This article was first written, by me, for Training Industry. Visit their website for more of my published articles.
When e-learning was first introduced a few years ago, the fear was that teachers and trainers would be replaced by robots. This of course hasn’t happened and users are beginning to accept and even embrace e-learning. Below are some of the key likes and dislikes of modern e-learners. E-learning designers can use such insights to create more satisfying and effective e-learning experiences.
1. E-learners dislike formality, coldness and strange accents when receiving an audio narrative, according to research by Ruth Clarke and Richard Mayer in “E-learning and the Science of Instruction.” Their research shows that students and employees learn better when the e-learning narrative is in a conversational tone and familiar accent. Learners want to receive information online and feel as if they are in a classroom environment. Creating a virtual classroom setting becomes more effective because learners are more accustomed to a real-life trainer speaking.
2. E-learners like on-screen virtual instructors because it makes them more motivated about learning. Using automated characters or videos of actual instructors from time-to-time creates a more interactive online learning experience and allows learners to feel as if they are in an actual classroom environment.
3. E-learners dislike procedure and regulation lists. Recent research shows that 76 percent of learners find lists tedious and boring. Try to limit the amount of long paragraphs and text. Keep it short and sweet in order to present the information thoroughly but still retain the attention of your learners.
4. E-learners like bite-size learning that they can access on their mobile device or in the cloud. It allows them to stop, start and resume easily to maintain continuity alongside their busy lifestyles.
5. E-learners dislike courses that not compatible with mobile devices. Mobile consumers are now standardizing on five-to-six inch tablets and expect to be able to bank, shop and learn on these devices. There is nothing more frustrating than e-learning that assumes the user is learning from a desktop, in a continuous, distraction-free environment.
6. E-learners like learning what is relevant and applicable to their day-to-day activities. Studies show that 58 percent of learners want content that tackles real-life scenarios. As opposed to presenting content in a textbook or manual style, try to recreate scenarios that would occur at the workplace where learners are required to problem solve.
7. E-learners like to be able to interact and make decisions. Studies show that 52 percent of learners like decision-making scenarios and content where they get to think, answer questions and interact on the go. Include quizzes, exams and case studies in your courses to keep the learners interested and active.
It’s not always easy finding creative and fun ways to train learners. Understanding your learners and knowing exactly what they like and dislike is the first step in making the training process easier. E-learning is already one step ahead of conventional training and if it can be implemented correctly, you are already on the road to success.