14 eLearning Content Development Tips & Trends to Create Engaging Programs
eLearning gives organizations the flexibility that online courses offer, but creating engaging, impactful courses can be harder than you think.
For some employees, the change from traditional classroom-based learning to eLearning will be too much—resulting in a lack of understanding and no buy-in.
Luckily, your eLearning content doesn’t have to go to waste. Here are 14 of the latest trends in eLearning content development, to help you create courses that employees not only want to complete–but are also excited about.
Important eLearning content development trends
A typical learner’s attention span dwindles after about 15 to 20 minutes. Chances are, your eLearning programs span much longer than that.
Let’s dive into 14 eLearning content development tips to keep learners engaged throughout.
- Adaptive learning
- Immersive learning
- Interactive learning
- Mobile learning
- Social learning
- Video-based learning
- Artificial intelligence
- Authoring tools
- Brandable and customizable platforms
- Higher quality experiences
Adaptive learning uses technology and data (gathered both before and throughout the process) to provide tailored learning pathways.
Instead of one-size-fits-all eLearning programs, each employee gets customized training. It’s tailored to their level of experience, existing skill set, and role. Because why should a customer service manager have access to training in construction skills?
Adaptive learning gives each employee their own unique training program. The result? Lasting learning outcomes compared to non-adaptive teaching methods.
Gamification is the process of turning eLearning content into fun, interactive games. Popular examples include tying points or rewards to an online learning program.
Take Algolia, a SaaS company that used WorkRamp to create a comprehensive learning experience. The company produced pop-up quizzes, interactive videos, and matching games.
Research shows that 72 percent of employees say gamification is the key to staying engaged in training. This is proven here; Algolia’s training completion rates rose to 90 percent.
Include gamification in your eLearning by recognizing and rewarding great results for an end-of-module assessment. Celebrate employee wins with points, badges, and tangible rewards.
Immersive learning uses artificial simulations of real-life scenarios to teach new skills and knowledge using augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) equipment.
Allow learners to experience a situation they might have to address in the real world with VR. This could include safety protocols, where staff use immersive learning to observe hazardous situations (such as faulty machinery or chemical spills) and practice skills that help them overcome challenges.
This type of eLearning means staff are fully engaged in activities—and not absorbed in other aspects of life, such as checking social media or chatting with coworkers.
Immersive learning also encourages teamwork. Teams can complete activities together, sharing knowledge and ideas.
Engaging eLearning courses use a combination of interactive formats. Interactive learning helps employees retain information longer, allowing them to actively process and apply new lessons quickly.
Sprout Social included interactive content like flip cards, video, and audio in their training program—resulting in a 95 percent learner satisfaction rate.
Provide interactive eLearning to your workforce by including:
- Virtual role plays, such as handling common customer service problems or managing disruptive teams
- Buttons for reflection, which prompt learners to record what they’ve learned
- Questions that require employees to justify certain answers based on course content
Some 65 percent of employees are overwhelmed by the amount of information given to them from traditional training courses. Microlearning teaches important topics in bite-sized chunks, helping employees retain information faster and longer.
Microlearning can easily slot into an employee’s schedule; they don’t have to allocate special time to learn.
Bite-sized training allows you to reach distributed teams easily. Offer easy access to rich learning content in real-time with videos or pop-up explanations to deliver product updates, leadership development, and compliance training.
Our smartphones are often glued to our hands, making mobile learning a great way for staff to learn on the go. Plus, 70 percent of people are more motivated to learn using mobile devices instead of computers.
Give users flexibility with how long they want each session to last. Mobile learning allows them to study whenever they have a gap in their schedule. Employees can quickly share an idea with colleagues, post a question in your company’s Slack group, or look up relevant information via search engines.
Personalized learning gives employees control of what they are learning and when and how learning takes place. And when employees have some decision-making power, they feel empowered and committed to achieving their full potential.
What’s more, businesses that invest in employee experience boast 4x higher profitability than competitors. And perhaps more importantly, those with highly engaged employees outperform competitors by a staggering 147 percent.
Personalized eLearning allows employees to set their own goals and go at their own pace. Offer this to your employees with:
- Customizable systems. Allow learners to choose fonts, backgrounds, and light and dark modes.
- Control over how they want to learn. Allow staff to choose between different formats, such as videos, podcasts, or text.
- Providing different learning sequences. Connect eLearning modules with other training so employees don’t have to learn in a particular order or sequence.
The social learning theory says behavior is learned by observing and imitating others. eLearning lets employees copy their peers’ behavior,, improving communication and morale—two elements that help teams excel.
Build social interaction in your learning content that allows employees to discuss activities. Use WorkRamp’s built-in tools like video, audio, and interactive whiteboards for employees to give their answers or express opinions.
Most importantly, encourage employees to share previous work experiences with their peers. Others can learn from good practice and previous mistakes.
Video-based learning is a remote training method that uses live or pre-recorded video to teach new skills and knowledge. It’s particularly useful for non-office-based employees and can be standalone or part of a blended learning approach.
Video-based learning has a positive impact on retention. In fact, information is maintained for up to a month longer than conventional learning methods, making it one of the most useful training tools.
