The other week I was exposed to a Health & Safety eLearning induction course. It was terrible! 35 slides of only text. I could not progress from one slide to the next until the obligatory 15 second delay (which is surprisingly long when bored). This was followed by a 20 question multiple choice quiz (MCQ) that my 9 year old daughter could have completed. It contained the typical MCQ format of one correct answer and other answers that were clearly wrong, which can be answered with some common sense and no need to read the content.
For example: The toaster in the lunch room has something stuck in it preventing it from operating. Do you
a) Leave it for someone else to notice the problem.
b) Try and remove the item with a knife.
c) Switch off the appliance, place a note on it and report the problem. The quiz also required an 80% pass mark, which made me think “what 20% of the content didn’t matter?”.
Reviewing this course has only reinforced my beliefs that so much eLearning content has missed the target. Too often we are seeing the typical next, next, yawn… style course (text on a screen click next, followed by a MCQ to make sure you read what we told you). There are so many missed opportunities to build engaging resources, the opportunity to provide an eLearning resource that encourages social collaboration, that allows users to pull content they need rather than having it pushed at them. With the range of technologies available we can create rich interactive scenarios, that allow users to try concepts, apply their knowledge and learn from their mistakes.
Technology is available to immerse the learners in visually rich virtual environments. We can engage users with games, stories and great visuals. We have the power to track user engagement, to evaluate effectiveness and ROI. But we aren’t. The target of eLearning excellence is continually missed.
So why? Why are we continuing to develop dull content? What are people not understanding about how to develop engaging online content?