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How to Design Rock Star Online Learning Courses

At some point everyone has to take a training course. New hire training, new technology trainings, new information – the list goes-on. But unfortunately most of the training that exists is extremely boring. And that means fewer people complete the trainings or properly retain the important knowledge therein.

So how do you make your course stand out in a world full of duds? Incorporate some of these tips into your next course to up your training game.

  1. Keep content short: Old school trainings can last from 30 minutes to an hour and contain really dense information that is hard digest. These training formats are usually terrible for participant retention. They pack in lots of information and drown participants in content. Not only is this format boring, it’s also not directly actionable. Minimum interaction is provided, which in turn leads to lower engagement rates. When designing a course, only put in the information you absolutely need. Keeping content short allows the participant to learn material on his or her own time. As a rule of thumb, consider keeping it under 10 minutes.
  2. Build in interactivity: Consider adding in decision support tools that help people make a decision. A behind-the-scenes flow chart that points users in a specific direction could be a great tool. Not only is it a more personal effect, it can be genuinely helpful for the participant. Also, include takeaways. People love having a takeaway of some kind. You can include printable reminders and lesson summaries that are not only fun, but also helpful for knowledge retention.
  3. Narration is not a necessity. Don’t assume you have to use narration or music. If you don’t have a reason to use them, then you probably shouldn’t. For example, any kind of simulation exercise, like demonstrating software, probably doesn’t require a soundtrack. But, if you do choose to use narration, make sure your audio is high quality. Bad audio can cause a participant to zone out and take away from course credibility.
  4. Icons are your friends: Wordy presentations get lost on participants. Only call out main topics of conversations in text form. If a piece of information is vital for participants to remember, graphically illustrate it. Icons are a good way to communicate information that don’t take up a ton of text space on the screen. However, don’t use an icon just because you can; they should have some type of instructional purpose.
  5. Accessibility: Keep 508 Compliance in mind from the beginning of the process. A good training is universal to all. That means every person, no matter what disability they have, should be able to experience the e-learning course to its full capabilities.
  6. Evaluation: Have a plan for knowing whether or not your learning experience was successful. If you define early on what a good job means for you, the easier measuring success will be down the road.

Have other tips? Share them in the comments.

P.S. – Did you know that GovLoop develops innovative learning experiences for government agencies like the Federal Highway Administration, Office of Personnel Management and the Small Business Administration? Learn more about our state of art learning management system and services here.

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