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How to Make E-Learning Courses on Dull Topics Engaging and Interesting

Damian HehirGeneral

How to Make E-Learning Courses on Dull Topics Engaging and Interesting

Running training courses on topics that are dry, dull, and heavy is not easy. Trainers and trainees can become frustrated leading to poor results and negative feedback. Luckily, it is possible to make e-learning courses on dull topics both engaging and interesting.

It takes planning and creativity, but the additional resources required to create the e-learning course will pay dividends.

Here are seven things you should think about when creating an e-learning course on a topic that is dull and unexciting.

1. Learner Relevance

Learners quickly switch off in training situations, including in e-learning courses, when they don’t feel the training has relevance for them. You must avoid this by getting an understanding of why the topic is important. Focus on the learner when answering this question, not your business – why should your employees, for example, care about the e-learning course topic?

In addition to understanding why the topic is important to the learner, you should also make the content relevant to the learner. One approach you can use to achieve this is to include scenarios as they help the learner see the practical relevance of the content.

Another strategy you can use is to personalise the e-learning experience to give the learner greater control.

2. Focus on the Design

Just because the topic is unexciting doesn’t mean you can make do with an unexciting design for your e-learning course. In fact, quite the opposite – the design should be professional and attractive as well as being as inspiring as possible.

3. Cut ALL Unnecessary Information

When dealing with a challenging e-learning course topic, you should not make the task more difficult by including unnecessary information. This will simply take up more of the learners’ time with very little benefit in return.

The better approach is to strip the content of the course down to the bare essentials and then presenting that information in the most interesting and engaging way possible. The following points include tips on how you can do that.

4. Avoid Long Paragraphs of Text

The first step to making content engaging and interesting is to avoid long paragraphs of text, particularly long-paragraphs that follow one after another. These are rarely necessary.

In fact, in my experience, it is always possible to find an alternative method of presenting the information. All the alternative presentation methods are preferable to large blocks of writing.

For example, you could use an image or, even better, an infographic. You could also create a short video that covers the content.

If text is necessary, use lists, short paragraphs, and short sentences. You may need to break the content up into different sections or modules to achieve this but doing so will improve the quality of your e-learning course and the results it achieves.

5. Avoid Jargon

Strip the e-learning course of jargon too, replacing it with everyday language that learners use. This particularly applies if the jargon is not part of the learner’s typical vocabulary.

When you use inappropriate jargon, you slow the learner down as they must find out what you are talking about.

An even worse situation occurs when the learner misses key points because he/she doesn’t find out the meaning of the jargon.

6. Use Gamification

Adding gamification to an e-learning course requires both educational and technical skills. That said, gamification is one of the best ways of transforming an e-learning course on a boring topic from something that is dull to something that is fun.

Adding social or competitive elements to gamification sections so learners can interact with their peers will achieve even better results.

7. Analyse Data

Data is important whatever type of e-learning course you create, but that importance is amplified when the topic is dull. This is because you can use the data to help you improve the course and make it more interesting.

The simplest way to do this is through learner feedback, i.e. asking users what they thought of the course. This will give you important information, but it is not the only source of data you have.

You should also look at the automatic data you get from the e-learning course.

For example:

  • Can you identify sections of the course where engagement levels drop?
  • Is there a quiz or review section where learners get more questions wrong than normal?
  • Is this because the quiz is harder than other quizzes in the course, or is it because they don’t find the content leading up to the quiz interesting enough?

You can take all this information and more to refine and optimise the course to make it as engaging as possible.

Your e-learning courses should achieve results. This applies whether the topic of the e-learning course is dull or not. If it is dull, follow the tips above to help you get the results you need.