There are thousands of eLearning courses available for you to take for your professional development and enjoyment. So how do you decide which module to choose, especially since not all eLearning courses are designed and structured in the same way?
To help you make your decision, we have developed a list of five instructional design elements that we believe are essential for every eLearning course. Even if the topic is as simple as inflating a balloon, quality training should always be the goal for any instructional designer.
5 Essential Elements for eLearning Courses
- Concise and straightforward learning objectives
Well-developed learning objectives are critical to the success of any course. They provide direction to the learner, and the developer. Essentially, learning objectives explain what the course will cover before it even starts -- they set the expectations for the entire module. And when the module is complete, the learner should feel like the learning objectives were met. Therefore, before purchasing a course the learner should read the course description to make sure the learning objectives are concise and straightforward.
- User engagement
eLearning modules shouldn't just require the learners to read a ton of text slides, but should engage them with knowledge checks, assessment questions, activities, and videos. Activities could include drag-n-drops, fill-in-the-blanks, or even games like Jeopardy! and hangman. No one ever said that eLearning courses had to be boring! Let's be honest, accounting training isn't the spiciest, so having engaging activities is a must-have. One way to see if the course has interactions is by taking the course preview. However, previewing the courses might not always be an option.
At GAAP Dynamics, we make sure to include a variety of interactions within our eLearning courses for the learner. By keeping them engaged throughout the course, we are ensuring that they will walk away with a deeper understanding of the topic being discussed. For instance, when a learner performs a fill-in-the-blank exercise for a purchase price allocation, they are more likely to retain that knowledge. User engagement ensures that the learners will retain more information, which will allow them to be successful in their careers.
- Case discussion or real-life scenarios
While there are many benefits to real-life scenarios, the main advantage is that a learner can fail without having to deal with real consequences. The course is a safe and encouraging environment, where feedback is given instantly whether the learner gets the interaction right or wrong.
Course Interface Design
- Visually Appealing
The design of a course plays an important part in keeping the learner’s attention. Everything from the images, icons, colors, charts, and videos should be visually appealing. Personally, it would be hard for me to focus on text slides with no colors or images. However, it is possible to have too many visuals on one slide, and that can be distracting. Balance is critical when it comes to this particular element.
- Easy-to-use Navigation
This is probably one of the most critical elements for a learner. Being able to move through a course with ease will allow for a positive experience. If the buttons, links, or menu don't function properly or intuitively, the learner won't be able to get through the course successfully. We have recently changed the menu and player in our eLearning courses to make it easier for our learners to navigate through the course. Another important feature is that we only require the learner to complete the slide once to activate the next button. The best part is it will remain available if the learner decides to return. We truly want our users to have a stress-free experience when taking one of our courses.
While there are many more elements that make up an eLearning course, we feel that these five elements are crucial to the overall experience. So, while you might not know if a course is easy to use before taking it, it is important to share your experience with the developer. We here at GAAP Dynamics always welcome feedback because we strive to be the best. Since launching the Revolution last fall, we have made meaningful improvements to the design and structure of our courses, all due to our learners’ feedback.
This post is published to spread the love of GAAP and provided for informational purposes only. Although we are CPAs and have made every effort to ensure the factual accuracy of the post as of the date it was published, we are not responsible for your ultimate compliance with accounting or auditing standards and you agree not to hold us responsible for such. In addition, we take no responsibility for updating old posts, but may do so from time to time.