05 January 2022

Online learning has allowed education to become more accessible to learners than ever before. Traditional learning environments can be very limited in their ability to provide quality education in ways that take into account the different needs of each learner. As e-learning evolves and becomes more commonplace, the future of learning will likely be a hybridized version of both online and in-person classrooms. Thus, it is essential that educational materials can be translated smoothly between in-person and online environments.

Importance of Engagement

When transitioning from an in-person learning environment to an online learning environment, teaching materials must be translated smoothly and in a way that engages online learners. Though there are many benefits to online learning, one of its drawbacks can be largely passive. Unlike in-person learning, many online learning lessons are pre-recorded. As a result, there is little interaction between learner and instructor, making it harder for learners to feel engaged with the material. The level of engagement with the learning material can determine whether they complete a course and have a positive learning outcome. Without interactive materials, it is easy for learners to fall behind or completely drop an e-learning course because they don’t feel that they are getting any value from it. Research shows that students who participate in engaged and active learning often have a more meaningful learning experience, more motivation to succeed, and higher academic performance levels. As e-learning advances, online teaching materials must be translated in ways that will engage online learners the most.

Use Existing Tools to Your Advantage

If the problem that online education providers face is that learners online are less engaged, how do we make online learning more engaging? For starters, education providers should use the tools they already have to their advantage. E-learning materials can exist in many forms, ranging from video and audio to kinesthetic. Educational providers should utilize these various mediums to disseminate information to their students in more interactive ways. For example, instead of just assigning reading materials to a student, an educational provider could also mix in video and audio materials, such as educational YouTube videos or podcasts. By engaging learners with a variety of teaching materials, education providers can activate their learners on different levels, providing them with various ways to immerse themselves in the material.

Make it More Digestible

Many training materials can be very long, bland, and unappealing when it comes to corporate training. Employees are not likely to feel engaged with the material they need to learn if they have a long and tedious manual to read. Corporate trainers looking to create engaging online training material should invest in creating interactive tutorials for employees. With video tutorials, employees can be given a step-by-step guide that breaks down the material they need to learn. Video tutorials can also give them real-world visual examples of what they need to know, which will help them absorb the material better. And by utilizing a mix of clips, illustrations, and audio instruction, educational providers can create training content that is much more interesting and easier to comprehend.

Incorporate Microlearning

Not all education needs to be long-form. Not every learner needs or gets value out of long lectures and drawn-out courses. Some learners learn better when given educational material in short increments. To create more engagement amongst learners, education providers should invest in microlearning alongside more long-form content. Examples of this can include adding a short video or audio clips that give learners quick tips and anecdotes about what they are learning. They can either provide them with a real-world scenario where they would utilize the skills they are learning or personal anecdotes that make the material more pertinent to learners.

Make Testing More Interactive

Testing can be a great way to get a feel for a learner’s ability and where they may be struggling. Traditional testing methods such as multiple choice can be less engaging and may not give educational providers enough insight into how their learners learn best. Making testing more multifaceted can help educational providers better assess their learners’ abilities. For example, instead of having a multiple-choice quiz, teachers can try a simulation to test learners. With a simulation, the learner can test their skills by participating in a scenario that mimics their experience in the real world. A simulation can help learners focus on utilizing the skills they have learned and gives educational providers a more well-rounded analysis of their learners’ capabilities and where and how they can improve. E-learning platforms can also offer educational providers authoring tools to make tests more personalized for their learners.

Gamify Learning

E-learning allows education to be absorbed and tested in a variety of ways. One of the ways that education providers can make their educational materials more active for their learners is by gamifying them. Gamification can help learners feel more motivated to complete courses, as it is an interactive method by which they learn. Adding features like levels, point accumulation, and prizes give the learner incentives to persist and improve. Gamification can also help educational providers assess a learner’s progress and the areas they need to improve.

Incorporate Learners’ Perspective into the Teaching Material

It is crucial that learners feel that they are being heard in an educational environment. Educational providers hoping to translate their materials most effectively online should keep the perspectives of their learners in mind. Surveying a classroom can help an instructor understand how their learners absorb information best and determine how they will translate their materials. E-learning programs should have a survey element that allows learners to express how they feel about the course they are taking, what they think the course does well, and what they believe can be improved upon in the course. With this information in mind, course materials can be changed to better suit learners in the future.