Training organisations, both public and private, are making the transition towards e-Learning to enable learning continuity and provide the flexibility of remote learning demanded by their users. The quality and suitability of digital learning content is key to its effectiveness. Content creators and teachers need to understand the importance which engaging content has in online learning.
How good content can make a difference
Online learning is largely driven by the learner, unlike in a live training setting where the teacher or trainer leads it. Often, online courses are self-paced and it is the learning material and the way it is structured or presented that creates student engagement. In order to achieve this, content should:
- Spark curiosity
- Encourage further learning
- Test understanding in an engaging way
- Allow for shared learning with other learners
- Facilitate participation and involvement
Characteristics of engaging content
Creating engaging content is a skill, so using the services of an experienced service provider with a good portfolio is recommended. Characteristics of good content include:
- Visual appeal: good use of colour and clean design which fits in with your company branding
- Relevant and concise: modules should be not be too long, with the information presented in easily-digestible sections
- Interactivity: the more a learner can interact, the better the engagement will be
- Assessments: crucial to gauge learner progress; make sure the LMS you use also incorporates good reporting functionality
- Scope for exploration: including references and links in the content for learners to access deeper levels of understanding will encourage more advanced students and keep them challenged and interested
Types of content
Digital content can be produced in many different ways, using different methodologies, so it is vital that your approach suits the source material, audience, learning management system, and budget.
Level of learner engagement increases with interactivity, so an e-book containing interactive elements and built-in assessments is going to produce far better results than a standard document. Video content varies widely in methodology and quality of production; in this sense, you truly get what you pay for. Presenter-to-camera with video cutaways, animations are what should be aimed for if budget allows. Augmented and virtual reality can also be extremely effective for certain applications.
When it comes to content, the service provider you choose is essential. Look for a track record, ask to see their portfolio of work and preferably choose a company which has the ability to manage the entire process, including content gathering, scripting, talent booking, location scouting, production and authoring.