A lot can be learned from experiencing something from someone else’s perspective; a simple change of lens can often yield unimaginable insight. We’ve repositioned many of the top-down tips of engagement and experience we’ve imparted over the years from a users’ perspective.
How To Optimize Your eLearning Experience From A Users’ Perspective
While we have endlessly covered all the ways developers and instructors can improve their online course content and delivery, it seems little attention has been paid to the end user: the learner.
And to a degree, that philosophy to take a top-down, trickle-down approach makes sense, with the underlying rationale being that if the developers and instructors all work to provide effective, thoughtful courses, then they set learners up for inevitable success.
But, admittedly, a bottom-up approach would also prove beneficial to students, too, as a means of identifying ways to optimize their eLearning experience.
A Walk In The Users’ Shoes
Often, so much can be learned from experiencing something from someone else’s perspective; a simple change of lens can often yield unimaginable insight.
So here, we’ve decided to heed our own advice and reposition many of the top-down tips we’ve imparted over the years from a users’ perspective.
1. Create Clear Objectives And Realistic Expectations
This particular step is best understood when you think of how gratifying it is to cross an item off a to-do list. You’ve set a measurable goal for yourself and, until you’ve completed the task and reached that goal, you cannot cross it off your list. This holds true for setting objectives and goals in eLearning, too. When you are able to clearly understand the goal posts you’ve created for yourself, it is infinitely easier to be engaged in the learning process. And studies have found that engagement leads to happiness. So get happy!
2. Identify Your Learning Style
Some learners prefer to access online courses from their mobile devices, while others feel more comfortable at a desk. What do you prefer? By taking a little time to discover what learning styles and content delivery methods speak to you, you can learn according to your preferences, abilities, and learning style without any obstacles. Also, be sure to pace your learning according to your learning style, too, to make the process better and easier.
3. Get Emotional
Emotions are critical to eLearning as they drive attention, increase engagement, boost motivation, and enhance knowledge retention. In fact, an emotionally-driven approach will evoke positive emotions which will make you feel more involved and engaged with the subject matter – and remember what we said about the positive effects of engagement?
4. Be Interactive
By taking advantage of interactive eLearning activities, you’ll find yourself interacting with content in a way that will prove most meaningful, and, ultimately, impactful to you. Such interactivity will challenge you to pay more attention and develop critical thinking skills, all while having fun. Furthermore, if you encourage yourself to experiment and explore different paths and outcomes, you’ll find yourself more excited about—and more connected to—what you’re learning.
5. Get Real
As a student, and especially as an adult student, there is little meaning in learning if it isn’t translated to real-world benefits and impact. Seeking opportunities to uncover real-world applications helps to answer the question ‘What’s in it for me?’. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to be invested and interested in content if you can’t relate it to your personal or professional life in some way. Actively, find ways to identify and connect the benefits of an online course to its impact in your life or job performance in order to successfully bring a dull, two-dimensional subject matter to life.
6. Ask For Feedback
Knowing your particular performance level will help you—in the long-run, at least—feel more confident that you’re on a collision course with your performance goals. You don’t know what you don’t know, and even when you think you know something, a little feedback from an outside perspective may be just what you need to re-chart your course ever so slightly in order to maximize your learning experience.
Since technology plays the role of mediator, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the human instructor element, like you’re learning in a vacuum. Find ways to connect to your teachers so when necessary, they can help and support you better than technology ever could.
8. Be Social
Speaking of technology, one of its benefits is that while you don’t get to experience in-classroom camaraderie, Online courses provides multiple avenues for communicating on diverse social platforms. Connect with teachers and fellow students alike to help foster a sense of (virtual) classroom community.
Turning Our Lens Upside Down
So much of our content has been tirelessly dedicated to supporting and guiding the front end of online courses but with little effort, it’s easy to see that both perspectives are two sides of the same coin – and that so much of what works to make developers and instructors successful also serves to elevate and optimize the experience for learners, too.