It probably comes as no surprise that the drop-out (abandonment) rate in eLearning courses with multiple sections has been increasing. Course participants take the first session or two, but don’t return to continue.
Very High Drop-Out Rates for MOOCs
In fact, in the MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) category, the drop-out rate among registered learners is now between 85 and 90 percent after the first few segments. When we look deeper, specifically in the MOOC sector, we see that for students who completed the second week, the rates fall to between 30 and 50 percent. However, it doesn’t have to be that way for all eLearning.
Learning from Popular Media
Those who create eLearning courses need to learn from film and television producers to find other models of participation. There is a trend toward shorter videos and allowing viewers to either marathon or stretch out the participation pattern, though learners are still required to pass the associated assessments. Shorter attention spans necessitate different learning designs.
eLearning Lessons from ShifteLearning
In late 2014, ShifteLearning issued “31 eLearning Lessons from 2014 to Guide You in 2015.” The following points are our distillation of those lessons:
- Use neuroscience research to craft segments of 20-minutes or less: using what we know about how the brain works will help to create effective, engaging “chapters”
- Include stories to reinforce learnings: stories help learners relate to the material being presented
- Balance cognition and emotion: including too little emotion affects reasoning in a negative way, while too much emotion causes parts of the brain to stop working
- Create learner-centric courses: creating content with learners in mind will be more readily accepted by participants
- Use real-world examples to make the material come alive
- Remember the power of visuals when designing the eLearning experience: capitalize on the fact that most people are still visual learners
- Gamify the learning process: especially if your learners are young people, add game elements, game mechanics, and game design to the process. Games are very engaging
What’s coming in eLearning?
We can all expect better eLearning courses with shorter segments that capitalize on what we know about neuroscience. With learner-centric courses and gamification, we will see welcome, improved learning outcomes. In addition, these highly engaged learners will be rewarded for applying what they have learned.