Online Learning Courses I Would Avoid Designing
With online learning going mainstream in the past decade, more companies are using it to train and develop their employees. Not all companies succeed in online learning, and some give up on online learning as an unnecessary cost. Usually, the problem is not with online learning but with poorly designed online learning, resulting in companies not getting what they expected from online learning. Instructional designers often sacrifice quality for quantity, and this is where the problem starts. In this article, let us discuss five kinds of online learning classes that constitute bad online learning and what instructional designers should avoid designing if they want their company’s online learning program to be successful.
1. Linear courses
“Forced learning” is a technique that is still used by inexperienced online learning designers to ensure that learners cannot skip screens—that they must consume the content on every screen. This is sometimes useful when learners need to know the content on every screen to progress and complete the class. However, it is not advisable to stop learners from skipping screens in every class because employees are not the same, and some are advanced learners. Second, linear classes have gone out of style. Clicking the “next” button a thousand times disengages a learner from the course. A class should progress smoothly as one continuous learning environment in which learners can move forward and backward as they select. Linear learning is best reserved for newer learners who need a lot of guidance.
2. Presentation-style courses
Unfortunately, this type of online learning class is still prevalent in some companies. Although an online learning class is comparable to a PowerPoint presentation, it is not the same. Modern learners do not want a million slides of text and images; they want high-quality visuals, videos, interactivities, and gamified exercises. Presentation-style learning fails to engage the contemporary learner, which is why they fail to train or develop knowledge and skills in them. Instructional designers need to move their way of designing into the here and now.
3. Voice-over courses
Another bad habit of naive instructional designers is designing classes in which every single letter of the on-screen text is narrated. Narration is an accessibility feature or for learners who prefer to learn orally. The most nonsensical thing a designer can do is not give the learner the option to toggle the narration. If learners see the same text on-screen and hear it in the narration, it doesn’t reinforce the information; rather it overwhelms the learner because not every learner reads at the same speed as the narrator. Also, written text is very different from spoken language, and narrating such text can sound phony.
4.“All Push” courses
Modern learners don’t prefer books for several reasons because books don’t have any interactive activities that challenge them, and they only push info. A lot of online learning designers create their classes just like books, with no interactivities, quizzes, questions, or simulations to challenge learners. The classes are chock-full of text, images, and infographics that push the information the learner is supposed to maintain. This leaves the learner with no room to apply the information they’ve just learned, which prevents it from taking root.
5. “All Show” courses
Unfortunately, some instructional designers focus all their attention on making the class look attractive through the use of high-quality themes, images, animations, and interactive activities, and they forget what they’re designing. An online learning class is a strategy of instruction that is supposed to make information easier to learn and maintain. Overlooking function for looks is one of the worst mistakes a designer can make. Filling up the online learning class with graphics without guiding the learner through the information will result in a confused learner who doesn’t know what to do with all those visuals. While advanced learners who are experienced online learners will still be able to plow through the graphics and learn what they’re supposed to, they will have a hard time finishing “all show” classes.
Instructional designers who avoid designing any of the five kinds of classes described will create something that helps learners learn and develops skills instead of being a waste of the corporation’s time and resources. Companies should hire experienced instructional designers who continue to update their online learning credentials and create according to contemporary trends.
So, there you have it, five types of online learning courses that I would avoid designing. Do you have any additional tips, techniques, or strategies that you would like to share with our readers? If so, leave them in the comment section below.