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E-Learning Course Design That Works

Bored to death with dull, page-turning e-learning? Tried to 'solve' this using standard interactions and multimedia?

Our alternative, boredom-busting approaches can fix your boring e-learning once and for all.


Do You Feel Like You've Heard It All Before?

The promise to solve the problem of your bored learners? The promise to make your e-learning course design more engaging, more stimulating, more interactive?

The promise that multimedia e-learning really will improve your organisation's performance? We wouldn't blame you for being cynical.

Which is a pity. Because these are promises made by people who are intelligent, committed and highly talented. People who genuinely want your e-learning to be better.

It's just that they are trying to solve the right problem with entirely the wrong solution.


Right problem, wrong solution

Been there done that, as they say. Like most people, our e-learning journey started by following the conventional wisdom. Lots of multimedia (budgets permitting) lots of abstract interactions. Have the learners doing something (anything) on most screens to avoid the boredom of dry, linear content presentation.

Over time, it became clear this really didn't solve the problem of boring, ineffective e-learning. Which set us on the road to thinking differently.

Interested? Below are some of the broad, underpinning principles we've learnt, which we now apply help to bust the boredom.

Failed problem solving

1. Avoid page turning - like the plague

Too much focus on linear content, too much thinking about content hierarchy. Often, just too much information in one place. Fine for an e-book, procedure manual or user guide. Hopeless for a piece of e-learning where you want to keep your learners engaged and (dare we say it) learning.

"It's a page turner", is the critical acclaim most novelists dream of. For a piece of e-learning, it's the nightmare you should most dread. Yet page-turning e-learning is exactly what many designers and developers churn out day after day. We know to avoid it like the plague.

Page turning

2. Avoid endless, mediocre interactions

As we learnt the hard way, dressing up a page-turner with lots of abstract interactions and multimedia is not a solution, either. Sure, you can make it look 'sexy' and clever - all those gorgeous graphics, all that dragging things across screens, all those animations and videos scattered here, there and everywhere.

The first couple of times your learners might be impressed. By the third or fourth time, they really begin to wonder "what's the point?". They soon understand this is just a ruse to distract them. A ruse to stop them recognising they are reading boring slides of page-turning content.

Boring abstract interactions

3. Tap Into the Learner's world

Instead, our starting point for any e-learning development is to make sure it always includes the following broad principles:

  • relevance: the content makes perfect sense and your learners are totally clear about its benefits to them
  • impact: the learning makes a lasting, positive difference to how learners think or behave
  • purpose: learners immediately see that applying their new learning is completely worth the effort.
Learners world

4. Create authentic tasks and interactions

Building on relevance, impact and purpose, we work to create interactions that reflect the realities of the learners' world. To achieve this we focus on several key factors:

Where will the learning be applied? The setting for the learning is crucial. In most cases, it needs to reflect the learners' day-to-day reality as closely as possible.

What do the learners need to do with what they've learnt? With an authentic setting established, your learners should face authentic tasks or activities that enable them to apply the skills and knowledge they need to learn. This is rarely about one-off quizzes and multiple choice questions. More about learning through multiple approaches and exploring alternative ways to apply knowledge and skills.

How can the learners judge their progress? Exploration is great, as long as you have appropriate guidance along the way. This is where clear supporting knowledge and meaningful feedback play a crucial role. Not the banal Correct/Incorrect feedback of conventional e-learning, but situational and instructional feedback that shows learners the real ins and outs of what they are learning.

e-learning task

How's Your E-Learning?

To help take your e-learning to the next level, check out our free benchmarking questionnaire. The Effective E-Learning Scorecard takes you through 20 questions, enabling you to see how you are currently doing with your e-learning.


Happy trainees

Ready to banish boredom from your e-learning?

Discover how we can help you banish boredom from your e-learning once and for all.

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Banishing boredom

Get Your Effective E-Learning Toolkit


Sick to death of boring, page-turning e-learning?

Our free Effective E-Learning Toolkit helps you avoid deathly dull e-learning. It consists of:

Bored to Death by E-Learning? A concise guide explaing how to create e-learning that gets results and that your learners will actually enjoy.

Our Example Screenshots show you simple examples of how we apply our boredom-busting techniques.


Fill in the form below and you can be downloading your your free copy of the toolkit, in seconds.

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