Incorporate video into your eLearning program by embedding expert-led explainer videos or onboarding information for new hires. Keep videos interactive with quizzes or whiteboard sketches; employees prefer these over traditional videos.
Do you know how effective your eLearning content is? Analyze your analytics to understand how many employees use your programs to the formats they’re engaging with the most to fine-tune your future content.
With WorkRamp, you’ll get the full picture with dashboards that track learner progress. Measure performance, such as employee engagement or audience segmentation. You’ll make data-driven decisions when developing future eLearning courses.
The artificial intelligence (AI) industry market size is expected to be worth $266.92 billion by 2027. Yet surprisingly, almost a quarter of businesses don’t recognize the need for AI at all.
Artificial intelligence helps make the content creation process simpler, faster, and more flexible—without compromising course quality. Use it to complement eLearning content programs by:
- Using automatic translation and localization features
- Harnessing chatbots or virtual assistants to answer learner questions that might otherwise have been sent directly to the instructor—saving time and getting an immediate response
- Providing grading assistance to score end-of-module tests and offering feedback
A learning culture is an environment that encourages the entire team to continually learn and share knowledge with their colleagues.
Authoring tools help organizations build a culture of learning since individual employees can create their own learning content.
Whether it’s a presentation or text-based documentation of a strategy they’ve developed, employees get total ownership over their content. It’s this type of recognition that employees want from managers.
Brandable and customizable platforms
A learning management system (LMS) is a tool that oversees all learning and development activities for an organization. But not all tools are created equal.
The best learning platforms allow you to customize eLearning with interfaces that complement your brand. Share your mission statement, values, and principles, and include them in eLearning programs. It’s this consistency in employer branding that CIPD says is critical for attracting potential candidates.
Similarly, look for a learning platform with the ability to offer content based on an employee’s learning history, as well as their role. An aspiring manager, for example, should be able to find more leadership-based training materials within the LMS.
WorkRamp’s customizable options allow you to add other helpful learning material, such as a FAQ document or help section to your course—improving an employee’s overall learning experience.
Higher-quality learning experiences
Employees who feel that their skills are not being used in their current job are 10x more likely to be looking for a new job. Offer higher quality eLearning experiences by:
- Supporting inclusive learning. Give equal opportunities and equal rights as others to learn by making sure the courses are accessible to all.
- Co-developing courses with employees. Involving members of your workforce can help develop or revamp existing eLearning courses. Employees can offer an alternative view of what they liked best and which parts they didn’t (and why).
- Offering strategies for community building. Learning doesn’t have to stop once the course has finished. Create opportunities for employees to share new skills and knowledge with the rest of the organization.
How to develop eLearning content
Now we know the eLearning content development tips and trends driving the industry, the real question is: how can you put them into practice?
Here’s a four-step guide to creating effective eLearning content.
Define the audience
Who is your content for?
Maybe you have a particular priority to upskill middle managers into senior roles. Perhaps you want to develop an eLearning course for new hires. Either way, identify and find out as much as possible about your learners before creating any content.
Taking both of these examples into account, you’ll see that the content will be completely different. Leadership training may include role-playing activities that managers have to practice. eLearning content for new hires, on the other hand, would likely include information about company policies and an introduction to your products.
An eLearning course that’s aimed at the wrong skill level or job role won’t deliver results—for employees or for you. So, get clear on who you’re creating the content for first.
Develop the learning objectives
Learning objectives show what each employee should be able to do after completing the training. Without them, it’ll be difficult to stay on track. Employees also won’t have clear expectations of what they should digest.
Keep learning objectives simple by relating them to overall course objectives. For example:
- After taking this eLearning course, new hires will understand company policies and our vision and know who to go to for help and support.
- This module will teach learners how to manage conflict in the workplace using basic conflict management techniques.
- On completion of this course, employees will be able to list five benefits of effective communication in their team and relate this to everyday practice.
Review learning objectives at the end of training. It’s the only way to measure success and determine whether your eLearning content is improving employee knowledge.
Create the course design
Say goodbye to dull learning content. Create a course that’s exciting and fun to complete, and you’re bound to see an increase in employee participation.
Solve content creation problems with ready-made templates and pre-built learning content from WorkRamp. You’ll have access to a range of formats, from video and graphics to audio content.
Evaluate the learners
Make evaluation a standard part of your practice. Gather feedback from learners with evaluation tools, such as online polls or more meaningful qualitative questionnaires. Combine this with analytics from your LMS to inform your next steps.
If your learning platform shows employees answer the end-of-module questions incorrectly, for example, you might need to re-explain a section. Fine-tune the course with further clarification and additional supporting resources.
Level up your eLearning content development
eLearning content development doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. The strategies we’ve listed here can help you develop eLearning courses that employees enjoy and are eager to undertake.
Get access to pre-built content and customizable options that you can tailor to individual needs with WorkRamp. Use reporting functions to measure performance, analyze trends, and track training eLearning effectiveness.
If you’d like to learn more about how WorkRamp can help you create the ideal eLearning solution for your organization, contact us for a free, personalized demo.
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Elise Dopson is a freelance writer for B2B SaaS companies. She’s also the co-founder of Peak Freelance and mom to an adorable Spaniel pup.
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