A common e-learning Myth

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Let’s bust a common e-learning Myth:

Learners read text in an e-learning course word-by-word
What do you think? True or False?
I’ll give it away right away.

Most of your learners usually skim the pages in an e-learning course looking for something meaningful to them and skip what’s irrelevant to them.

Is there nothing you can do about this behaviour?

Yes, you certainly do. From research, two key findings make texts read your e-learning course better:

  1. When learners find the information they are interested in, they are likely to read the related content word for word.
  2. Well-structured pages designed for cursory reading are more likely to be read.

Let’s translate these two findings into some practical tips so learners read text better in your next e-learning course.

1.Know the ‘problem’ you want to solve

The most important reason for the success of your e-learning course is to be extremely sharp about what ‘problem’ you are going to solve with your e-learning course. And find out how your target audience experiences this problem. With this information, you can create an e-learning module where your target audience will find the information they need to work on their problem.

2. Create an introduction that is strong and engaging.

Make sure it grabs the learner’s attention and makes them curious about the rest of the e-learning. For example, ask a stimulating question, tell an anecdote or provide a surprising fact about the content.

3. Use meaningful headers that clearly describe what each section is about.

Headers break up paragraphs of text and hook your learner in to dive deeper into the content. Imagine your learners are drunk, sleepy, and distracted: if they saw your headers for five seconds, would they know what your entire piece is about? If not, you may have trouble engaging most readers.

4. Write in short paragraphs

Long blocks of text are discouraging and encourage scanning rather than reading. Instead, write in short, easy-to-read paragraphs in plain language that hold your learner’s attention and make the content easier to understand.

5. Use white space to create visual balance

White space is important because it improves the readability of your text. If you cram a lot of text into one place, your learners are more likely to scan rather than read. Therefore, use white space to break up the text and make the content easier to read. Use bullet points whenever possible. Applying these tips will let your readers read your texts rather than just scan them. This will increase your learner’s engagement and understanding of the content.

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