Retaining Information - Creating absorbing elearning

Posted on Nov 11, 2014

How to make absorbing elearning

Knowledge, it is said, is only valuable if it is accessible. Understanding something whilst in the process of learning about it is one thing but if that new knowledge does not remain in the memory then what was the point in learning it in the first place?

The enabling of knowledge retention should be at the forefront of all elearning design because even the most engaging, informative and interesting course will prove worthless if the actual content is not retained in the learner’s mind. Everything has to stick, otherwise it’s been a waste of time. And so, your designs should focus around methods of absorption in your learners. They need to be powerful, inspiring, creative but most importantly of all, they have to be memorable.

So, what can you do to ensure that every element in every single module of your course is memorable to every single one of your learners? Below are a few tips and suggestions to help you make this happen.

Bite-sized Information

Overloading your courses with too much information in too small a space will inevitably lead to most of it being lost from the learner’s memory. This won’t do, and there’s no point to it. Instead, it is highly advised that you break up your course into bite-sized chunks or modules, so that your learners can fully get to grips with one concept before moving onto the next.

Other tips along this vein include presenting on screen information in small bubbles or bits. If your slides or screens are cluttered with too many separate facts or figures, then only some will be retained, or possibly just

one or none at all. Only relay important information, and cut the fat around the rest. Don’t be afraid of white space either on your slides or screens. When you present pieces of information one at a time, you eliminate any sense of hierarchy, and each point is subconsciously considered as important as the next. Presented like this, all of your information will be far easier to digest, and you will find that knowledge retention increases across the fold in your elearners.

Interactive Elearning

The more your learners can interact with the material, the more likely it is that they will remember what they learn from it. If you can build in an actual physical experience into the learning process – be it some sort of game, or even simply a drag and drop element – this interaction can help your learners retain the information no end. By feeling as if they are active participants in the learning process they will become naturally more engaged with it which again results in a better likelihood of knowledge retention.

Interactive elearning presentations are a great way of building this type of learning into your course, as are simulations that offer the users choices of how to act along their way to the most desirable outcome. Indeed, in this last example, having such multiple choices allows the learner to think about, understand and ultimately retain each separate part of the learning process.

Integrating Narratives

Putting knowledge into context is one sure fire way of boosting information retention. If learners are presented with a scenario where their learning is being applied in a relatable environment to their usual workplace, then they can begin to think about exactly how they might act in a similar situation. They will identify with the character on screen, begin to foster an emotional connection with them and the situation, and remember it long after the course has finished.

Quizzes and Tests

Regular testing is also a great way to help boost learning retention. And when we say regular, we do mean just that. A short test at the end of every lesson or module helps the learner to recap the new information and indeed put it into use for the first time. They will be able to review any new terms that they have picked up, as well as any new ideas or concepts. These tests can indeed be short and simple, but they will help both you and the learner know exactly how well the information has been absorbed and retained, and if any particular parts need recapping before moving onto the next module.

These tips can all be applied to any elearning course or scenario, and indeed should be creatively utilised to try and enable the most effective knowledge retention of your elearning material – indeed, the most essential part of your course if you are to bring true value to what you have to offer your eager learners.

Sponge specialises in creating absorbing custom-made elearning – hence our name!

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