Ten Ways to Ensure Effective Online Learning

Online learning has become a panacea for all of us who find ourselves without enough hours in the day to accomplish what we need to do. The last thing you want is an online training course that is not clear-cut and leaves a lot of questions for the learner. Both content creators and learners want easy-to-use, effective courses that will provide the necessary training without a lot of confusion.

Here are some design tips for content creators that will ensure effective training courses:

  1. Always include a navigation screen at the start, even if you think the learners have participated in online learning before. The navigation screen should have clear and simple instructions so any learner can easily progress through the course. By making navigation easy, learners can focus on the course content.
  2. Free up navigation. Make sure learners can easily go back to previous screens if they need to review any material for a better understanding.
  3. Pay attention to the layout of each and every screen. Avoid cluttering screens with too much information. The screen should be pleasing to the eye and designed to draw the learner’s eye to the most important information.
  4. Include a glossary. Never assume that the learners will understand jargon, technical terms or acronyms. The glossary should be comprehensive and explain key terms in plain language.
  5. Include regular quizzes to check the learners’ understanding of the content. Instead of having one huge test at the end of a course, it is better to have shorter tests at regular intervals throughout the course. Regular tests and quizzes are a good way for learners to measure their own understanding and build their confidence.
  6. Give learners the option of finding out more information if they need to. You could include a box on some screens saying “Want to know more? Click on this link to learn more about…”
  7. Provide a contact person for questions. If the learners do have questions, is there someone they can contact?
  8. Ask another person to check the course to see if it makes sense. If you have access to proofreaders, they can point out any content that is unclear. Alternatively you can ask a pilot group of learners to go through the course. Ask them to offer feedback on points they thought worked, or didn’t work.
  9. Engage in continuous improvement. Even when you have published and released your course to learners, there is still the opportunity to gather feedback and make improvements to the course. You could include a survey asking learners if there was anything they found unclear. This is a great way for you to keep learning about the learners’ perspective and to remind yourself that you are designing courses for real people.
  10. Distribute your course effectively.

Finding the right marketplace for your offerings is simple when you team up with Coggno. We make it easy for content creators to upload and market their courses, and for learners to find the training they need.

Online Learning – Training Webinar Success Tips

If you think that face-to-face training is the best way to do training, think again. New research shows that a blended approach produces 35-69 percent better outcomes than face-to-face alone.

What’s a blended approach? It’s a mixture of delivery modes, put together in a pattern to create the best result. For example, a blended course might involve one full day face-to-face, followed by several one-hour webinars delivered sequentially across a number of weeks. Another example might include a self-paced DVD program, followed by three two-hour webinars, followed by a live one-to-one coaching session.

The blended approach delivers even higher value than its impact on results in the workplace. It’s also an important part of reducing the need to travel for the training. Time in training sessions is time away from the job, so many employers are happier with training at the desktop that lasts only an hour or two. In addition, corporations worldwide are eager to eliminate travel, weather across town or halfway around the world. So, when your business offers part or all of its training online, you have a competitive advantage that companies that hire you will value.

So if your business delivers training services, it’s important to take a fresh look at how to restructure your training offerings to provide a significantly higher impact. If you plan on doing some live online training via Web conference technology, here are some success factors to help.

  • Keep your online learning session short.

    For training webinars, limit each session to one to two hours. One hour is best, but two hours works well when the training is interactive enough.

  • Tell students not to take notes, but instead to enjoy the experience of learning together.

    Promise your student participants a handout at the end of the session that captures all of the notes on the slides. If your slides are proprietary, you don’t have to give them a copy. Instead, give them a high-value handout that details the critical points, lists, and actions that are required for your participants to be successful. In an online learning environment, a short and focused PDF handout is better than long and comprehensive book.

  • Design your training webinar for vigorous, relevant, and continuous interaction.

    The toughest audience in the world is one that links from the desktop. At any moment in time, people are seconds a way from multitasking.

    The only way to keep people from multitasking is to create

    (1) extremely high value content,

    (2) delivered at a brisk pace,

    (3) intermixed with constant interaction that adds value to the experience of learning at that moment.

    When online trainers can’t see the students’ nonverbal cues, s/he has to be even more deliberate in building high quality interaction throughout the session.

  • Have students meet from individual desktops, not a conference room.

    To get the highest level of interaction, it’s best if each student links separately to the Web conference online learning session. That lets every student be able to participate easily and quickly in polls, chat discussions, imitation feedback, and voice interaction. When students meet from a conference room, sharing a computer inhibits rapid interaction that is needed to keep everyone else engaged. No one must be disadvantaged by location from being a full and equal participant in the learning.

  • Design your slides for brain appeal.

