The learner today is a distracted learner. Smartphones, social media, Netflix, online games, all vie for our time. Similarly, for the younger learners, the tv, video games, arcades etc., all compete for their attention.
However, studies have shown that expertise of a discipline requires deep knowledge and understanding. And to become highly skilled in any domain, it can take up to 5,000 hours of deliberate sessions and practice. That’s less than a set of learners that would want to read one tweet a day!
So how can we create a rich and engaging learning experience? How can an online instructor or content owner create engaging learning content that will allow learners to become active participants in online learning?
The following contains ways to create an engaging e-learning content;
Understand the target audience of your online learning content
E-learning content owners should observe and study the characteristic of their target audience. What is the age bracket of the learners? What websites do they often visit? What interests or what engages them? By doing this, you can tailor-make your training content based on what they like.
Adopt interactive and engaging features
If your target market is around 16-30 years old, it’s most likely they are interested in websites such as Twitter, YouTube and online games. Adopting features from these social websites can let you turn a passive tutorial/lecture into an interactive and engaging learning experience. For example, a boring lecture can be spiced up by adopting a video or an online game’s mechanics (graphics, animations, background music, etc.) to turn it into an interactive class. Create learning content supported by interesting videos and sounds by recreating the same viewing pleasure learners feel when they are surfing an online streaming website such as YouTube, for example.
Make the online learning experience exciting
If learners like how they are being tutored, the training method is far more successful. Interests in gaining new knowledge about something make learners study more on their own. Authors, content owners and curriculum designers can create high-quality content and materials because of the e-learning software system applications that help produce efficient and effective educational elements. However, you should not depend solely on these software systems. You should always be creative in providing learning materials that are enjoyable, exciting and engaging just like lesson sessions in real classrooms.
Think of things “addictive”
We all love interesting stories that have drama and a happy ending. Can you derive some insights from stories and use them to make learning more gripping and engaging? Memorable stories have great plot, characters and are also filled with elements such as suspense, frames, irony, and language. You can embed and weave elements of storytelling into your courses to create highly interesting and engaging learning experiences. Think of audio-visual narratives rather than just textbooks, which are often boring.
Take note of prior knowledge
As an educator, author or content owner, you need to first build a prior knowledge for learners through scaffolding strategies. Besides creating and personalizing learning experiences according to the various learning styles, (such as visual, aural, kinesthetic) or the type of intelligence, you have to take into consideration the “prior knowledge” and “existing mental model” of the learner.
If the prior knowledge of something is low and challenge is high, this will lead the learner to worry and cause anxiety and he or she may just give up. On the other hand, if the prior knowledge is high and the challenge is low, the learner will likely be bored. In this case, you need to learn from video gamers who quickly gauge a learner’s prior knowledge of a domain and then figure out the next level of challenge to be posed.
Social and collaborative learning
Social and collaborative learning is another one great way to create engaging e-learning content. Take for instance, creating a platform of knowledge networks for having conversations that can make the learning experience interesting and more engaging. These platforms allow learners to listen and contribute to deepen their own knowledge and understanding.
For e-learning courses and content to be more engaging, it must not just be informative but also exciting for anyone using it. An educator/instructor must always look for more effective ways to teach and engage their students. Being creative with e-learning software application systems, a content owner or educator can easily develop and create better and more engaging e-learning content.