Online training is quickly taking over the corporate world. The global e-learning market was valued at 64.4 billion USD in 2019, with a projected 9.16% CAGR by 2025. This was before COVID-19 forced people to start working from home and communicate almost exclusively through the Internet. In the new normal, online training or a blended approach will become the standard.
With more learners than ever now dependent on e-learning , it’s up to course creators to make modules as engaging as possible to ensure their effectiveness. Each industry has its own requirements for corporate training, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a course. However, there are key guidelines you should follow.
1. Provide learning objectives
Your number one priority when creating a training course is to establish clear learning objectives. From the top-level goal of learning a particular skill down to the individual lessons that make up the entire course, it always has to be apparent to the learner what exactly they are going to achieve when taking a course. The last thing you want for a learner to do is to ask themselves “what am I even training for?”
Straightforward course titles remove any ambiguity as to what learners will get out of them. Each section of a training course should test learners’ understanding against the learning objectives for that particular portion.
2. Intuitive interfaces and navigation
When it comes to designing a User Interface (UI), Google Product Director Luke Wroblewski said it best, “Obvious always wins”.
This principle also applies to the creation of training courses that you want learners to engage with. It’s also important to remember that even with technology becoming increasingly prevalent in workspaces, there are still employees that are not tech-savvy.
Stick to simple graphic designs and layouts. Being overly stylish scores no points. Buttons should have consistent functions. If you want a green, arrow-shaped button that is labelled “Next” to go to the next page of a module, it has to do that and only that instead of also taking the user to the next module.
3. Make it readable
Whether it’s soaking up educational information or simply navigating the interface, learners could be doing a lot of reading when taking an online training course. As such, you need to make the act of reading the course materials as smooth as possible. It’s difficult enough to learn a skill; having to put in the extra effort just to read text is an unnecessary obstacle. In fact, an MIT study showed that the quality of typography actually affects mood and performance.
Choose basic fonts for introducing and explaining fundamental concepts. Consider the size of the text and how much you are putting in a paragraph. If you feel the need to highlight a specific point, it’s okay to change the style for that one line to draw the reader’s attention.
4. Eye-catching design
Intuitive and readable does not mean that your design should be completely bare-bones and boring. Capturing the attention of learners requires balancing coherence and clarity with striking visual elements.
Pair your text with relevant images, graphics or videos as they help communicate new ideas more succinctly. Make sure the right words and visual aids are placed next to each other for clarity.
You should also be careful to not go overboard when adding multimedia in your training courses. Every item you include should serve a purpose that isn’t already being fulfilled by another item. Avoid clutter and redundancy.
5. Responsive design
In these times of uncertainty, flexibility is integral to work practices now more than ever. Employees are not just expected to do all their work on one device. They carry it with them on their always-online smartphones and tablets. Online training should then also translate properly to mobile screens.
97% of mobile app users cite ease-of-use as the most important element. Your training courses must be easily navigable and compatible with a range of devices. If employees want to set their own learning management schedule, they need to be able to access courses on demand.
6. Good intro and title screen
Intros and title screens play a crucial role in grabbing learners’ attention and pushing them to start courses with a motivated mindset. Take the time and effort to craft powerful beginnings for your courses.
For titles, you can state how the learner will benefit from taking a course, such as “Tips to Streamline Your Spreadsheets”.
For intros, provoking an emotional reaction makes for strong first impressions that can springboard the learning process. Stirring stories in text or visual format make the educational topic relatable.
7. Know learners’ pain points
Corporate training courses aren’t just created and taken for the sake of learning. They need to address a particular problem. For many employees, training is done to fill skill and performance gaps.
Identify issues that your target audience might have and come up with questions that they will probably ask about. Better yet, if possible, ask them directly. Consider the formats that they would be more interested in engaging with to deal with their issues.
Understanding learners’ pain points is a process that doesn’t stop after you’ve made training courses. Ask for feedback to find out if they are satisfied with your offerings.
8. Use different types of content
Keeping learners engaged in your online training content will be challenging if all they are doing is reading text. To avoid boring learners and making them abandon training midway through a course, vary the type of content you present.
Use a mix of photos, videos, audio clips, and infographics. E-learning can be just as immersive as in-person classroom settings if you engage learners’ different senses. Such content also reduces time spent in training, as learners can more quickly digest information.
9. Use multiple learning channels
It’s not just the type of content that you should consider diversifying. Take full advantage of e-learning as a digital platform and use multiple channels to deliver educational materials.
Implement a gamification model that compels learners to take courses and compete with one another. Come up with scenarios that allow for independent problem-solving instead of just demanding textbook answers.
Having social functions like sharing and commenting or hosting live online teaching sessions can make the process more fun and compelling. Host a message board where learners can discuss lessons and advance their learning through sharing knowledge.
10. Have periodic assessments
It should go without saying that tests are vital to proving the effectiveness of training courses production. However, you shouldn’t just be giving tests at the very end of a course. Put them in between every section of a module to reinforce every lesson is important to understanding a whole concept.
You can have practice activities that don’t directly affect a learner’s final performance rating. These let them make mistakes and learn without stress before taking on actual tests.
When creating tests, draw up problems that force learners to use their critical-thinking skills instead of just memorising facts, figures, and formulas.
Instructions and performance expectations have to be communicated concisely so that learners can accomplish tasks with confidence. Data from evaluations will be of little use if you find out the learners couldn’t even follow the instructions properly. Learners will also be frustrated if the results don’t align with their idea of the assessment criteria.
Create Quality Training Courses
A highly informative training course will not be effective if it isn’t engaging enough for learners to want to complete it.
Visual design is a deciding factor, and there must be a balance of aesthetics and legibility. A variety of content and channels to foster discussion is necessary to keep the learning journey fresh and exciting. Above all else, learners should be given clear directions throughout their time on a training course to enable honest performance appraisals.
Wahoo Learning can help you achieve all your course-creation goals with our expert e-learning instructional designers and course production team. Together, we can produce innovative and effective learning content structured in comprehensive, customised courses based on the wealth of knowledge and training materials you have.