How To Crack Communication Skills On eCourses
eLearning courses can be hugely beneficial, but it’s also important to remember how the online world differs greatly from being sat in the same room as someone. It’s important that the eLearning course, and its structure, doesn’t fall victim to these common issues below, which are often the reason why eLearning fails.
Why eLearning Fails
1. Boring Videos With No Personality
Smartphones can now replace a film crew and the need to have the standard white wall behind you is a bit passe, so many of us are working in hybrid situations. If you’re in your lounge and that matches your branding, then go for it. Just remember to roll the shopping bags behind the sofa. You can’t separate people skills from personality, so show yours!
2. Too Much Theory
I train technical specialists who, like me, could geek out on the scientific basis of gesture, but they know only too well that the mastery is in the application. This application should be directly relevant to their world. The theory adds the scientific basis, but without a pragmatic angle your learners will consider your content interesting but won’t use it and is a reason why eLearning fails.
3. No Dopamine Fixes
The ability to check off lessons gives a sense of completion. Short quizzes, which can be as simple as multi-choice questions or word searches, are all that’s needed to release the dopamine shooting that feel-good feeling into the veins. This comes from having not only completed a section, but also from revising and testing knowledge absorption. WhatsApp groups and Slack channels–or even a Trello Board–are example of how you can keep motivation sustained. If you don’t have chat panel, these other means allow for queries, wins, and suggestions.
4. Chunks Are Too Large
In the online version of my presentation training courses, the program is divided into seven short modules. This prevents overwhelm, building in that sense of completion I mentioned above. We all know it’s easier to maintain motivation when we have small wins built in, rather than having to sweat it through for the long run before the sense of accomplishment. Also, breaking up the modules allows for better absorption of information, especially when punctuated with recapping or quizzes, as in point no 3. Learning is iterative so account for this.
5. Getting Answers Is A Bind
When working through modules, one of the reasons people give up is that they’re stuck. If you don’t want users to drop the course, make it easy for them to ask you questions in a way that will make answering equally straightforward for you. For some courses a WhatsApp channel is sufficient, as it encourages peer support. However, if a student has a query related to a specific matter in a particular module, having a chat facility that’s built into your Learning Management System (LMS) allows the learner to drop in a message at that precise point with no effort, cutting out the need to start giving coordinates of exactly what they’re referring to and where.
6. A Lack Of Clear Instructions
People don’t always gain from a course as they don’t know how to approach it. Some will do their own thing, but others need guidance. This guidance might include whether to navigate through the material chronologically or randomly. You may want to define resources that may be necessary and those that may be optional. For instance, in my courses, many videos have slides, but the slides aren’t necessary if the video has been watched.
7. Video Length Is A Haul
There was a time when a decent eLearning course might have consisted of a series of hour-long videos. Although some viewers may lap that up, in my experience users find this a chore. My longest video is ten minutes, but they average five. Attention spans are shorter than they were, so this needs to be accommodated for.
8. The Information Comes In Limited Forms
eLearning can be boring if it’s all in one form. There’s a caveat though: if that form happens to be captivating and practical, you can get away with a medium such as video. Some learners like a bit of gamification and a quick video transcript. Others will watch a video, then want to go and apply a technique straight away. Hence my videos will give practical examples of how to use the skills. However, if the learner wants to engage further, they’ve got the download with the activity plus some gamification added to the mix. Allow for different learning styles to accommodate everyone.
9. There’s No Accountability
If there’s no feedback loop, learners are in the dark as to what they need to work on and practice, one of the leading reasons why eLearning fails. With influence and presentation skills, the simple feedback loop of trying a technique out and realizing that it works might be enough. However, especially with presentation skills techniques, individuals may need a sounding board. With my white label courses, I help the clients build this into development programs. For my own eLearning courses, individual coaching sessions are add-ons that can introduce this accountability, helping with feedback in addition to sustaining facilitator and learner motivation.