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5 creative ways to banish uninspiring elearning for good


What’s the top complaint from learners about elearning content?

There are no prizes for identifying that the biggest gripe about content is around it being dull and boring. In fact, according to research by Towards Maturity involving thousands of corporate learners, over a third (35%) think “uninspiring” content is stopping them learning online.

But perhaps the more interesting question is, why is this still a problem when learning leaders are familiar with this complaint from their people? That’s a difficult one to answer. The Towards Maturity study points to other reasons why elearning isn’t as effective as it should be, such as unsuitable IT equipment, nowhere to study and a lack of time for self-study. But these can be fixed.  It’s a lot harder to consistently deliver great content that inspires, motivates and engages people, and perhaps this explains why the boring label still haunts elearning.

It doesn’t have to be that way if you devote the creative energy to elearning that it deserves. 

Here are five tips for banishing uninspiring content and bringing elearning to life:

1. Start with the people

One person’s amazingly interesting content is another person’s waste of time. That’s why creativity must start with getting to know the audience. By digging deep into what they need, you will gain insight into what motivates them and what will be most useful. Only then will you be able to pinpoint the best way to connect with people, so they find elearning both engaging and relevant.

2. Tell a story

We’re hard wired to respond to stories. Princeton Professor, Uri Hasson has researched the neurological reaction of the brain to storytelling and observed how stories literally knock our brains into sync with others. Using storytelling with elearning enables people to connect more deeply with the content and makes it more digestible and memorable.

3. Activate the experience

Flat, linear content makes for a dull time. Inject interactivity to make people think, take decisions, even fail and try again. The technological options for adding interactivity to elearning are many and varied from interactive video to animated branching scenarios. Look for opportunities to put people in the driving seat and allow them to take control.

4. Play a game

One of the most dynamic ways to pep up elearning content is through the world of games. It might be a case of borrowing game mechanics to use within elearning or going further to create an entire learning game, like GDPR Sorted! Either way, games drive participation and motivate people to master the topic. True learning games are also experiential, so people learn as they play.  

5. Try something new

Sometimes, you need to expose your people to new experiences; mix it up to stop them getting bored and familiar with a certain style of content.  Beyond novelty, experimenting can be beneficial for the business in terms of finding new ways to reach with audiences. Virtual reality (VR) is starting to become more widespread within elearning. It’s immersive nature can make for an exciting experience and our own research suggests that people find it enjoyable. A great example is a new training programme we created for Royal Mail, using VR to help postal workers avoid dog attacks.

Of course, there are limitless ways to bring more creativity to elearning content and enthuse people as they learn. And learners are crying out for it. The Towards Maturity research reports that 24% of employees questioned listed game-based elements as an essential feature in their online learning experience, putting them top of the ‘most essential feature’ chart. Further evidence suggests the companies having the greatest success with workplace learning are embracing rich, dynamic and highly interactive features in their digital learning.

So, creativity in elearning is linked to success. How inspiring is that?