There are five major e-Learning Components at the core that are crucial for a thriving online learning environment. Having a greater understanding of these components will enable you to plan and build up a course that meets your digital training goals. The image below represents how these parts are associated with each other and with the system. Each e-learning component performs an essential function in structuring an online course. Among the components, none assumes a bigger job than the Audience.
From idea to the final product, your target audience is an essential factor in the development of an online course. Everything is created and structured with the target audience in mind. One of the initial phases in the ADDIE process (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) is to do an in-depth analysis of your target audience. This examination will assist you in determining the essential structure of the other four components. As you build up an online learning platform, you must keep in mind the following points related to your audience:
- Expectations (results/outcomes):
You must know the expected results of the course that you create. What will be expected of the learner following the completion of the course? What expertise level is required to certify the learner after finishing the course? Realizing these requirements will help you in finalizing the content, structure, and format of the course you want to create.
- Learning abilities (prerequisites):
Before you start structuring or building up an online course, you must think about your target audience’s learning capacities and if there are any essential topics required for the online course. For instance, on the off chance that you are taking a course on the best method to assemble a vehicle, the student ought to have some mechanical know-how or information of how a vehicle operates first before figuring out how to fabricate a vehicle. Hence, a pre-requisite for this course may require the student to know the basics of motors before finishing a course on the best method to assemble a vehicle.
- Available Equipment (hardware/software):
An essential element of catering to your target audience is understanding the capacity of the learner to access and view your course. For instance, if you plan to incorporate sound into your course, it is critical to know whether your target audience has the right software and hardware capabilities to hear the sound.
- Job Responsibilities:
As an e-learning platform developer, you should know the active duties of your target audience. Keep in mind, required abilities of the student minus the current abilities of the student define the goals of the online course. Grasping what the student oversees, hands-on will help you in meeting the desires and targets of your audience. Likewise, this information will also assist you in creating viable online activities and gamification of the modules to enable the student to get a hold of the presented matter.
This is a very commonly neglected territory when it comes down to knowing your crowd. Your learners will always be inclined towards a specific way of learning. Some are progressively inclined to gain more from video and sound activities, while others require in-depth hands-on activities to learn. Realizing the learning styles of learners will assist you in designing a course that is intuitive and accomplishes results.
COURSE STRUCTURE :
The course structure is all about how a course is purposed for e-learning. The structure of a course performs an important factor in how your learners will learn the presented material. Amid the Design stage of an ADDIE process, you conceptualize how the course needs to be structured and organized. Story-boarding is an incredible method to construct your course structure. Consider the following things while organizing your course:
- Group content into coherent/logical modules:
Find out the flow of the course and afterward decide how to deliver the information to the end learners. Grouping the data into small “sections” will make it simpler for the learners to understand and gain proficiency with the learning materials. Most of the learners can hold quite a bit of information. Be that as it may, the information must be structured and arranged into small sections to guarantee high retention of the information within the learning material.
- Abstain from making modules that surpass 8–10 pages:
A great many people need to feel like they are achieving something and need those psychological checkpoints that show that they are advancing. Limiting your modules to 8–10 pages will enable the student to feel a sense of improvement and progress. Likewise, lengthy modules will cause the student to lose attention and along these lines, the learning system turns into a chore.
- Incorporate interactive concepts:
Your course structure should additionally incorporate interactive activities all through the course in a strategic manner. An excessive amount of activities can make the learner either overlook why they are finishing the course or just plainly lose interest. A standard guideline is to incorporate an activity or movement after every third page, with one main activity for every module. This will build up a healthy balance between learning and maintaining the interest of the learner.
- Use pictures/illustrations to help clarify thoughts, ideas, or statements:
It is best practice to incorporate pictures wherever needed, and whenever possible. Commonly, instructional designers will embed a picture only for the point of embedding a picture. Each picture must have a reason and must speak about the subject on the page. By utilizing pictures to highlight certain pointers on the page, you will draw the learner closer towards the subject and the individual in question will most likely be able to better understand the concepts within the learning material.
PAGE DESIGN :
Just like the significance of a classroom environment, the page design for an online course is very important to the learning process. How a page is structured can hugely affect the learning experience of the learners. Keep the following points in mind when formatting your course:
- Navigation must be easy to use.
Make navigation manageable and simple to use. The simpler it is to explore; the course will be even more captivating for learners.
- Appearance must not cripple the learning process.
Keep in mind, the objective of the course is to train the learner. The structure of the course should not be difficult or confusing for the learners to comprehend what they must do on the page. If a page has a complicated design or is frustrating for the learner, they will lose interest in the course and you won’t be able to accomplish the defined learning goals.
- The right balance between textual information and graphics is essential.
Abstain from overwhelming the content with designs or pictures. Illustrations are an incredible asset for e-learning designers. Utilizing designs carefully to emphasize an idea is an excellent method that enables the learner to understand a difficult subject. Keep in mind that if the graphics turn out to overshadow or dominate the aim of the subject on the page, the learner can wind up distracted and lose enthusiasm for the course. Just like in the case of pictures, using an excessive amount of text-based content on a page can appear too difficult for the learner and can mentally affect the learner in absorbing the information. Hence, the balance of pictures and content must be analyzed carefully when designing a page.
