Ensuring Your Captivate eLearning Courses are Successful?
When we decide to create an eLearning module for students or adult learners we need to ensure that the content is engaging and will keep the learner’s attention. So what makes eLearning fail?
Captivate is a wonderful eLearning creation tool, but, you need to use it to its full extent to make it attractive to the student. By that I mean you need to use images, audio, video and interactions to keep the learner engaged and wanting to finish the module.
There is a difference in finishing the module and finishing the module and acquiring new information that can be used later for the learner. If you are just going to throw up some images and text then save your money and use PowerPoint or make it into a video.
What makes a great eLearning module?
The following is required for a great eLearning module that will help with learner retention and engage the learner fully from start to finish.
- Research your topic. Even if you are a Subject Matter Expert (SME), research will ensure that you are getting the latest up to date information.
- Keep the modules short maximum time of 15 to 20 minutes (after twenty minutes the learner loses the interest to keep learning) So break long modules into a series of short modules. That little break switching from one module to another is enough to revive the learner and they will continue with the course.
- Your paying for Captivate, so use it to its full extent.
- You’ve heard the old saying that a photo is worth a thousand words, so use good quality images in your modules, but make sure that the image really relates to the matter at hand. Check out http://unsplash.com for great free images that are free to use commercially.
- Use text, but keep it to the point, read it and revise it at least three times to ensure that you are saying what needs to be said in as few words as possible.
- Avoid using technical jargon unless it’s absolutely necessary, and provide a glossary if you have a lot of jargon that needs to be in the module.
- Bring as much user interaction into the module as possible, this helps the learner retain the information. Drag & Drop, simple gamification is a great way to engage all learners of every age.
- Use white space to your advantage, don’t overload each slide with content unless its necessary.
- Back you text up with audio, either record your text or use the text to speech facility. Again make your audio count. Don’t waffle on just because you can, remember this may be new for your learners and they need to get information that they can digest.
- Use video, using video is a great way to show s a learner how to do a given task. This allows them to watch, try, review and retry again until they happy that they have the task right.
- Use knowledge check question within the module to allow the learner to see their progress along the way. This is important as learners we like to validate that we are taking in the information and processing it correctly.
- Finish with a quiz to allow the learner the opportunity to show that they have retained the information presented in the module. Make sure that all of your questions give feedback for correct and incorrect questions, this helps the learner to understand where they went wrong.
- Consider using markers to allow the learner to jump back to the relevant part of the module when they get a question wrong.
- Include a certificate in the module. When you include a certificate the rate of completion goes way up, so it worth the extra effort to include this in the module.
- Most importantly bring some fun into the learning, this can be as simple as using a funny image or a full animation. I bet that you can remember a joke that you heard at eight years old, Right?
Designing, Developing, Testing and Evaluating Your Module
All eLearning courses take time to plan, develop, test and deploy and then to evaluate the results from the learners. As an Instructional designer, you should never put a module live unless you have had some testing on the module by other members of your team or from your company. This will allow you to understand what works and what does not work well.
Using the Adobe Captivate Community
For me I highly educated, but that said I love to interact with my peers. And where better to do that – on the Adobe Captivate Community? This is a wonderful resource that is free and each member has a wealth of knowledge. Over the years I have found that some of my hardest tasks have been solved by the community. Each of them is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in their own right.
Cleaning Up Your Modules
Before you deploy your modules to an LMS or website, remember to clean it up, by this I mean to remove any unwanted objects, video, images, etc, as this will slow down your module when loading. Leaving a couple of large images there that are not being used can have a big effect on you module performance, especially on mobile devices.
I hope you found this useful and that it helps you create better eLearning modules going forward.