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4 simple steps to create engaging elearning courses

Why is it important to create engaging elearning?

We’ve all seen too many elearning courses that just look like boring presentation slides. But how effective are these ‘presentation-style’ courses and, more importantly, how engaging are they for learners? There are still many people who mistakenly believe that a slightly interactive version of presentation slides is what elearning is all about, but the truth is that this doesn’t make for very engaging elearning courses.

Good instructional designers know that presentation slides are precisely what should be avoided if you want to create engaging elearning courses. Why? Because they are designed to suit very different purposes to an elearning course, like workshops, webinars, virtual classrooms and, as its name says, presentations.

So how can any kind of content, whether it’s a small quantity of computer-based training or large amounts of elearning, be transformed into effective and engaging elearning courses? From an instructional design point of view, here are my top four tips…

Learning designers discussing ways to create engaging elearning courses

First things first: Gather the content

Depending on the learning outcomes, there may be very little or a lot of content to start with. It’s also likely to be in a variety of different formats and extracted from different sources, including:

  • wikis
  • articles
  • recorded webinars and presentations
  • slides
  • videos
  • company in-house documents
  • existing elearning courses
  • instructor manuals and notes
  • infographics
  • printed materials
  • PDFs

New content can also be created by consulting with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and other business stakeholders. Before passing the training material to the instructional designers (who are also content and writing experts), learning consultants will familiarise themselves with the content and training objectives, and then formulate a creative solution.

Second: Decide what to do with the content

Consultants are experts in instructional design and blended learning. They analyse the content, together with the learning needs and goals that clients want to achieve, and come up with engaging learning solutions. These solutions can be anything from a single elearning course to entire blends.

Once the solution is designed, it’s time for the instructional designer to get to work on the actual wording of the elearning content.

Third: Focus on the words

Content is the building block of the learning solution and the messages that the content carries can be communicated in a variety of ways. Having a team of experienced learning designers means the learning material is in the hands of content and writing experts, who’ll then transform plain text into elements that make engaging elearning courses. Good instructional designers are experts on narrative and storytelling techniques, and can translate their content skills into all of the factual and fictional elements of learning design, including:

  • bite-size learning (also known as microlearning)
  • elearning courses
  • face-to-face training materials
  • scenarios
  • drama video
  • factual video
  • interactive video
  • documentaries
  • case studies
  • animations
  • podcasts
  • interactive PDFs
  • virtual classrooms
  • webinars
  • promotional materials

Different learning objectives can be achieved by different means. Theory and practice can be taught using both facts and fiction, such as the elements above. A combination of these will make the solutions more exciting, more engaging and more effective. The more engaged the learners are, the more effective the learning is.

A group of business people working on ways to create engaging elearning courses in a collaborative environment

Fourth: Find a style

Source content – the material that organisations typically need to be converted into elearning – is usually created by different people for different purposes, in different situations. This means that it’s likely to contain a variety of writing and communication styles. To create engaging elearning courses, it’s best to stick to a uniform style and tone of voice throughout the learning programme. Content needs to flow in order to create a smooth and flawless learner journey.

How to create engaging elearning courses

LEO’s instructional designers and learning consultants are content and writing experts, with the ability to shape source content and bring it to life. They do the editorial work and know that creative writing plays an important role, but also adhere to the style guidelines of clients. They write, re-word, shape and edit the copy. Just as importantly, good learning designers create content that takes into account localisation of courses and whether or not learners are multi-lingual, native English speakers or non-native speakers. They are writing experts, with vast experience in writing for learning purposes in specific ways. Our designers write content to create enjoyable, engaging learning experiences for all learner needs.

If you’d like to speak to a LEO consultant about ways to create engaging elearning, get in touch here.

Read more on choosing elearning here