Condensed eLearning Courses: How To Develop eLearning That’s Fit For Busy Online Learners
Mature learners differ from school kids in several ways, and it’s not just their age. They’re generally more invested in their training, because they paid for it themselves. Even if it’s employer-sponsored, they know why they’re studying, so they’re more emotionally invested. At least in theory. They’re also very busy, so they don’t have much time to dedicate to their training. Design your eLearning course in a way that offers them flexibility. eLearning content should be grouped in concise chunks of condensed eLearning courses that improve retention. Here are a few more suggestions on how to maximize knowledge transfer while minimizing eLearning course duration.
7 Top Tips To Create eLearning Courses For Time-Strapped Learners
1. Make It Legible
Avoid large chunks of text in your condensed eLearning course. They’re boring and online learners will easily zone out and lose focus. Keep wording short, simple, and active. Jargon can be linked to light boxes, pop-ups, or appendices containing longer definitions. These extended texts can open when you hover, which helps limit wording on the page. Restrict your layout so you have one idea per page. You’d rather have 1,000 pages with fifty words each than the inverse. Your wording should have lots of ‘white space’ so online learners can consume it faster. Allow them to easily adjust font size and opt for sans-serif or non-cursive options, for enhanced legibility.
2. Keep Sessions Short
Not many adults can set aside an hour or two for training. Maybe when the kids have gone to bed, or when they’re stuck in traffic. They mostly study in five-minute bursts while they’re in a waiting room or a coffee queue. The typical study session is 15 to 20 minutes as they take a lunch break. Or they might study while doing something else, like chores, exercise, or school runs. Divide your eLearning content into bits so they can squeeze their sessions in. Also, include options they can apply in these contexts. For example, an audio lecture that allows them to get the information without bothering a co-worker in the next cubicle.
3. Opt For Infographics
This increasingly popular medium is a great way to summarize and condense information. It combines the best training features – low on wording and high on visuals. The small images and icons are easier to remember than endless prose. They double as a mnemonic device. Online learners can absorb the condensed eLearning course content at a glance, and it’s helpful for end-chapter summaries, quick referencing, and revision sessions. They’re also light and fun. Remember though, your infographics and other visuals should be light and compressed. eLearning course elements that take too long to load are an unnecessary time waster.
4. Factor In Entertainment
Have you wondered why you can watch a ninety-minute movie but can barely sit through a half hour lecture? It could be the multimedia experience that pulls you in. Or the quality of the storytelling. Movie-making techniques make you take notice, so apply the same principle to your eLearning material. Keep it informative and useful, but also make it fun. If the learning experience is enjoyable, online learners will make time to study. They’ll create space in their busy schedule, because it’s something they look forward to. And if it’s exciting, they’ll be open to longer eLearning sessions, even if they don’t technically have the time.
5. Use Versatile Design
Busy people are task-driven. They’re unlikely to be in any one place for a prolonged period. For example, they’ll be at their desks only while they’re working on a specific project. The rest of the time, they’re shuffling between meetings, arranging site visits, or running errands. Having a desk-based course is therefore impractical, because they’re never at their work stations long enough. Instead, design a cloud-based course they can access from anywhere. Accompany it with an app for mobile phones and tablets. Enable offline access so they can still use it when they’re not plugged in.
6. Clear Out The Clutter
Re-evaluate your current eLearning course designs to see what you can cut out in order to condense the experience. For instance, irrelevant images that don’t really add any value to the course. This also applies to facts, stats, and other text-based content that may be extraneous. Clearing out the clutter usually requires audience research. You have to figure out which information they need and what can go by the wayside. For example, if they’re at a more advanced level you can omit rudimentary concepts that are redundant. Just give them a brief recap in the beginning to refresh their memory, then move onto the good stuff.
7. Make It Micro
Microlearning is ideal for moment of need support. As online learners have the ability to quickly access online resources that cater to their needs, then apply it immediately. For example, create 3-minute tutorials or demos that show them how to complete a task. They can watch the video to overcome obstacles right away and then get back to business as usual after the condensed eLearning course. This helps them free up some time in their schedule and reduces stress levels. Once again, you should research their needs, preferences, and gaps to develop microlearning resources that actually benefit online learners. Also, include a good mix of delivery methods so that everyone finds something that appeals to them. From podcasts and serious games to interactive simulations.
Online learners rarely have time for lengthy sessions. There’s too much to do, both inside the office and in their personal lives. Therefore, their eLearning content has to be designed for quick study sessions. Use white space and minimal wording so they can read faster. Infographics are good for quick study too. Compress imagery so your pages load promptly. Make your eLearning material fun to consume and enable it to function across all platforms.
Do adults learn in the same way as their younger counterparts, or do they need their own special approach to absorb the information? Do you know what your adult learners need to achieve their goals and tackle everyday challenges, and how much pressed for time they are? Download our free eBook Designing eLearning Courses For Adult Learners: The Complete Guide to find out about the adult learner characteristics, the obstacles they need to overcome, ways to engage and motivate busy adult learners, and some amazing adult learning facts and stats you need to know as an eLearning pro.