While we continue to embrace the concept of learning outside the classroom, the one obstacle that many learners have is that they have to contend with boring coursework. We all know that staying awake in school or the seminar room was sometimes an issue, but when your livelihood depends on receiving necessary training to keep your job or advance your career, you certainly don’t want to augment your e-learning experience with gallons of coffee or a six-pack of your energy beverage of choice. Online learning, whether for work or for academic pursuits, should at the very least be engaging.
Recently, we stumbled across a blog entry from the folks at Articulate Network that focuses on rapid e-learning becoming the next generation of online learning. rapid e-learning has empowered many people to create their own courses, as opposed to leaving the job to programmers, who we know are fluent in code and don’t get enough sun exposure. The great part about anyone being able to create course content (sound familiar?), is that they can make it as interesting and interactive as they need it to be in order to grab the attention of learners. With a little creativity and some jazzy graphics and other fun stuff, you can make widget repair into an epic course that everyone will be as anxious to download as the newest smartphone game from the app store. Online learning can be effective and fun. Really.
Some of the most attractive options that can be added to e-learning courses include “drag and drop” interactions, interactive characters that can be customized by the user, and the ability to customize how the course plays on your electronic gadget of choice. Remember, lots of people are doing their e-learning on tablets and smartphones, so in addition to containing relevant material, the courses have to be visually appealing across a bevy of devices.
What we have to keep in mind as content creators is that the finished product has to have a serious message as well as a sense of humor. We all lead busy lives and as much as we need to make room for the online learning experience in our lives, we’re not going to fully embrace it unless it is worth our while to do so. Adding all these features to new or existing e-learning courses is pretty simple. The programmers have become the facilitators when it comes to giving us the tools. We have to use those tools to build the next generation of e-learning products.
So, here’s a task for all you content creators: Keep on creating, but remember to be creative!