As the world goes digital, the education sector too has evolved to embrace online tools. It’s done to make learning attractive, relevant, contextual and immersive. The World Wide Web has made available a wealth of information at our fingertips. Learners are no longer restricted to a unidimensional experience of learning with a flow of information from the teacher to the taught.
Learners, today, are informed, demanding and immune to accept anything at face value. On the flip side, the attention span of the millennial generation is waning. With smartphones in their hands, these learners want information anywhere, anytime and with just a few clicks of the button. Educators must adapt to the realities of today. Courses must be redesigned. Lessons to be moved to online to keep the impatient new-generation learners engaged and focussed on the subject under study.
Here are some tips to maximize the engagement in an eLearning setup.
1) Microlearning: In a world of endless diversions and dwindling attention spans, the 90/20/8 is the new mantra to design a more engaging eLearning experience. For instance, if you’re planning for a 90-minute session, be ensured that your audience will listen to you for 20 minutes. Post which, they would need a 10-minute break. The range will vary based on your training material.
Publishers, trainers, and educators can make learning more engaging by designing content in small and very specific nuggets or micro bites. A microlearning nugget is usually within a 20-minute window. This means that learners during this period are more alert, more engaged and therefore are more likely to show interest and retain their learning.
2) Use gamification principles: What better way to engage learners than through games? Gamification is the process of integrating game strategies, such as point scoring, competition features, rules of play etc., to an already existing website, enterprise application or an online community. An integral element of any learning or training program, gamification helps to simplify learning and make it more immersive and interactive through active participation and observation.
3) Mobile learning: As these mobile devices become the preferred tool to access the Internet, more and more educators and trainers are designing their eLearning programs around the mobile phone. They aim to enable the learners to access the content anywhere and the time when they most need it. To make mobile learning content more engaging, developers should ensure fluidity in content flow and easy navigation to keep the learners engaged in the course.
4) Augmented reality: Augmented reality enhances real-world settings through simulations. It adds a layer of ‘reality’, ‘adventure’, mystery’ and ‘puzzle-solving’, to the subject under study, thus making learning a more engaging and immersive experience. For instance, a teacher teaching human anatomy in class. Through a 3D diagram, the teacher can show the ‘live’ functioning of the heart, thus making learning more relevant, practical and contextual for the learner.
5) Real-time monitoring: All said, the best learning outcomes happen with human interaction. While eLearning provides instant access to information and the opportunity to learn through interactive tools, coaching and mentorship in the traditional classroom give the much-needed human touch to complete the learning experience. Therefore, blended learning, that is a combination of eLearning and traditional classroom learning, is an ideal way to make the learning experience more relevant and engaging.
Learning today is not about information transmission. In a world powered by digital media, students demand engagement. Educators and publishers can fulfill this by harnessing advances in technology to their advantage. They can engage their end-learners by designing their content in micro-nuggets and adding relevant links, audio/video tools, interactive features and feedback opportunities to provide students with a more engaging eLearning experience.