How to Make Your Online Course Powerful and Engaging?
Whether you’re onboarding new employees or helping experienced staff learn new skills, an online course can be a powerful tool. The workplace changes at the speed of light these days, and your staff will need to stay up-to-date on the latest software, tools, processes, policies, and procedures. Giving your staff online courses can ensure they’re up-to-date and on board with the changes.
But how do you make sure they pay attention and absorb the information like a sponge? With so many distractions in modern society, your online course needs to grab and keep your staff’s attention, and hold it. Here are some tips to make your online course powerful and engaging?
Identify what your course needs to address
To start things off, take the time to identify what knowledge you need to impart. Are there areas where your existing staff to develop their skills and gain knowledge? Or, is the course designed to onboard new additions to your team? It helps to know what your desired learning outcomes are so, throughout the designing process — consider it the destination on the educational map that you’re about to make.
From there, you should gather all the necessary information, everything the learners will need to know to excel in their role, and in their workplace. What do they know, and what do they need to know? (If you’re not sure, you can ask.) Try gathering useful content from a variety of sources – including in-house and outside experts – to make a powerful, engaging online learning course.
Presentation is key
As the expression goes, the first bite is with the eye. If you want to design an engaging online course, one that keeps the learner’s attention, it needs to look good.
Keep the design simple and clean, but make sure it still catches the eye. And don’t cram too much onto a single page, otherwise, the learners might be tempted to skim or gloss over it, and it will hurt the page’s legibility. Stick to only two fonts — usually just one for text, and one for titles and subheads. Don’t get too fancy with your font choices, and make sure you can read them!
Try playing around with complementary colors to add a bit of visual flair as well. Make sure that they are consistent throughout the course, and don’t busy up your modules with too many colours — keep it simple, but appealing.
Photos, videos, illustrations, and animations can be used to grab user attention and reinforce learning. These elements can be powerful tools to demonstrate processes in a “how-to” fashion, and can in turn be core components of a course. In many cases, a video tutorial may be the most effective way to present the information. However, be careful about adding these elements just for the sake of it — they can distract learners from the intended objectives!
The power of planning
Also, get to know your staff, and remember that they are the ones who will be taking the courses. An article in Forbes recommends taking the time to learn what you can about them, and ask questions about their levels of competency. This should inform what you teach them, and how you go about doing it. At the end of the day, you’re making courses for your crew, so they can learn and perform better — whatever you do needs to work for them.
Next, divide the information into modules that reflect the myriad concepts the trainees will do in the workplace and avoid mixing too many concepts into a module – keep apples with apples and oranges with oranges. From there, arrange the modules in a way that flows logically, with the important, basic concepts placed upfront, and the minutiae and specialized information being explained later. How you prioritize some content over others in this flow of information may come from your staff as well — what did they wish they knew on their first day? What makes up the bulk of their duties?
Finally, keep the modules concise and focused, but make sure you get the ideas across. Being economical with content can help learners fit the modules into their workdays. Getting down to it
With all of this in mind, get down to designing your course. Collect your course material and your insights and start putting it all together. Make sure you do a few test runs to make sure everything flows the way you want it to, and make alterations and edits as necessary. Finally, after having your staff take the course, get their feedback — what worked in the course? What needs more work? Take note, and use their feedback to draft better courses in the future.