When it comes to modern learners, time is of the essence. In a fast-paced world, they are seeking information available at the drop of a hat and they really know their way around the web to easily find what they want to know. So when you’re faced with an audience of users with shortened attention spans and/or less time available to get necessary information, how do you keep them engaged?
Fit everyone’s schedule
If you want to make your program more accessible to anyone at any time of day, you will need to take the on-demand route (not unlike mega-successful Netflix). Your modern e-learners are seeking platforms where they can learn what they want to learn at their every whim. Waiting for time slots doesn’t appeal to this audience, as it may clash with their schedules or they may simply lose interest altogether. Pre-recorded and on-demand education works in your favour, too. You’ll be able to re-use materials across years, rather than bringing in new instructors each time to conduct new lectures.
Welcome users back
Allowing your users to work at their own pace and on their own schedules may mean some erratic metrics when it comes to your average daily users. You may find that some users are very active for a few weeks, followed by an idle period for a few weeks, and so on and on. But chances are, your users will come back after these bouts of absence, and when they do, be ready. Make it easy for your e-learners to pick up where they left off, without penalty. Recommend some refresher exercises, but don’t send them backwards.
Keep it short and sweet
Structure your course content in a way that is easily digestible. Full-length videos and lectures have no place in the modern e-learners’ schedules, so break it down into components no more than a few minutes each. And when creating your content, just delve right into the need-to-know information and avoid the fluffy introductions.
Make it interactive
Develop some e-learning components that require participation from your audience. This can take the form of quizzes, practice exercises, or a rewards program that they can share on social media as they progress. Interactivity will also help with content retention, so users will be able to make the most out of their learning experience.
Add some fun
One of the best ways to keep any audience engaged is to make the material fun. Often, this can take the form of educational games. A trivia-style component, complete with timers, hints, and rewards can keep users engaged at length. Content aside, the game modules alone might just be enough to keep your users eager to continue.
Integrate social media
Adding a social outlet to your course is a fantastic way to make your users feel less isolated with their learning experience. Linking the program to social media allows them to interact with other learners while holding each other accountable for regular progress. It’s also a way for users to show off their progress to their circles (which is great marketing for you, by the way!).
When you design your e-learning curriculum (and e-learning platform design), try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is tech savvy, working from multiple devices, and strapped for time. Doing so, will guide you to a strategy that will help you yield more user engagement. And once you have a strategy in place, be sure to collect user feedback along the way. Hint: you’ll want to make the feedback system brief and seamless as well, because remember—it’s all about time!
Emily Burgess is part of the team behind Course Guru, an Australian business
specializing in online training and education. She likes to share her professional experiences and insights through blogging.