Don’t let your online learning course suffer the fate of the Titanic – sunk during its maiden voyage into the competitive industry of elearning programs. Here are seven ways that you can adopt during the custom course development process to avoid sinking your elearning course during its first year of operations.
#1 Start with a Great Layout
First impressions count and this is all too true on the Internet where thousands of online learning courses compete for the attention of Netizens. You can make a favourable, if not fabulous, first impression on your target enrolees through an eye-catching layout (i.e., website design) coupled with user-friendly navigation (i.e., website development).
- Maximise space by creating a focal point, ensuring similar amount of spacing between lines, and using contrast for effect.
- Ensure easy-to-identify and easy-to-use navigation menu, which should ideally be limited to 5-10 items only. Remember that users want information about where they are on the site and directions to their desired page.
- Provide a search function preferably at the top right corner.
- Develop easy-to-recognise unique buttons for your website.
Other ways to enhance enjoyment of the online learning course among students are to select attractive and interactive images; use interesting and easy-to-read typefaces; provide for community interactions including chat boxes and discussion boards. All of these should be incorporated at every step of the custom course development process.
#2 Ensure Excellent Content
While first impressions through website design count, keep in mind that sustaining the interest of students in the online learning course has greater weight in the general scheme. The best way to sustain the students’ interest, which will allow them to learn more from the course, is to ensure excellent course content.
- Ensure that the course goals, objectives and subjects are in alignment with the educational needs and wants of students as well as the regulatory requirements set by the government.
- Check that there are no spelling, grammatical and sentence structure errors on the content (Checklist). Avoid using technical jargon, bloated wording, and made-up words, among others.
Content, after all, is king! Many of the crucial aspects of the custom course development process focus on this fact of Internet life.
#3 Provide Community Interaction
The best online learning courses provide students and teachers with ample opportunity to interact on three levels, namely:
- With the course itself
- With their teachers
- With their fellow students
Always remember that while technology is used as a medium of instruction, the learners are human and, thus, the importance of human-to-human communication cannot be overemphasised.
#4 Avoid Information Overload
Students benefit more from online learning courses when these are not overloaded with information, such as obscure and obvious facts and figures. Keep all the information on each page relevant, reliable and concise, thus, allowing students to get information in manageable chunks.
This also applies to the website design in terms of avoidance of too many graphics, images and texts on the pages. Keep the eyes occupied but not too occupied as to overload them with clashing colours, among others.
#5 Skip the Word-for-word Narration
Show, don’t tell. This is the motto of the experts in custom course development especially where the texts and their accompanying images are concerned. The text should ideally not be considered as closed captioning but as a short summary of the narrative.
#6 Incorporate Audio-video Components
Students enrolled in online learning courses learn better when the texts are complemented by audio-video components. This is because students learn in different ways, thus, it is a good idea to incorporate various learning methods into the course. For example, a student may learn faster through texts while another student learns more from audio-video presentations.
#7 Conduct Regular Evaluations
When it comes to online learning courses, regular evaluations (e.g., assessments of performance and satisfaction among students and teachers) should be made. In the fast-changing world of online education, every year will usher in significant trends in many aspects from the technology used to the learning principles applied. Besides, just because something does not appear to be broken, it does not necessarily mean that everything is as should be.
Ultimately, you can avoid the sinking of your online learning course by always being vigilant and conducting regular audits on the content and satisfaction amongst students.