Perhaps the most difficult aspect of teaching is grabbing the attention of learners and maintaining it long enough to ensure an understanding and grasp of the content. Transfer the task of teaching online and this problem is made even more challenging. Fortunately, there are well-established solutions to help ensure that your online course is an effective educational resource capable of harnessing the attention of learners with a short attention span.
This article discusses two key considerations to help enhance your online content: presentation and interactivity and consideration of learner temperament.
Presentation and Interactivity
Presentation, presentation, presentation — this simple yet often overlooked component of content creation is perhaps the most crucial element in developing the most effective attention-grabbing content. Yet many content creators — especially those educationally focused — fall foul of ensuring that knowledge is presented in the simplest and most effective form. Here are a few tips to consider:
Avoid large blocks of text
Is there anything worse or more demoralizing than seeing large blocks of text separated only by short spacing? Research demonstrates that learners zone out much faster when faced with long wordy blocks of text. Making sure your paragraphs are broken down into short sentences that get straight to the point is therefore absolutely critical.
Simple and active language
Using simple and active language as opposed to complicated, verbose and passive language serves a single yet underrated purpose — to enhance your learners' engagement. A learner is more likely to feel disconnected from your course content if they cannot understand or relate to the words being used. Further, if the language used encourages passive attention as opposed to active attention. The objective is to make sure learners feel they are direct participants of a course and are not just recipients of a lecture.
Use the right visuals
This component of presentation emphasizes the importance of utilizing imagery such as charts, infographics, and even video clips to augment textual content. This not only helps to ensure continued attention but is also a tool to help improve understanding through increased interaction and participation with the course content.
Students pick up on content that is relative to their experiences and background. Context of how information is presented matters because in the course material seeing examples of things they can relate to and associate with aids in assimilating content quicker. In course development, organizations should strive to create content that fits the context of their audience and is relatable for trainees to keep them engaged with course material.
There are different types of learners, a conversation this article will go into later on.
Consideration of Learner Temperaments
Awareness and understanding of the four core learner temperaments are vital in designing course content that engages and caters to different types of learners. While it may seem daunting to consider different learning styles, taking the time to understand what they are, helps you determine how to structure your content, what type of activities to include and exclude, and how to communicate your content in the most effective manner. In effect, consideration of these learning styles could serve as inspiration for course content as opposed to a burdensome obligation.
Taking learner temperaments into consideration ensures that your online course is the most effective and engaging out there
The following tips will help you cater your course content to ensure there is engaging content for everyone.
Sanguine learners prefer activities that engage their innate creativity, as well as, opportunities to lead activities. This can be done by developing live online training activities that require leadership and also collaborative group projects.
Phlegmatic learners are problem solvers, they enjoy and also benefit from collaborative group projects that require brainstorming that presents them with opportunities to provide solutions.
Melancholic learners pay attention to detail as a result your online content must be as easy to navigate as possible and clutter-free — every bit of content must serve a purpose. These independent learners also benefit from solo, personalized learners that enable them to learn at their own pace.
Choleric learners, just like sanguine learners relish the opportunity to lead and benefit greatly from activities that require a form of leadership component. These learners are goal-oriented and it is therefore important to set attainable goals that they can work towards to foster continued engagement. Finally, choleric learners benefit greatly from practical simulation and case studies that help place your course content into perspective.
Taking these four learner temperaments into consideration ensures that your online course is the most effective and engaging out there. With activities and content that caters to a wider range of learning styles, you maximize the impact of your course with interesting, interactive, and engaging content that enhances your course’s attention-grabbing nature.
A lot of readers would be wondering how to infuse these talking points into course material — Instructional Design.
Instructional Design takes into consideration most of these points and works towards structuring content for efficient learning outcomes.
Instructional designers consider all these and more when working towards creating course material. Chalkboard provides instructional design as an add-on to our host of services. The importance of course design cannot be stressed enough because it makes a difference in content delivery.
The points discussed above implemented in isolation may not move the needle significantly, however combining them along with additional things will provide significant progress. Course completion and full student participation may seem like a stretch to attain but hopefully, these tips can get you there.
Thanks for reading!
About Chalkboard Education
Chalkboard Education provides mobile-based distance training solutions tailored for Organizations. Lightweight, offline-first and complete with full analytics capabilities, Chalkboard Education is designed for rural and hard-to-reach community training. Currently used in 10+ countries in Africa and South America, Chalkboard Education is available worldwide.