Woman viewing custom eLearning.Do Your Online Learning Courses Annoy Your Audience?

When an organization invests resources to roll out training, it’s a huge disappointment when the audience feedback consists of eye rolls, complaints, and the indifferent “meh.” Throughout our 20 years in custom eLearning development, we have seen the best and worst of what the industry has to offer. So, as a public service, we have compiled a list of five pet peeves that are big turn-offs to online learning audiences. Avoid them like the… well, you know.

1) Forgetting who your online learning audience is.

A lot can go wrong by failing to look at the training from the learners’ perspective.

We’ve seen custom eLearning that includes slang that doesn’t resonate with the audience because of the wrong choice of words. For example, using local dialect can be a positive or a negative. Will it create an unnecessary hurdle for people who are not native English speakers, or will it make the audience connect more with the training?

Another mistake that falls in this category is not identifying technical terms your audience already knows. Defining terms already mastered can lull the audience into boredom or, worse yet, insult their intelligence. On the flip side, assuming they already know a term or abbreviation when using it in custom eLearning is a sure-fire way to leave your audience confused.

This pet peeve encompasses issues beyond the choice of words. What happens when the style is not well-suited for the audience? Cutesy training for a professional audience simply won’t fly. Nor will motionless online learning work for Millennials. Know your audience. It’s more important for your online learning course to appeal to them than to you. 

2) Wasting time.

This mistake is especially annoying. The biggest offense here is not offering any value to the audience for investing their time in taking the online learning course. If learners are left scratching their heads and asking themselves, “Why should I care?” then your training missed the mark.

Even if the custom eLearning is relevant, it can waste time with redundancy, wordiness, or dead time. Consider dead time to be the plague and eliminate it from your eLearning. For instance, let’s say you plan to post a raw webinar for online training, and it includes 10 minutes of dead time or off-topic content. Is that a good idea? After all, you would be wasting that much time for every employee taking the training. The hidden cost can add up quickly.

Redundancy and wordiness are the most common culprits of dead time. Don’t take longer than necessary to explain something. For example, many trainers insist on clearing stating and listing their learning objectives during the introduction to the course. During this whole spiel, the audience feels much like Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang listening to their teacher: “Wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah.” While establishing and mapping learning objectives is important during custom eLearning development, listing them really isn’t a good use of the audience’s time. It is better to create an intro that tells them in a dynamic and concise way why the training is important to them. Sell the audience on what is coming so they become committed to giving the training their full attention.

Woman seems annoyed while looking at phone.3) Using sub-par talent in your custom eLearning.

Have you ever watched a really poor production of a Broadway play or musical? (Think “Les Misérables” or “Chicago” performed by a group of junior high school students, none of whom are your children.) The script and score may be phenomenal, but if the talent is sub-par, the performance falls flat.

No matter how good a custom eLearning storyboard is, a bad narrator and unskilled actors can blow it. Talent selection is vital to maintain the right tone and energy.

4) Sending the online learning audience on a wild “mouse” chase.

Organizations sometimes equate mouse clicks with engagement; the more mouse clicks in online learning, the more engaged the audience is.

At Left Brain Media, we think each interaction should engage the brain; not just the index finger. Interactions are valuable when they require the audience to think and make a choice.

When you spend money on interactions, make sure they are designed to increase learning.

5) Epitomizing “Houston, we have a problem.”

The final pet peeve on our list causes the audience to become tech frustrated. People expect online learning courses to work on the device of their choice with no glitches.

Smartphones and tablets started their world domination in 2007, when Apple introduced the iPhone . Creating online learning that isn’t mobile responsive unnecessarily alienates your audience. Yet we still often see training from other vendors that is not responsive. Sure, the eLearning may launch and play, but you have to have reading glasses to view the text and fingers the size of a pencil head to click on the buttons.

Every custom eLearning course should be tested on all operating platforms and browser versions used by the intended audience. Quality assurance testing can spare the audience from technical difficulties.

Looking for a Custom eLearning Partner?

If you’re going to enlist the help of a custom eLearning developer, don’t you want an expert who will shoot straight with you and deliver truly engaging training? Left Brain Media does just that. In fact, it’s how we’ve built long-standing client relationships across a variety of industries. Contact us so we can get the discussion started about your next training project.

More Information About Custom eLearning Pet Peeves

For more perspectives on eLearning pet peeves and mistakes, read the articles linked below.


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