eLearning 101: Design Features That Increase Learner Engagement

You’re elearning might contain really interesting content, but if it doesn’t look visually appealing, it may fail to engage your learners properly which could have a negative impact on their performance.

Learner engagement is everything. Incorporating graphics, animations and other features in your elearning can transform the learner’s experience from “check-the-box” to “outside-the-box”…

Why is the design so important?

Everyone has an opinion on design and it can be subjective. Certain issues can be more clearly understood when they are conceptualized or when images are used. Courses come to life and learning becomes colorful fun and exciting, thanks to creative use of technology and the many tools it offers.

Words translate to characters, action and motion, attracting and retaining audience attention. Information becomes visualized, making it easier to understand and correlate with other facts. You will often see this on the news reports, where infographics are employed to help educate the viewer on a current event and to reinforce messages.

4 Design Elements That Engage eLearners

  • Graphics

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!” We have all heard that cliché… There’s just one important caveat: It has to be the right picture. And sometimes, getting the right picture still isn’t enough. Even the most relevant graphic, if executed poorly or laid out haphazardly, will not enhance elearning, but quite possibly will depress it.

Visuals are employed to enhance content, and help tell the story. Embedding dry, technical content in exotic and visually rich fantasy or game themes, the learning experience is more motivating. Text can be devoid of emotion, so we incorporate visuals that appeal to the senses.

  • Animation

If it’s within your budget to do so, why not go a step beyond graphics and incorporate animation into your elearning. Using animated cartoon type characters such as ‘Charlie’, from Interactive Services recent Wealth Management Compliance Training Case Study, can help set the tone for an eLearning course add entertainment value, thus engaging learners more with the content of the course and helping them to retain more information in the process.

It can increase your development costs, but animation is a powerful tool in bringing your learning to life and capture the imagination of learners.

  • Game Elements

People love games. And when it comes to training, using game elements as part of the eLearning experience can really improve the level of engagement.

The focus should not be on trying to create a “game,” but rather use game mechanics in your elearning design and try to achieve that same level of engagement with learners that video games achieve with gamers.

In order to achieve success using game elements, designers must look beyond superficial interface characteristics and explore the factors that create engagement, motivation, and commitment to action.

  • Quizzes, Assessments and Challenges

Whether we realize it or not, we love to be challenged. Consistently. It’s how we develop, grow, adapt and feel like we’ve achieved. With this in mind, develop elearning that educates but also tests learners knowledge once they’ve completed their training. Or better yet, test them at different stages of their training, thus keeping them on their toes.

Quizzes, assessments or challenges of any kind get learners to really think about what it is they are learning. This is likely to increase their level of knowledge retention. Challenges prove particularly effective when used as part of game-based eLearning.

Building interactive quizzes, surveys and questionnaires are an ideal way to challenge learners and track their level of knowledge.

Regardless what style of eLearning you plan on developing, the cornerstone for success is the creative concept – a strong idea or story that wraps the course. An instructionally sound course is enhanced when a robust storyline is threaded through the content, supported with really strong interaction and amazing visuals.

Incorporating design elements such as those highlighted in this article will go a long way to helping increase the rate of success of any elearning course.

About Us

Interactive Services develops custom elearning and blended learning solutions for global Fortune 1000 organizations. We work with the world’s leading brands to develop their training in areas such as compliance, sales, production, and technical among others.

If your organization would like to discuss development of innovative training solutions that improve performance, please contact us to speak to one of our learning experts today!