    Your students cannot see your face. But they can be very engaged by the PowerPoint slides that you use in your training webinar. Avoid standard Microsoft PowerPoint templates. Instead, find commercial templates that better express the theme of your training. Avoid clipart. Instead, use commercially available photo art and photo images. Avoid standard formatting. Instead, skillfully learn how to create and design slides that engaged the attention of your desktop students.

  • Team teach online learning sessions when you can.

    With experience and training, a single person can manage all aspects of an online learning session. But it’s better to team teach in your initial training webinars. For example, while one person instructs, the other annotates, manages polls, sets up chat discussions, observes the participation of the students, and asks questions to keep interaction going.

  • End with an online version of a standing ovation.

    You know that when you have delivered an excellent learning session. Students are eager to say how much they enjoyed the experience of learning with you. In an online learning environment, many trainers don’t get that feedback. Before you end the online learning session, ask students to use chat to tell you what they learned that they will apply. Encourage them make several entries. Then a moment later ask them what they enjoyed most about the class. They will be able to share their comments with the group or with you privately, as you specify. If you ask your student participants to share their comments publicly in chat, everyone will see dozens of positive comments that reinforce the high-value of your content as well as a very enjoyable interactive session, too.

  • End the online learning session with a three-minute online survey.

    Most Web conference platforms will allow you to drop the student off at a website where you can poll them on the metrics that show the value of your online learning program or session. If a company hired you (vs. individuals), summarize the information from the feedback form, and send it to the client. If students registered independently, neutralize the feedback and post the data on your website, along with quotes (of course, by permission).

E Learning: Why Choose Online Education?

The Internet boom is far from over, although it has been taking a slightly different slant in the past few years; hardly surprising as technologies advance and trends change. The World Wide Web is the largest resource of information in the whole world and whatever your needs the Internet can provide. What started as a bubble has soon become a massive tidal wave and online education is one of the areas that is still increasing, probably more than ever before.

You can shop online, you can watch TV online, and you can even book your holidays online or work online and now you can complete perfectly legitimate and recognised educational courses online. Far from being the alternative form of education used solely by working parents it is becoming just as popular with teenagers and professionals all around the world. There are no boundaries to learning when using the Internet. You can study a course that local colleges and educational institutions in your area don’t offer and you can do so without having to quite your job and leave home.

You don’t need to take three years to complete a course; you can often work at your own pace, fitting in around your commitments and according to your spare time.

What courses are on offer?

As well as courses designed primarily for completion on the Internet, many educational institutions are now leaning towards offering the major courses to be completed in the comfort of your own home. College degrees and graduate degrees are available in almost any subject you could imagine with many benefits over the traditional ‘classroom’ approach.

E-learning offers a vast array of topics too, from American History to Zoology and everything in between. Perhaps you are in full time employment and want a change in career. Not many of us can afford to just give up work and go back to college so online education could be the perfect answer.

Maybe you are unemployed and can’t find work suitable for you or the qualifications and experience you have. Online education can offer you the opportunity to gain more qualifications without the expenses of travelling or accommodation.

Why should I choose an online education course?

There are many advantages to online education. The courses are usually tailored to meet the different demands that are entailed within an online learning community. You are usually free to study at your own time and pace, so you have the opportunity to complete your chosen course quickly or as slowly as you want.

There are no travel costs involved with online education and no travel time whatsoever. The only time you will need to dedicate to your learning will be the time you spend studying and any trips to the library or other institution you may need.

Many jobs and careers demand a good working knowledge of the Internet, and by completing your course online you are already many steps closer to that end. You will have excellent knowledge on Internet research; always being able to find the information that is useful to you.

There are some factors you should consider when deciding whether to opt for online education or a more traditional classroom education. You will need a reasonably up to date PC, together with an Internet Connection. Fortunately, computer prices have dropped in recent years, so you can get a capable PC for little more than $300. If you consider using eBay or buying a refurbished PC then you can reduce this price even more. Don’t forget, you will need a printer, operating software, word processing software and an Internet connection but again the price of these has dropped dramatically.

If you don’t have much working knowledge of a computer or the Internet you will need to find your way around at first and this can seem a daunting task for the beginner. Don’t panic, just stick with it and buy yourself (or borrow from friends or the library) books on how to use the software you are going to need. Once online the Internet has all of this information at hand, and the world becomes your playground.

A summary of online education.

Online education can help all people from all walks of like gain the education they want to better themselves or to advance in the career they already have. Whether you are a working parent or an unemployed bachelor, there are courses available for you to complete through online education.

Online education offers many benefits and few pitfalls when compared to the more traditional ‘classroom’ approach but you should carefully consider your options before jumping in.

There are costs associated with virtually all online education courses but these are usually little more than the costs to study at a college and when you consider that there are no travelling expenses and no extra living costs, you may find online education to be a much more financially viable option.

©2005 John Thompson