October 24th, 2013 Course Creation

annoyed-elearningElearning is being used more than ever today, but it doesn’t mean that everyone likes it. In fact, there are some people that just flat-out hate it.

Now to be fair, sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you build an elearning course, some people just do not like taking them. However, sometimes the design of the course will dictate the reaction.

For example, despite all the great options available for course development software, for some reason PowerPoint is still a major influence. PowerPoint presentations are rarely exciting on their own, so using it as the sole way to deliver online training is usually not received well.

Besides the overuse of PowerPoint, people generally hate it when your elearning courses are any of the following:

1. Boring – No one wants to hear someone drone on while the PowerPoint slides automatically advance. Most would rather just read a transcript on the topic and be done with it instead.

2. Look Dated – Have you ever had to watch employee training videos that were made in the 1990’s?  If so, then you know how distracting (and irrelevant) an elearning program is perceived as when it looks 10+ years old.

3. Too Distracting – Spare viewers the spinning pictures, laser sound effects, and un-ending clickable regions. It pays to be concise.

4. Jargon Riddled- If your elearning is for a corporate audience, avoid overuse of acronyms, and other annoying business terms like “synergy” and “re-engineering”.

5. Poorly Designed – The foundation of your training is the template. Make sure that it is visually appealing and adheres to the leading design principles.

6. Typo Overloaded – Simply put, typos can instantly kill course credibility.

7. Strange Interactions – Today we can use all kinds of nifty tools to create clickable regions, drag-and-drop images, and so on. Just because you have these available doesn’t mean you should use them all.

8. Slow Loading – Elearning files can be quite large, make sure you have the infrastructure in place to effectively deliver them. No one wants to wait around for a course, graphic, video, or audio to load.

9. Lacking Substance – Sometimes it makes more sense to deliver new training content in the form of a job aid. Don’t stretch out a small amount of content in order to create an hour elearning course.



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About Justin Ferriman

Justin started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide. He is currently founder & CEO of GapScout. Justin's Homepage | GapScout | Twitter


4 responses

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All true.
However, what people hate even more (or at last just as much…), is training and certification bodies who often MANDATE that a “certain number of hours” of content must be consumed.
NOTHING to do with learning – and what does that do….?
It drives “filler” material and linear progression etc.
Until they realise the world has moved on many of us are stuck producing content that adheres to these archaic “teaching” methods.

Justin, unfortunately you are right, too often eLearning is not doing the job it should do. I wouldn’t quibble with your list but I would ask this – whose fault is this? is it the L&D team who can’t produce interesting materials or the management not giving them enough time to do a good job?

Hello Justin,
My name is Sylvia and I am a Roosevelt TRDV student in my last semester of my Masters program in Human Performance Improvement. I found this article very informative and I couldn’t agree more with what you said about outdated material. It just reminds me of some of the poorly scripted employee training videos featuring clothing and hair styles of the early 90’s. Out of all the course development software out there which do you like to work with?

Hello Sylvia-

Thanks for the note. I think my favorite would have to be Articulate Studio – not because of the designing power/capabilities, but because knowledge transfer to a client is pretty painless 🙂

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