simple as badges and points for completing certain tasks or for making progress.
Inserting quizzes between lessons and at the end of sections is a proven way to help a learner maintain their focus. Your quizzes don’t need to include many questions. Sometimes just one or two are enough. Make sure to use multiple question formats!
Try not to rely on only one form media. Incorporate videos, audio, graphics, charts, and bullet points through your course. The variety can go a long way in keeping learners interested.