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February 4th, 2020 E-Learning

Learning from your learners can help you create a fantastic customized e-learning experience.

In an age of personalized product recommendations and customizable apps, your learners are likely to expect customized e-learning experience when they sign up for your course. What’s more, their expectations are quite reasonable — most people have better learning outcomes when they engage with course content that has been designed to fit their individual needs.

By delivering custom content to learners, you can help them have a more satisfactory course experience by directly addressing the things they value most. In return, your learners will be more inclined to leave positive reviews and ratings on your courses and recommend them to your friends, helping your online course business to succeed.

Ensure that you meet the expectations of your e-learners by following these top five tips.

1. Learn about your learners.

Before you can begin to customize your content to fit your leaners, you have to find out who they are and what they want.

One of the most obvious ways to learn about your learners is to send out a survey. You can use a survey to gather both demographic information — who are your learners and where are they from? — and information about what they want from their online learning experience.

Another option for learning about your learners is to monitor and participate in the online discussion forums associated with your course. Learners are often very honest when interacting with other forum users, whereas they might feel obliged to be kind if you ask them for feedback directly.

This is your chance to find out how your learners are engaging with your course material, identify whether it is clear or they are having trouble understanding it, and which topics have piqued their interest the most. These insights can help you decide which topics to cover in more detail in future course content.

2. Create interactive learning programs.

The best online learning programs equip leaners with the skills they need to respond to real-life situations. To help your learners develop these skills, you need to offer them an interactive learning program, not just an online presentation of course content.

Passively watching videos is unlikely to help anyone develop the right skills to face up to a real life problem. Make your customized online learning programs come alive with learning scenarios that challenge learners to respond to problems and test their knowledge.

You can challenge your learners with quizzes, essay-writing assignments, coding tests, group feedback, and practical tests. Use your imagination to come up with interactive learning experiences that mirror the situations learners are likely to face in the real world.

Don’t be afraid to challenge your learners. Many online course participants become bored when they feel like a course is overly simplistic. Set tasks that challenge your learners to apply the knowledge they have gained in new ways to deepen their understanding of their chosen topic.

3. Let your learners determine their learning paths.

When you are passionate about your subject, it’s natural that you want to share every detail about it. But keep in mind that some of your learners are looking for a more directed learning experience. They might need to develop a particular skill for their job, or fill in a gap in their already extensive knowledge.

Keeping your modules short enables your learners to direct their own learning path. They can choose the modules that most interest them and which most suit their learning needs, without committing to a long course that is not entirely relevant to their interests.

You might think that longer courses deliver more value to learners. In fact, many learners prefer short modules that do not overwhelm them with content. Offer a variety of modules in your chosen topic area so that learners can create a learning path they are excited to travel.

Be sure to make it clear which modules build on other ones. Let learners know upfront what they need to know already to get the most out of a module. When they finish a module, suggest further modules that they can take next to deepen or extend their knowledge.

4. Give direct feedback.

From sending out marketing emails to updating your social media feeds, many aspects of being an e-learning entrepreneur can be automated. However, the one place where most e-learners prefer the personal touch is receiving feedback.

Personal feedback allows e-learners to see how they are progressing in your online course. Getting feedback from a human, not an automated process, reassures more able students that they are doing well and alerts struggling learners to areas where they need to improve. Even though it can be time-consuming, try to personalize your feedback as much as possible. Be specific when suggesting things that each learner can do to improve so they know what their next move should be.

One option is to get learners to give each other feedback as part of the assessment process. As long as you give clear directions to help learners give appropriate feedback, this can be an effective way of customizing the e-learning experience and providing a human touch. However, it relies on your learners being committed, capable and kind, so it is not always the right solution in a new course.

5. Provide content in a variety of formats.

Learners’ preferences in the types of content they like to consume are as varied in their taste in candy. Some people prefer to get their teeth into a long piece of text that explains everything in depth, whereas others prefer bite-sized videos that break down all the important information. Others prefer to snack on podcasts as they walk to work, ride the bus, or wash dishes.

A single learner might choose to engage with several content formats, depending on the topic and what else is going on in their life. By providing content in a variety of formats, you enable your leaners to choose how they can most benefit from consuming it.

Repurposing your content into a different form isn’t as difficult as you might think. You can use a transcription service to turn video or audio content into text, which might be more convenient for your learners who have a slow or limited internet connection, as well as those who absorb difficult concepts better through reading than through listening. Conversely, once you have organized your thoughts in written format, it isn’t too difficult to use that text as the basis for a video script.

Make a resolution to experiment with different formats this year to see if you can get your course satisfaction ratings to soar!

Your learners are individuals and their learning experiences should be too.

The more you can tailor your online learning program to meet the needs and expectations of your learners, the more satisfied they are likely to be. That’s great news for you as an online course creator, as a good reputation among learners is crucial to making your course business a success in the long run.

Customized e-learning experiences challenge, excite, and engage learners, helping to build a community of passionate people to support your online course business. Take a look at your courses today to see how you can make each one more tailored and unique.

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

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