Just a few decades ago it seemed unthinkable that e-learning would become as common a learning method as it is today. Now, millions of students can take advantage of the potential of online education because it enables them to master any skill regardless of location. Furthermore, for teachers and trainers it is the ideal channel to break down geographical barriers and reach more people with their knowledge.
However, in e-learning student motivation is key. Instructors must ensure that regardless of the reason that might have led a student to enroll in a certain course or training, that initial motivation is maintained, sustained, and strengthened as the online training progresses. This is not an easy task. In this teaching method it is more complicated for the teacher to share emotions with their students, since in many cases they cannot see their faces and react to visual clues.
How do you know if they have understood what has just been explained? Did you understand the definition of this complex term? These are the types of questions often asked by e-learning trainers. The lack of real-time interaction on the part of students leads many trainers to implement practices that help students to feel more connected to themselves as learners, as well as to become much more involved in the learning process.
At CAE we have extensive experience of more than 40 years in the online education sector. Therefore, in this article we will present some tips for designing e-learning content that instructors or online trainers can adopt to maximize motivation, learning and subsequent retention of the subject by students.
Tips for designing e-learning content that keeps students motivated and committed to their learning
Any teacher, before starting designing e-learning content, must know as much as possible about their students’ profiles. This will help to further define the best strategies to reach your students, which tone to use when communicating (formal or informal) as well as the best formats for the materials to share.
This prior research will help trainers answer basic questions such as: What do students need to get out of the course? What’s their goal? Answering these questions will allow them to create relevant content for all students, as well as keep all of them engaged from the first class to the last.
Now, at CAE we present a series of useful tips for designing e-learning content that inspires and motivates students.
Create content that encourages direct contact
One challenge of e-learning is that students can sometimes feel isolated. To prevent this from happening, establish direct contact by offering new content and materials through emails, instant messages and videos. You can even add a soundtrack, use emotionally compelling visuals, incorporate tips, tricks, and links, and keep it short and simple. This helps your students to see how involved you are in their learning.
As well as all the above ideas, it is advisable to encourage ways for students to see each other. It can be through giving feedback and peer review, as well as helping students find partners to study with.
Use content that allows you to monitor student progress
If students are not sure how the course is really going, they may not be productively engaged. To prevent that from happening, set and communicate explicit goals for the course and link activities and student progress to those goals.
Look for tools in your online systems such as the monitoring reports available on our website, which help students keep abreast of their progress. You should be explicit about how you think these tools can help them, and therefore encourage students to use them so that they see and know the potential value of them.
Encourage participation using a variety of instructional methods
How do you know if your students really understand and learn everything taught in the course? The answer is simple: just ask them. However, in e-learning we cannot ask empty questions like: Did you get it? Any questions? This type of statement simply does not work in online learning.
To really find out what your students have learned, you need to put some formats like those listed below into practice:
- Create participation spaces such as the discussion forums.
- Offer live sessions with students.
- Create private groups in networks.
- Open discussion panels so they can ask questions in each lesson. It is not only about answering the questions, but also about encouraging the use of this space to create a community within the course.
- Create questionnaires. This is another interaction tool that helps students to validate knowledge and achieve small goals that motivate them to take the next lesson.
- Conduct webinars to improve real-time communication with students.
The enthusiasm of the tutor is essential to create motivational content
Perhaps at first you might ask yourself, why? At CAE we can give you the answer. Only inspired tutors can inspire students. Even the most motivated and inspired students can lose interest in education if they do not see the same interest in their teacher, so the role of the tutor is essential to serve as an example of passion towards the subject.
To do this, hold engaging lectures, organize emotional and involved discussions, and quickly link course material to real life.
Create content that enhances student autonomy in order to enhance their learning
Providing new content is vital for students to be autonomous and show greater interest in learning. At this point, we recommend looking for unconventional stories or recent events where the content can be used. Also, another option is to engage students through games and drills that require students to apply information in unfamiliar contexts.
Increasing student interest by proposing new ways of learning will help them achieve their desired success and take control of their educational process. However, as a trainer you can improve student autonomy in the following ways:
- By creating a task calendar and a calendar of materials that will be studied for the course.
- Involving students in setting goals at the beginning of the course so that they try to achieve them by the end of the training.
- Introducing students to new educational scenarios and situations, thus teaching them to make independent decisions.
CAE – experts in creating digital content since 1981
We offer our students the best services necessary to learn a new language through e-learning training. Thanks to our Voluxion and Verxact solutions, we combine online training with a new methodology that offers a multitude of teacher support tools for their face-to-face classes.
Our modern solutions offer different educational experiences that maximize student motivation and learning. At CAE we are experts in quality online education – motivating students online, providing them with opportunities to connect personally with the subject, to establish their own goals and to monitor the educational process.