eLearning Makeover: 7 creative ways to update your eLearning courses

Published: 3rd September 2020

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There’s no denying the power of eLearning courses. Employees increase their retention rate by 25% to 60% when taking eLearning training sessions, while students who take online courses have graduation and retention rates that are 9% to 21% higher. This is compared to students who only take traditional in-person courses.

As effective as eLearning has been proven to be, it can all go to waste if the courses are outdated. It’s not enough that your organisation has had success with eLearning before. If you haven’t touched them in in a while, it’s time for you to update your eLearning content.

Why Update Your eLearning Courses?

eLearning courses are on the cutting edge of education. It is baked into the concept of eLearning that it must always be kept up-to-date to reflect the ever-changing needs of learners, whether they are in commercial, public, or academic fields. Those needs can be broken down to four major issues:

Irrelevant Content

The most obvious reason for updating an eLearning course is when the information it provides is no longer useful. Scientific discoveries, changes in best practice, industrial paradigm shifts, and organisational restructurings can all lead to training content becoming irrelevant.

Businesses looking to stay competitive require refreshing their best practices to meet today’s standards. On top of that, 51% of learning and development pros are focused on helping employees build new skills. Simply sticking with what worked in the past will be what leaves your company outdated within a short span of time.

New Technologies

When eLearning first exploded into the scene to change how people were taught and trained, the technology was confined to desktop workstations and laptops. All of the content was made with those devices in mind. The user experience was strictly for people sitting in front of a relatively big screen, navigating modules with a mouse or touchpad and keyboard with limited internet access.

There are definite advantages to designing engaging, interactive content that improves retention. Millennials comprise today’s workforce, and this generation works on smartphones and tablets that are always online. Your eLearning courses must be optimised for modern technologies, especially when the mobile learning market is set to be worth $37.6 billion this year.

Dated Aesthetic

Although it might not seem like a top priority when it comes to revamping an eLearning content, the way it is presented has the most immediate impact for learners. A course that a young professional can instantly recognise was made years before they even graduated will not hold their attention for long.

There have been great strides made in graphic design to make navigating courses more intuitive since eLearning’s conception. Today’s courses should feel like they’re designed specifically for the modern learner. Those more familiar with social media feeds and touch controls. This is also a good time to get the branding from old courses in line with your company’s current look.

Flash Will Be Phased Out

Back in 2017, Adobe announced that Flash will be phased out by the end of 2020. Many historical eLearning courses were built using this once-ubiquitous browser plugin, meaning you have to update your content and/or convert them to ensure that learners can continue their training. If your modules use Flash, think of this as the perfect opportunity to review and refresh your current content.

You might have one or more of these issues with your eLearning courses. Conducting a training objectives analysis is a must to pinpoint what exactly needs updating in your training programme.

How to Creatively Update eLearning Content

Now that you know why you should update your training materials, it’s time to take action. Here’s what you can do to give your eLearning courses the striking makeover they need.

1. Modernise the Visuals

The biggest impression you can make for updated eLearning content is to bring its visual style into the digital age. Instead of the buttoned-up, impact-heavy corporate PowerPoint aesthetic of the 2000s, your courses should look and feel fresh, clean, and contemporary. Minimalism is the best bet for a stylistic choice.

If you will be using images of real-life work or learning spaces, make sure they are modern. You don’t want to feature people wearing old-fashioned clothes and using big, bulky computers.

2. Integrate Multimedia

Old eLearning courses tend to be straightforward with just text and the occasional image so they don’t engage the learner and encourage participation.

Liven up the courses that you still deem valuable with rich multimedia content. You can add curated pictures, videos, and audio clips to make a course more engaging with materials your learners can relate to.

Make sure sources are attributed properly so you don’t run into any legal issues. There are also websites that offer royalty-free photos you can use to keep your courses from looking monotonous.

3. Create Infographics

Most people find it much easier to absorb information when it is presented in a visual format. Facts and figures can feel overwhelming and hard to connect when they are laid out thoughtlessly. Infographics address both issues in a stimulating and digestible package.

Look over the resources you have in your old eLearning courses. Instead of just regurgitating the same old information, you can work with a designer to repurpose data into infographics that contextualise seemingly disjointed details.

4. Add Microlearning Elements

Another method worth looking into for revitalising old eLearning courses is to break them down into bite-sized chunks.

This is the concept for microlearning, where training sessions are limited to short durations and are hyper-focused on single subjects. It’s perfect for today’s young learners that love to multitask, as training has to compete for their attention. A microlearning repository is much easier for them to dip in and out of to get the knowledge they need.

You can also curate relevant content from trusted online sources for this. Learners can then use such a handy list for whenever they need additional references.

5. Transform Traditional Tests to Interactive Exams

Many early eLearning courses were still built with old-school evaluation methods, such as multiple-choice or true-or-false tests. While such formats still have their place, there are novel ways of measuring how well learners grasp lessons that also engage their critical-thinking skills.

Develop interactive exams that have trainees practice what they learn. Training simulations that mirror what a worker actually has to do day-to-day or branching scenarios that account for special situations push them to apply their knowledge. You can also tap into the power of gamification, where you incorporate the elements of competition and rewarding achievements to motivate learners.

It’s crucial that feedback is immediate and personal so that learners can fix their mistakes and strengthen their weaknesses as soon as possible.

6. Host Live Training Sessions Online

As much as convenience and self-paced learning play a big role in eLearning, there is no discounting the positive effect of having live sessions between learners and instructors. Live training doesn’t have to be done in-person either.

Webinars, video conferences, social media Q&As, and one-on-one webcam sessions can all be integrated into your eLearning courses. Such formats allow for active learner involvement and immediate feedback. To avoid draining time and other resources, you don’t have to make it frequent. Schedule these sessions through a hosting LMS solution, once or twice in advance.

7. Implement Social Learning

Extending the training outside of the typical eLearning module, social learning can be an effective tool to reinforce the lessons taught in your courses. Set up social media pages, online chat groups, and blogs dedicated to your training programme where learners can communicate, contribute, and collaborate.

Link out to these platforms in your courses so learners know where they can congregate and share their thoughts and questions. Ensure the corresponding social media icons are displayed prominently. Some hosted LMS content even have a social aspect built into them to avoid the learner leaving the learning platform or being distracted by social media.

Keep Innovating Your eLearning Courses

The very nature of eLearning is constant innovation. The moment your courses run stagnant is the time to shake things up. This means going beyond a simple content update. Think creatively on how you intend to showcase new information, so your learners will be motivated to engage.

Whether it’s injecting attention-grabbing multimedia or taking the learning process into immersive, interactive spaces, you can count on the expert instructional designers and course production team at Wahoo Learning to assist you in your eLearning innovation endeavour. Book a demo today to see our services.

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The author - lloyd smith

The author - Lloyd Smith

Lloyd is the Managing Director of Wahoo Learning. He has a passion for the learning technology industry, particularly the latest innovations and technologies.

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