September 15 2010

Keeping Learners' Attention w/ Creative & Simple Course Design

Written by Shevy Levy

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Whether in a K-12, University or Corporate environment, the learning process stays the same. Though course material may be substantially more advanced in an Adult course vs. a K-12 course, keeping an adult learner's attention works the same way as keeping a child's attention.

One of the most effective ways to keep a learner engaged and interested, as a course designer, is to design course material which is both creative and interesting. After all, a course is only valuable insofar as the learner retains information. Here are a few tips for making your courses as stimulating as possible:

1. Fonts, themes, and the general "look" of your courses are all important


You'd think that something as marginal as a course's visual look wouldn't have too strong of an impact on a learner, but it does. When looking at a computer screen, images, colours and fonts are all absorbed by a learner first, before text. If these elements fail at keeping a learner interested, then the course material may not stand a chance at being retained. This eZine article has some great ideas for establishing a visual hierarchy, which is absolutely critical in effective course design.

2. Make texts as simple and clear as possible


If you do much reading online, you'll notice how blogs and newspapers "chunk" texts, meaning paragraphs are as short as possible. This is because when a learner looks at a paragraph that's too long or bulky, she'll be tempted to skim. However, ifa paragraph is short and the sentences are likewise clear and brief, the temptation to skip items is lessened.

3. Keep in mind that every learner has a different learning style


Even though you may absorb more information visually, keep in mind that each learner also learns differently, and it is your job to make sure you accommodate the greatest variety of learners as possible. This means creating courses that balance visual, aural, and hands-on elements that require the learner to participate in an activity. For a great overview of different learning styles, check out this informative article. See how you can incorporate each style into every step of each course you design.

4. Get Feedback and Adjust Courses based on Learner Preferences


Even though you may be satisfied with a course you've designed, if you aren't keeping the learner in mind, then you may not be maximizing a course's potential effectiveness. Make sure to ask for and be open to honest feedback from your audience so that you can adjust your course design to match your students' learning preferences.

These are just a few general things to consider while designing courses. Our experts at Lambda Solutions can offer more detailed advice on designing courses and e-Learning pgorams, through mediums such as Moodle, Mahara, Articulate, Captivate, Raptivity, Flash and more.

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online colleges and universities. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7

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