eLearning has many obvious advantages over classroom learning, and especially so in these pandemic times. Learners can log in from anywhere, learn at their own pace, and do so much more these days than even a couple of years ago.
However, online learning is not without its challenges, chief among them been keeping the students engaged. When it comes to corporate eLearning, companies design courses to train employees on company policies, compliance, safety, additional qualification, and more. A lot of effort and resources are put in creating the learning programs. Yet, many companies struggle to get their employees to complete the course satisfactorily.
Either they leave them midway, or may complete it late. If the course is linked to a performance objective, then employees might complete the course. But if they don’t find the material engaging, they may not actually learn much from the course, thus defeating the purpose of the training.
How then can companies create engaging eLearning programs? In this post, we’ll discuss the common challenges to course completion and discuss some solutions or activities to engage students.
Why are learners abandoning your eLearning program?
To increase engagement, let’s first look at why your employees might be leaving them unfinished.
Are your learners able to achieve their objectives from the course? Or, is it something that they’re finding irrelevant? The primary motivator for anyone to learn anything is to see if the learning helps them meet a goal. If not, they can quickly become disinterested.
If your learners find it difficult to understand the content, it’s a no-brainer that they will quit the course. The content must be drafted clearly and aligned with their level of comprehension. If the content is in an alien language, that too can be a stumbling block to understanding.
Does the program have enough visual cues for the learner, in terms of navigation and other learning aids? What about the element of fun? Remember that when designing your training program for a global audience, visual elements need to be adapted to suit the locale. The same goes for humor.
How to design an engaging e-learning program
Once you understand what’s affecting the engagement rates, you get a better idea of how to avoid these issues and help the learner in completing the course. Take the 5 steps listed below to design a truly interesting eLearning program:
1. Be clear about the objectives
When designing a corporate e-training and development course, determine who your audience is. Which department do they belong to in the company? What are the objectives of the training program? State them clearly upfront so that the person taking the course knows its purpose. Try to understand beforehand if the course is serving a real need of the learner or not.
2. Translate and localize
In global training programs, translation and localization is a must to increase engagement in online classes. Only when the content is in the trainee’s native tongue, can they easily understand it. Understanding is the stepping stone of engagement.
Translation and localization is especially critical for training programs, where it is essential for the learner to understand the content accurately. These could be compliance training programs or safety demonstrations or drills. They can even be about how to use tools and machinery efficiently so that the employees don’t end up damaging the machine or getting themselves injured.
It can save the company millions of dollars in lawsuits that might otherwise spring from accidents and injuries to staff because they were not trained properly on safety.
Localize the content to make sure it is adapted to the specific locale. This could mean taking care of colors, graphics, navigation elements, formats of numbers, date, currencies and more, alignment of text and other icons in case of vertically aligned or right-to-left languages. Direct translation might sometimes not work between languages that are far apart culturally. Then, figures of speech, humor etc., will have to be localized, too.
Note that people around the world learn differently and also are perhaps used to different ways of assessment.
3. Gamify the content
Gamifying the content to assign scores, winner badges, and display leaderboards and performance graphs is a great idea to keep the learners inspired. They can interact with their peers either in the same locale or other parts of the globe, thus making them feel part of a community.
4. Allow interaction
Try to have a few live interactive sessions as part of the course. If the course is completely online and asynchronous, e-learners can often feel isolated and discouraged. Social interaction through live sessions where participants can see and hear each other and the instructor is not only more engaging, but makes for better learning. Participants can have their queries answered in real-time and can also learn from others’ participation.
5. Make the course accessible
Your online training program should be accessible to all your employees. You can achieve this by adding certain accessibility features when you are developing the course.
Use speech-to-text options if there’s any audio being used in the modules. Closed captions can not only assist the hearing impaired, but can also be useful to anyone who’s perhaps taking the course in an outdoors, noisy environment.
Allow for text size adjustment and make sure the module can be operated through mouse as well as keyboards.
Remember that translation, too, makes your course more accessible around the world.
eLearning is only going to grow stronger, thanks to advances in digital technology, wider access, and the pandemic. However, designing a successful course online is not easy, as it involves many moving parts. There’s text, audio, video, visual elements, navigation, different delivery formats, and more.
Do some research to understand the learning objectives of your audience, how they prefer to learn, be assessed, which language they learn best in, and so on.
Work with a language services provider (LSP) right from the beginning while designing the course, so you don’t have to re-do things to make it global-ready. The LSP can take care of all the details related to translation and localization, while you focus on creating engaging content.