Corporate Training & e-Learning Blog


Make e-Learning Engaging - Please!

We've all seen dead-boring e-learning courses. Heck, many of us have probably been involved in creating less than stellar e-learning. But we all have had to start somewhere. And we have all seen (or at least heard about) the high drop-out rates of e-learners. Today, of course, we find ourselves in the new world of "e-learning 2.0" with uncountable tools at our disposable (including the web), some of which make developing effective and engaging e-courses not only easy but pleasurable! But what can we really do to keep learners engaged and ensure that they will complete their e-learning modules?

Allison Rossett and Antonia Chan wrote a useful white paper for Adobe Systems, called Engaging with the New eLearning, in which they offer 12 great suggestions. These are the high-level highlights:
  1. Participants must believe the e-learning will be useful to them.
  2. If value for the participants is not obvious, provide a vivid example to make it obvious.
  3. The program must provide opportunities for success, never failure or uncertainty.
  4. Make the program real to participants by, for example, anchoring the topic to something familiar to them.
  5. Since participant involvement will be required, demonstrate what that participation might look like.
  6. Make the program active and thought-provoking - keep participants doing and thinking.
  7. Make it human by including stories, lessons learned, quotes, anecdotal trivia, etc.
  8. Guide and track participants.
  9. Blend your e-learning program with other learning tools and opportunities, such as blogs, a performance support tool, an online assessment, online chats with fellow learners, a forum, videos, etc.
  10. Use online communities to help participants form relationships, collaborate, and work as a team with others - by using a blog, wiki, discussion board, and other online tools.
  11. Make it POP! Add some WOW! This requires creating something dramatic, compelling, and authentic that is still also perceived as valuable to the learner.
  12. Measure results and effectiveness, and keep on improving.
You don't have to begin implementing all 12 of these recommendations at once. Ease into them and have fun. If you're having fun, chances are better that your learners will have fun. Good luck!


  • Thank you. This is really, really helpful. My organization has created our first eLearning course and the suggestions listed are a useful checklist for those of us in the BETA stage of design and development. We can't control what people believe...or maybe we can by inspiring that confidence and desire to experience personal development via online learning.

    By Anonymous Delores, at 10:15 PM EDT  

  • Most of Dr. Rossett's suggestions seem excellent and sensible.

    The one that I found curious was the third regarding making sure there's no opportunity to fail. It seems to me that in my prior roles, whether it's with training simulations of semiconductor wafers, or with patients in health care, eLearning job simulations provide an opportunity to practice, and fail, in a safe environment. It reduced the learner's anxiety about practicing in high-stakes environments. Perhaps this isn't the sort of eLearning that Dr. Rossett and you referenced, and of course I agree that we want the learner to eventually feel successful, but I thought this point was worth making.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.


    By OpenID The Scientific Leader, at 9:11 AM EDT  

  • I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to

    say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    By Blogger sarah, at 3:02 AM EST  

  • Some company are doing well on Corporate training, some others don't. I just remember a case that happened recently. I was invited to submit proposal for corporate training program at a Japanese corporation, a major shipping company. During the conversation, I realized that the management is quite committed to developing its staff. However, the approach to corporate training as how they are taking is insufficient. Interesting facts that I found include the followings:

    Staff don't see a benefit of training course, that's why they're lack of motivation to sit in for a training workshop
    Training programs don't make a link between Company objectives/performance, Department objectives and individual performance. Evidences are: The company just pick up/buy Courses and send staff to the events, and ignore what their truly needs are. These needs should be generated from company objectives, and individual performance which is a matter of each person' strengths & weaknesses
    Company doesn't have a training system in general such as policy, guidelines, tools... Such system should be in place to help staff see certain benefit in people development and to help managers evaluate the performance of their subordinates after learning
    Last point, the training budget is not built on a thorough analysis.
    After that session, the company decided to stop shopping for courses and start to build a solid base about training system. As now they realize that their approach to corporate training is not appropriate and something should be changed.

    By Anonymous usa jobs, at 12:15 PM EST  

  • Heartiest thank you for-
    "Make e-Learning Engaging - Please!"
    Really i agree with post.

    By Blogger dipika, at 3:18 AM EDT  

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