The key to applying these principles is to remember that people like self-directed, well-organized content that is relevant and applicable to them right now. With that in mind, here are some strategies for conveying content in a more engaging and learn-able way:
1. Stick to focused objectives to avoid knowledge dumping onto the learner. No one wants to read tons of irrelevant information; it's dry, boring, and inhibits the learner from actually learning what they want to learn.
Less is More
Rather, laser-focus on your objectives and tie these to the desired performance outcomes of the course. Guarantee that your learner will reach these outcomes. Lots of online "learning" simply pours unstructured information onto people which is part of why it's so ineffective and terrible.
2. Incorporate innovative instructional design. The sky is the limit now when creating unique and effective virtual experiences. Let your creativity shine through to develop teachings that aren't just someone talking on and on in a video lecture. Explore design outside the industry and collaborate with other designers to see what's possible.
3. Categorize content in the lessons. In this realm, online learning has a strong advantage over offline learning. The digital realm is naturally fit for flexibly sorting information in alternative ways for easier reference later. This means categorizing based on themes, topics, skills, or any other potentially useful categories for your learner.
Categorization is also crucial for developing the course behind the scenes. Your learning program can be categorized based on facts, knowledge, techniques, practices, processes, and procedures. If you know these categories and use them to dissect your content, you can pinpoint the right activity for each component.
Deliver content organized by task. It's easier for learners to place information into a useful real world context.
4. Activities should make content meaningful right now. This is especially important for adult learners. They want to know why and how lessons are impactful for them right now in their job, their development, or whatever else they're doing. If you get someone to apply what they're learning to their real life, you promote engagement and the learning sticks.
5. Appeal to a variety of learning styles. Learning styles are a topic for debate. But, there's no denying that people like variety: auditory, visual, and hands-on, reflective. Just because learning is moving online doesn't mean people's need for variety changes. Rather, virtual learning has the opportunity to provide variety. Content that offers something to read, listen, or try something appeals to these variations. Rotating through these varieties in your online learning content help keep the teaching engaging and not monotonous.
6. Use high-quality visuals. Yes, we're all spoiled when it comes to visuals. We want clean, clear, crisp, and distraction-free visuals that just look good. If you want your learners to spend time looking at your content, give them something good to look at. Don't use sloppy or outdated visuals or people will disregard your content without a second thought.
Embrace interactivity. Give the learner something to do, something that keeps them engaged and interacting with your course. At this point, we're all pros at multitasking on our laptops, but multitasking and clicking into other tabs do not enable effective learning.
Use interactivity to improve focus. Include discussion, activities, something to hold the learner accountable. Interactivity can look like creative storytelling, scenarios, gamification, and other multi-media presentations.
If this sounds overwhelming, reach out to a professional for a cohesive learning strategy. I'm here to help fast growing companies get their employees up to speed faster and working more productively on the job. I help you look good and help your employees stay more engaged and focused. Let me know what your need is.