Keeping your online learner alert and paying attention in an online course environment can be challenging.
Remember, they are sitting in front of the computer and learning, in most cases by themselves with no interaction with a face to face trainer who will engage the learner with stories, brainstorming exercises, role playing etc.
This is where instructional design plays a vital role in ensuring that the learner is engaged throughout the course.
So, what are some considerations to think about in the eLearning development process to ensure maximum user engagement?
Decide whether it is necessary to add an audio narration at all parts or certain key parts of the course. Should there be narration at the start to introduce the learner to the course and explain the learning outcomes? Should there be a narration at the end of the course to explain the summary? Or should there be narration at key points to highlight the importance of a particular topic or activity?
To break up a particularly heavy topic, is it a good idea to add a Video related to the topic. Is there a live demonstration or an activity performed which can make learning more interesting but also ensures the learner retains the information? Ideally, a video should be no longer than 2 minutes.
Visuals, when executed well, will achieve an outstanding result for both the client and the learner. For the client, a text heavy topic can be reduced to a visual where users can click and reveal, or click on hotspots and information appears. For example, learners are meant to learn parts of a new telephone system. Instead of just showing a visual of the phone and listing the dot points on its features, the phone can come alive If the learner click on the handset there can be an audio sound of a real tune of a handset and then text can appear to explain that component. In this way, learning has suddenly become engaging.
Work with the client to only select relevant course content for the learner. If there is more content, consider creating Modules but do not cram everything in the one course to avoid information overload for the learner.
There are many more considerations when it comes to online learning solutions, but the above are a great start.
The bottom line: create courses where learners are excited about learning in an engaging and interactive way.