Tips on Effective Online Learning: How to Structure an Optimum Program That Delivers
By Kanav Mata, EHL Advisory Services consultant based out of the India office
What really works when it comes to an online learning module/program? Do all online learning solutions offer and ensure an effective and efficient learning experience for the person on the other side of the screen?
Business volumes are low and a there is tremendous amount of downtime across industries, both individuals and organizations are also looking at this as an opportunity to learn and upskill, again "remotely". It seems like the Learning & Development Industry was preparing itself and learners for this very day! Digital/online learning has now become an extremely common way to carry out and execute a majority of learning interventions. The only difference being that today it is a necessity, more than an option.
Online/remote learning can take many forms: Instructor-led classes, webinars, videos, online modules without an instructor and so on. Each type propagates a different learning style and serves different purposes. It is probably worth examining and trying to understand what learning style fulfils what kind of purpose, but that is for another time.
By way of this article I want to pen down some effective elements of a non instructor-led online/digital learning module that delivers high impact learning and truly sets it apart from the rest.
Outlined below are some of the integral elements of an online module.
Micro learning or bite-sized modules
No one wants to sit in front of their screens for hours at an end. With attention spans reducing, complex and lengthy learning needs to be broken down into smaller and easily digestible bite sized snippets of learning.
Non-graded knowledge checks ensure that the learner has been paying attention to the content that they have consumed. Placed after each bite-sized module or learning snippet, it allows for easier retention and gives the learner a sense of comfort that they have understood the concept. This also acts as a great preparation for a final graded assessment later.
Interactive and engaging
Go on, have a little fun with the content that you put out there. Stay away from traditional radio buttons and old templates to fit your content into. Throw in some colour, add an animated learning mentor, have a voice over that uses the right tone and inflection (just like you would in a classroom), make the knowledge checks intuitive. There are innumerable ways by which you can make your content interactive and engaging, it may take more time and effort to create, but it's well worth it.
Don't worry, no need for a coding master to create a full blown-out game. By incorporating game elements like badges, leader boards and achievements within your online program, not only do you make it more interesting for the learners but you also get their competitive juices flowing. No one, literally no one likes to be beaten and if they see someone else's name up there on the leaderboard, natural human behaviour of putting in more effort and showing more interest automatically kicks in.
Socialize the learning process
We humans love being social and collaborating (which is why we are finding social distancing so difficult). One of the key elements that often gets missed out in an online learning module is that of social and collaborative learning. Have enough features on your LMS that allow for the learner to feel connected, not only with the course manager but also with other learners. Discussion/chat forums and question/answer boards are critical, however one must ensure quick response rates here.
Creating and powering online modules is the easy part, however due thought needs to go into making this attractive, engaging and effective for the learner. When you put learning content out there in the digital/online universe you are no longer competing with other organizations powering digital/online learning solutions, your competition is all the content available out there in the digital/online universe, from a YouTube tube video to an Instagram Live Session. Keep this in mind the next time you are putting an online module out there.
EHL Advisory Services, using its deep-rooted expertise, history, credibility and knowledge, is well-placed to design and deliver high impact online learning solutions for your People Development needs. Our end-to-end solutions are tailor-made, keeping your pinch points at the centre of it all and providing solutions with a measurable impact.