Why No One Cares About Your Lousy Elearning

It's 2015. By now, almost everyone reading this post has taken some form of self-paced online learning, aka "elearning," either by choice or under duress. Perhaps you got a speeding ticket and had the option of taking online learning to reduce the $300 ticket. Maybe you've accessed a software tool's online tutorials to get up to speed. Or maybe your company has compliance requirements that make you take a few hours of required eLearning every year. 

Whatever the case, you've probably experienced some lousy eLearning along the way. But the truth is that most eLearning out there gives the rest of eLearning a bad name. What do most of these eLearning programs get wrong? 

1. They're Boring

You think, "Do these people really value my time so little that they're going to make me suffer through this boring drivel? 

2. The content is irrelevant and not what you need. 

You think, "I could do better just Googling what I need to know." 

3. It's too long. 50 pages of slideware with narration that you have to listen to before advancing to the next screen.

You think, "Sounds like this is a great time to be cleaning out my inbox while I suffer through these slides."

4. It's too much information and not enough hands-on activity.  

You think, "Why can't I just read a PDF with all this info?!"

5. It doesn't reflect your company's values or brand. 

You think: "We don't talk like this to each other." 

OK, you get the idea. There are more things that many eLearning programs get wrong, but we'd rather not bore you with another boring list about why bad eLearning is so boirng. 

When done well, eLearning can effectively communicate important ideas and concepts, teach new skills and processes, and even change behaviors and attitudes. You can use eLearning as part of an effective and exciting onboarding program, an integral part of a new software rollout, or a key component in a leadership training program. 

We've got lots of tips for better eLearning. Here are three of our favorites: 

Put stories at the heart of your learning

Part of what makes us human is our biologically-primed response to stories. Make your eLearning more human by wrapping what could be boring content around relevant case studies and anecdotes that will picque your audience's emotional curiosity, pull them into the tale, and, in the long run, make the content more memorable. 

Read more about stories. 

Focus on what matters

Make sure the content you include is relevant to the learning objectives you've established at the outset. Anything extra can be a resource or attachment, but spare people the need to spend 15 minutes exploring an interactive timeline of the history of the sales team's structure when you're teaching a new sales process. 

Read more on 'sharpening your ax.' 

Make the interaction count

Nobody likes that 5,000-question jeopardy board game. Make sure your eLearning design includes exercises and activities that are meaningful and provide relevant practice opportunities that will ensure effective knowledge transfer back to the job. 

Read more about designing 'interactivity that counts.' 

As a consumer of eLearning, what has been your experience? When you've taken eLearning, what has stood out to you as an exemplary experience? And how do YOU make sure that people care about the eLearning that you design? 

Need some L&D inspiration? Interested in learning more about trends for 2015? See the recording and slides from our webinar, Learning Insights for the New Year