Elearning is notorious for having poor retention rates, probably because it is so easy to become distracted and start doing other things. We are trained to have multiple browsers opened at a time as we multitask throughout the day.
While this cannot be totally combated, there are some elements that you can put into your elearning courses to help bolster learning recall – most of which are quite simple.
1. Add FAQs – Surprisingly, many elearning courses (or LMSs for that matter) lack a set of frequently asked questions. This is rather strange since in my experience, people always have questions. When you are testing your LMS or elearning courses on a test group, gather their questions so that you can be proactive in answering them for future users. If they don’t give you any feedback organically that translates to a FAQ, ask them.
2. Leverage Peer Support Networks – Most commonly seen in the form of forums, peer support boards and networking groups are a great way to provide learners with an outlet for questions relating to logistics and the content (helpful for those times when they weren’t paying attention). It may even make sense for you to build in some forum posting requirements into your courses – again, this gets people thinking about the content outside of the elearning module itself.
3. Chat and Help Desk – Sometimes forums and FAQs aren’t enough. In these circumstances, you should have a help desk clearly labelled so people can easily ask their questions. If possible, use a live chat function as it lends itself to convenience and instantaneous response. If you only use a help desk, keep response times to a minimum. You can do this by making support a full-time requirement for someone’s job description.
4. Video Explanations – Text is great, but sometimes people just want to “see” how it is done. In circumstances like this, using video is a great way to demonstrate processes or concepts. Even if it is a short video just providing an example, it can go a long way in elearning retention – but only if done properly.
5. Encourage Face-to-Face Interaction – If the course material is important enough, then you shouldn’t rely upon elearning only to drive home the main points. Supplement your course with live interaction (such as a conference). If in-person conferences are not an option, hold webinars. Taking learning off of the computer (even some components) drives home applicability of the content, and gives it a sometimes much-needed human touch.