By 2021, the revenue generated by e-learning platforms is predicted to reach 1.22 billion dollars in the US. There are several reasons why. E-learning typically requires 40 to 60 percent less employee time and increases the information retention rate up to 60 percent (in comparison with a 10 percent retention rate in the case of face-to-face training).
Several factors will determine the outcome of e-learning experiences. In this article, we will explore the most important of them, such as your target audience, content, and the learning management system used. Then, we’ll share practical tips on how to make an e-learning platform more attractive to the user.
To determine the learning objectives and build learning plans, you should first define who your target user is. Such a focus will also help establish a community and when it comes to digital learning platforms, communities play a key role in the further enhancement and the growth of the project.
Your target audience will also determine the range of distribution channels to use. What platforms and what devices will users need in order to access the educational content and complete courses? Answering these questions will affect many development processes – from security protocols to the course enrollment process.
An e-learning platform, cannot survive in the absence of high-quality content. Good e-learning courses utilize multiple formats. Texts, illustrations, videos, and interactive exercises all come together to shape up a comprehensive, immersive experience for the course participant. Illustrations and real-life examples will also be required to show how the abstract information in the course could be applied to real-life problems.
To make your e-learning platform stand out, you should develop content that’s unique and that’s based on the knowledge of experts in the field. Read multiple materials and, if possible, consult academics or professionals in the respective field. They will let you know if the content plan makes sense and if it comprehensive enough to tackle the respective topic in a deep way.
You should also think about content or course samples to show to potential course participants in the very beginning. Before they sign up, people will want to get a taste of what you have to offer. These short snippets will be as important as the quality of the course itself in terms of attracting learners to your platform.
Learning Management System
Now we’re moving on to the technical parameters of e-learning platform development. The learning management system (LMS) that you pick to support your platforms will affect functionality, accessibility and the overall course participant experience.
If you do a bit of research, you will come across dozens of LMS solutions out there. In the absence of knowledge to identify the best technical opportunities, you can always partner up with experienced professionals who will be responsible for the development and the customization of the system that the learning profile is based upon.
The scheme of a typical e-learning platform. Image source: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/jssolutions/Article_Photo/E-learning+platform+development/e-learning+mind+map.jpg
The integration of third-party apps and functionalities is also possible in an attempt to boost quality even further. They can increase safety, facilitate money transfers, improve scheduling, collaboration, and document sharing.
When choosing functionalities and third-party apps, you may want to keep the most common features of e-learning platforms in mind. Some of these features include:
- Secure signup and payments
- Viewing courses and curricula before signing up
- Filtering (by topic, category, level, language, requirements to enroll, etc.)
- Calendar, class and assignment scheduling
- Access to video, multimedia and live streaming content
- Access to chat or collaboration functionalities
- Notifications and alerts
- Recommendations on the basis of current courses or courses completed in the past
- Evaluation tools
- Profile management tools
- Course management tools
- Feedback tools
- Certification and test scoring
These will be important both for the framework and the graphical design of the portal – don’t underestimate the importance of an attractive e-learning environment appearance.
Engagement Should Be Your Number One Priority
E-learning platforms are not textbooks. They enable two-directional interactions and effortless communication between the course participants. This is why engagement and interactivity should be your primary concerns.
Students need engagement opportunities in order to test the skills they have just acquired.
Exploration screens and exercises are standard features for e-learning opportunities. An exploration screen is a pretty straightforward concept. The course participant will have to explore the current screen and click on it in order to access information. You can have a diagram or an interactive video playing. What matters is turning information seeking into an active rather than a passive process.
If you want to take things even further, you should consider investing in digital simulations or even game-based learning. While such developments are more complex, expensive, and time-consuming, they can result in a higher level of course participant satisfaction.
Engagement can also be increased via the examination of real-life cases, the creation of multiple e-learning scenarios that students are in control of, quizzes, group collaboration opportunities, audio customization, drag and drop interactions, and achievement badges.
Offer Self-Paced and Peer-to-Peer Learning
The importance of collaboration has been touched upon already but it’s crucial for the development of an e-learning platform that will be successful in the long run.
The biggest advantage of digital learning is that students are allowed to study at their own pace. Busy professionals and individuals who are occupied throughout the day find such learning formats best suited to their lifestyle.
While self-paced studying is a key concept, keeping learners connected to each other will also be important.
One of the things that most people miss from the classroom environment is the interaction with others. Luckily, modern e-learning platforms make such interactions possible.
Group chats, document sharing and peer evaluations can all be integrated in the digital experience. The software required to accomplish these goals is far from expensive or inaccessible.
At its simplest, collaboration could be made available via discussion forums. More advanced platforms may come with live streaming sessions between the different course participants. Such solutions should be picked on the basis of the target audience and the course strategy that you have put together during the first part of the process.
Simple and engaging user experiences, quality content and a solid platform happen to be the three biggest essentials for the development of successful e-learning opportunities. The first steps will be the most challenging ones. As you begin acquiring course participants, you will also get some feedback that will enhance personalization and the interactivity of the platform even more in the future.