- White space is great.
Many people like to utilize all the areas on a screen. This makes the page look very confusing. Having lots of blank areas is really a great practice to include when designing e-learning pages. Utilizing white space efficiently can instill a positive learning environment for the learners as they won’t see the page as a “labor”.
- Consistency is the key (includes visual style, pop-ups, formatting).
Following a consistent format throughout your course will improve the learning background of the learners. Having predictable items and text styles all through your course will make the learner less frustrated while navigating the course.
- Filtering information should be simplistic.
Many people like to analyze pages in an in-depth manner. By sorting out information in the form of numbers or bullets, you make the page easy to scan through which can significantly improve the learning process. Creating subjects and concepts by utilizing bullets or numbers guarantees a more noteworthy retention rate for the learner. It additionally encourages the learner to rapidly discover key focus areas or facts to help with understanding critical subjects.
- Grouping information is essential.
As stated previously, grouping data into little bits of information will enable the learners to retain the information within the course. A great number of people can hold an enormous amount of data if the data is displayed in an efficient manner. Grouping topics in the learning material by phases or concepts will more effectively assist the learner in interpreting and memorizing the information inside the course. It will also assist you in planning a compelling e-learning course.
CONTENT ENGAGEMENT :
Since e-learning is a self-help process, interactions with the learner become essential as compared to most of the Training Forums out there. Engaging with the content means how the learner associates with the information in the course. Content engagement is critical because studies have proved that the learning experience is enormously improved when activities or exercises are included in the learning process.
Incorporating activities or events inside e-learning can make up for the absence of an educator who can include that human touch through identity and logical associations. Just like in a classroom environment, there must be a balance in employing engaging content. An excess of engagement can dominate the learning objectives. Too little engagement can result in the learner losing interest in the topic. Keep in mind the points below, when trying to engage the learner in an e-learning setup.
- Utilize hyperlinks for additional concepts, explanations, or definitions.
The upside of digital learning is that it equips the student with extra assets and data with only a single click. Linking to external references can incredibly improve the learning process and offer increased value to the subject at hand.
- Incorporate intelligent designs, such as animations.
Incorporating interactive content helps the learner to undergo a hands-on learning experience that quickens the learning process. For instance, infographics give a visual understanding of the presented subject. If the learner had to tap on bits of the infographic, the learning process would have a notably higher impact on the learner. Utilizing animations will also achieve an equivalent goal.
- Supply extra choices/options for the learner.
Today, everyone wants the ability to select from numerous choices. This is crucial when it comes to learning since everyone learns in a different manner, including an inclination towards different learning styles. For instance, many people have a better learning experience with visual materials. At the same time, many people have a better experience with audio materials. By fusing both the visual and the audio viewpoints into your preparation, you enable the student to pick an alternative that best meets their learning needs.
- Leverage tests, quizzes, and skill assessment reports.
Another approach to keeping the learner engaged is to test their understanding of the course content. This permits both, the student to confirm that they comprehended the content, and the instructional designer to check if the content accomplished the learning goals. This also serves the purpose of “checkpoints” for the learner to decide whether they should proceed ahead with the course or go back to previous points and study the data once more.
- Make fun exercises, for example, games or other interactive exercises.
When learning is fun, individuals can sustain their attention longer on the subject. As you fuse exercises into your course, make sure to make it fun for the learner. Gamification of learning modules can increment the learning experience. Keep it in mind while making the games that they should not dominate the aim of the subject. Don’t forget that the plan of these exercises is to support the clarification of the subject.
- Make sure that exercises focus only on the course objective.
Make sure that regardless of what you do to engage the learner, the exercises must complement the course objectives. The appeal for many is to wind up so engaged in interactive exercises, that the purpose behind the course is frequently overlooked.
- Don’t let technology eclipse the course objectives.
Just like the last point, never permit technology to be the central focus of the course. Technology is a brilliant tool, but it needs to be utilized in a manner that helps the learner become familiar with the course objectives. If the technology starts to overshadow the subject and course, the learner will frequently miss the mark in realizing the course objectives.
Numerous innovative designs must be dropped as they just don’t work. In a similar manner, an efficient e-learning course can be not received well if it doesn’t work appropriately. Ease of use points to the testing of e-learning applications and content.
When you have completed developing your online course, you must test it in a similar environment that the learner will use to complete the course. Consider the below points when analyzing the ease-of-use of an online course.
- Test that all links work as intended.
- Ensure that exercises function as designed.
- Examine the content to guarantee that spelling and grammar are correct.
- Make sure that the graphics are clearly visible.
- Check that the course works properly in all applicable server environments.
- Confirm that the screen resolutions work for the learners (e.g., 800X600, 1024X768, etc.)
- Confirm that the course objectives and the expectations of the learners are achieved.
Knowing and understanding these 5 noteworthy e-learning components will help you to fabricate high-quality and successful online programs. This knowledge will also assist you in drafting the outline, format, structure, and flow of your e-learning portal. You can learn more about that in our next blog in this series.
Looking for e-learning mobile app development? Contact Zenesys.
Originally published on Zenesys