Top Five Mistakes to Avoid in E-learning Content Creation
It is a bit of good news, bad news. The good news, e-learning use is up 13% per year, with over 77% of USA companies offer online corporate training to improve the professional development of their employees (source).
What could be the bad news? Yes, it does exist. The bad news is that many companies failed to focus on the quality of content and course creation. Thus, too many of the 77% of firms offering e-learning are doing so at a sub-par level.
But don’t fret!
Follow a few key steps to avoid the top five mistakes of e-learning content and course creation:
1 Epic Failure in Engagement. Make sure you use the tools in the marketplace that allow for gamification, badging, strategic communications, analytics and performance management. In other words, use tools to create enthusiasm and drive higher engagement. Something as simple as a well-publicized badging strategy in the workplace can drive enthusiasm for progress and course completion. Users need to be excited to take, learn from, and complete a course. As an admin or executive sponsor, you can make that happen by making sure you use the right tools to drive engagement (gamification, strategic communications) and accountability (analytics and performance management). If your e-learning solution doesn't offer these options or the options are barely functional; consider switching to a provider that gives you the rich functionality your e-learning strategy requires.
2 Boring, Poorly Utilized, or Underused Media. What does that mean? It means to put some effort into your content. Avoid boring user/student by adding images or embedding videos. And make sure you properly utilize the media by following best practices and optimizing your content for use. You would not want to have people tapping their fingers waiting for your course content to load; right? And lastly, don’t go with the usual staples like power point or text. Impress your users with animation and vibrant presentations. Most e-learning and LMS platforms will accept most forms of media, so if you are limiting yourself, you may only have yourself to blame.
3 Failure to Utilize Assessments and Evaluations. Nearly every e-learning platform worth a monthly paid subscription boasts some assessment and evaluation tool. And yet, so many teachers and course managers leave this tool on the bench and ask only that users watch the course from beginning to end. Wasteful! Use the tools to evaluate everything from competency, comprehension, utility, and course satisfaction. Remember the Quiz is your friend!
4 Poor Curriculum. Let’s face it, if you create a course that doesn't do a good job of teaching a particular topic, it doesn't matter how good your e-learning solution is, you are still going to fail (no pun intended) when it comes to driving the value associated with e-learning. Make sure you include the following in your curriculum development best practices:
- Use a mission or goal statement. Tell the user/student what they should learn from the course.
- Design an outline to organize the content needed to attain the goal in your mission statement.
- Find the right balance in total course volume. Be brief but comprehensive in your outline and your narratives. If you go too fast, you will cheapen the value of your course with an abbreviated or generalized approach; if too long, you will fail to engage your user/student, and they may fail to complete the course.
- Conclude with a summary. Summarize your course outline and restate the mission or goal statement.
5 Don’t fail to make Learning a Journey. Consider the old collegiate convention of having classes advance from 101, 201, 301, and so on. You can keep engagement high and create a true competency with you build on the knowledge attained in previous courses. Consider breaking long outlines into a series of courses to keep people on track for learning without feeling overwhelmed. Moreover, use the assessment and evaluation tools to make sure the user/student is ready for the next level of learning.
This list of five could have easily been a list of ten or more mistakes to avoid. Indeed, there is a great need for improvement when it comes to building and deploying smart content and courses for e-learning.
Make sure you send a survey with every course. You will not know what to improve unless you seek and listen to feedback. There are some great free tools like SurveyMonkey that can help you gain insight on next steps to improving the content in your e-learning initiative.