Creating original, engaging content has become increasingly difficult in our ever-connected world. This has made standing out from the competition all the more valuable for any growing company that relies on digital content.
In the eLearning industry, there are many tried and tested techniques that industry leaders swear by. Here are eight of those key tips to help you create unique, effective and memorable eLearning content, and keep your team on the ball.
1. Set the scope
With the amount of information available with the click of a few buttons, it’s easy to overwhelm your reader with all the content ever written on a subject matter. Stick to the essentials and consider the needs of your clients.
Consider conducting a needs analysis at the beginning of a project so that you reach all your client’s expectations.
Failing to cover all your client’s needs or including irrelevant points will not only degrade the effectiveness of your content, but may also have your clients seeking other solutions.
2. Understand your audience
With today’s technology you can dazzle clients with high-tech features and flawless animations, but those can only go so far. A reader needs to be able to understand and apply what it is that you are communicating.
Before you begin building your content, consider the background of your users and their motivation to learn. It might be difficult to establish engagement if your reader isn’t there voluntarily, and is simply hoping to please their boss.
Respect any previous knowledge so your content isn’t overly repetitive, but also make it plain and clear for beginners. This way you can tailor the content to the needs of the user.
3. Create measurable learning objectives
Learning objectives are often not given the attention that they deserve. Although your user may glance over the list, this not only ensures that you know your client’s needs are being addressed, but also helps you, as the developer, stick to the point.
With vague objectives, you may be prone to overloading your users with superfluous content. Refine the learning objectives as much as possible and consider how every objective will maximise the effectiveness of the content and the user’s outcomes.
4. Keep it simple
As Einstein said, “Everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler”. You can impress subject matter experts with your grasp of jargon and the finer details, but for those new to the content, the simpler you can express the information, the better.
This also applies to the structure of the content and the logic of its presentation. A series of randomly connected modules and a hodgepodge of information will baffle your reader rather than help them.
5. Boost interactivity
Often we can find ourselves blindly glancing over words without absorbing any information. We want users to get the most out of the experience.
Incorporating engaging quizzes and brain teasers, and providing a degree of entertainment or fun will improve user engagement and increase the chance that the reader will leave the experience feeling as though their time was well-spent.
This also gives you the chance to measure the achievement of learning objectives – not only their recall of the content, but also their ability to apply it. For example, providing the user with a scenario to evaluate is sure to make them think.
6. Enhance the quality of multimedia
A well-crafted essay on the subject matter would do the job sufficiently, but in reality, our attention span is poor for on-screen reading, especially if it’s dry content.
Sometimes improving the effectiveness of your content is as simple as pleasing the users’ eyes. A couple of low-resolution photographs and some blurry animations may leave your users and clients dissatisfied.
With the amount of technology and software available to create high quality infographics and animations, there are plenty of ways to refine the multimedia in your content.
If you can’t personally do it, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials available for almost all forms of software, or you could simply ask a tech-savvy colleague to help you out.
7. Test everything
You could have some of the brightest ideas from experts and some of the best Photoshop skills in the business, but none of this matters if your users can’t access your content.
Make sure everything works by testing learning content as you go and seeking feedback from peers and other experts.
Checking in with your client and brainstorming throughout the project can also help ensure you are on the right track.
Don’t forget to give yourself some time to account for any last-minute tweaks to perfect everything and have your clients returning without hesitation.
8. Give credit
Referencing your work not only keeps other subject matter experts happy, but it also improves your credibility. Make sure you give credit to those who helped you develop the resource.
Having a clear reference list also gives readers somewhere else to look if they want information beyond the scope of your content.
- Pappas, C. et al. (2017). Top 47 Tips For Successful Custom eLearning Content Development. eLearning Industry. Retrieved from: https://elearningindustry.com/top-tips-successful-custom-elearning-content-development-elearning-experts