Online Learners: How to Make Them Happy

Justine Ickes
Jun 20, 2014 8:46:00 AM

Number of correct answers. Time on site. In the world of online education it’s not just the instructional designers who are keeping score. Today’s tech-savvy online learners are rating their experience, too. Except, instead of grades, they’re tracking things like how easy it is to find their way around your online classes, how much they’ve learned, and whether the course is boring or not. Want to get high marks for your e-learning course? Try adopting the 5 C’s.

Content: Whether it’s a craft beer hobbyist in search of a recipe or an events organizer looking for inspiration, people want content that they can use right now. So, when you’re designing your course, it’s important to understand what your learners needs are because they'll help you< identify your core content.

Context: Once you’ve identified the key information, the next step is figuring out how to present it. Adults prefer learning activities that are as close to real life as possible. Take the events planner example. Let’s say she’s been asked to moderate a panel at an industry conference. It’s her first time doing this and she wants to look good. Instead of a boring page of text with tips, how about creating a video montage that shows exceptional moderators in action? Whenever you're creating a course, always consider how you can better engage learners, as it'll make your course both more exciting and more effective.

Customization: You’ll want to consider learning styles, too, when developing your course. Failing to do so is one of the four common mistakes that we often see in consumer learning. Have you incorporated video for the visual learners? Is there a way for people to take online notes so they can refer back to them later?

Customization also refers to the look and feel of your online education program. The good news is today’s user-friendly platforms make it easy to create online courses that set you apart from the competition. With WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editors, you can leave look-alike design behind and incorporate your brand’s logo, colors, fonts and graphics.

Challenge and Competition: The exponential growth of gaming has been a real boon for online education. And, increasingly, brands, publishers, and experts are leveraging games to boost learning. How will you make your courses fun and engaging, especially for people learning on their own? A multiple choice quiz is one way. Your online learners can test what they know at the start of the course and then compare their results once they’ve completed a module.

Connection and Conversation: Social media is everywhere these days. But is there a place for it in your consumer learning? Again, like so much of online education, it depends. Consider your course objectives and your learners’ needs first. Maybe it’s a good idea to enable the chat function for those learners who enjoy interacting with other people? Or you might stick with simple one-to-one email exchanges between the instructor and individual learners.>

If you think about and address the 5Cs, you'll keep your online learners happy and coming back for more. 

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