What makes great e-learning? Read our six tips

April 20, 2011 by Lindsey Rees

What makes great e-learning?‘What makes great e-learning?’ is a question we get asked a lot and something that we are passionate about at Learning Pool.

It is very easy to take paper or web based content and stick it into an e-learning module, but to us that’s not e-learning.  This is just a book on a screen and as reading on screen takes, on average, 25% longer than reading on paper it’s a pretty pointless exercise.

Good e-learning means engaging e-learning.  Here’s my list of six top tips to create e-learning that achieves its objectives and leaves people keen to do more.

1. Grab the learner’s attention
Let them know what’s in it for them.  What are they going to know or be able to do differently by the end of the module? 

Another way of getting attention is by being thought provoking, give statistics or very quick snippets of real life situations that make your learner sit up and think.

Screenshot of the Modern Governor module "Looked-after Children"

2. Get them to think
A really good technique for this is using open input questions.  Ask a question and allow your learner to think it through and give their answer.

This will give them time to think about what they already know and any areas they are unsure off. On the next screen, show them a model answer and they can compare it to theirs, noting any differences or points they are not clear on.

A Model Answer exercise

3. Present content in small chunks
Reading on screen is more difficult than reading on paper and therefore it’s particularly important that information is broken down into bite size chunks of no more that a paragraph or two to allow learners to absorb it fully.

If you can use interactive means such as clickable text or graphics this is even better as it means they can really work at their own pace, drilling down into the information as and when they are ready.

An example of a clickable graphic

4. Frequent knowledge checks
Particularly important when imparting lots of new knowledge is to test that knowledge as you progress to allow learners to check their own understanding.  You can do this using many questions types, but the most popular are multiple choice and drag and drop.

It sometimes works to ask questions before you present information, alerting your learner to the fact that their knowledge of the subject may not be quite as high as they first thought.

Frequent knowledge checks

5. Tell stories
Everyone loves a good story, it’s the reason gossip and soap operas are so popular.  In learning, stories help learners to relate to concepts in real life situations, consolidating any new knowledge.

They can also be used to provide a safe environment for learners to try out new skills, particularly decision making.

Tell stories

6. Summarise well and point to other sources of information
At the end of your e-learning make sure you summarise the key points and give you r learner pointers to where they can go to find out more.

Remind them too, that the e-learning is available as a refresher whenever they feel they need it.

Summarise

Great e-learning meets its objectives and provides an enjoyable experience for learners making them keen to come back and do some more whenever the need arises.

Did you notice the screen grabs shown in these tips are from some of our Modern Governor modules?  Check out our online learning for school governors at www.moderngovernor.com.

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