July 6th, 2016 E-Learning

instructional-designerNot 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.

Gamification Elements

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!

Media Variety

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.

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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


4 responses

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Justin– how about having the courses more accessible, such as on a mobile app?
You’ve listed a subset of things that make video games or MMORPGs interesting– so is there a plan to have LearnDash be a mobile app for customers like us, instead of merely being responsive.

You guys are the best wordpress LMS– we love it!
Now the question is whether we have to build a separate mobile app to send push notifications (yes, we have Memberium and Infusionsoft for email notifications and text integrations), and a variety of things that only a mobile app can do to provide a rich learning experience.

Hi Dennis-

Thanks! I wonder if you could use something like apppresser.com to speedup the process of bringing your LD content to mobile via an app?

Is Learndash plugin compatible with app presser?

i’ve been using learndash now for about 18 months to deliver learning online and love it. I would love to see it work with something like app presser.

Kind regards,

I believe so since we use Custom Post Types. Their team would be able to elaborate on compatibility.

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