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Five obstacles to avoid when starting out in e-learning

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There a various ways of creating an e-learning course but the same mistakes tend to crop up again and again. In this article, we have drawn up a list of the 5 most common mistakes made by beginners in e-learning and offer some practical advice for avoiding them!

Mistake no. 1: Transposing your face-to-face course into an e-learning course

You may have a course that works really well, you know it inside-out and your trainees always leave completely satisfied. Can’t you just film it and put it online to achieve the same success? Mistake!

Why?

There are many reasons why it is not possible to directly transpose a face-to-face course into an e-learning course. For videos, for example, your tone or pace may not be suited to the screen. A slower pace or inappropriate humour can risk putting your students off. With regard to training materials, powerpoints are often designed to be commented on and presented orally. Consequently, giving your students a simple PPT can be frankly demotivating or, worse still, incomprehensible. Lastly, face-to-face training has a major advantage: it is interactive. During your classes, you probably include practical exercises or question and answer sessions that cannot be transposed directly to an e-learning session.

How to avoid making this mistake?

You will have to adapt your course! To do this, start from scratch and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who am I addressing? What do my trainees need?
  • What training materials will you give your trainees?
  • How long will the distance-learning course last?
  • How are you going to measure the learning goals?

Based on your answers to these questions, you can adapt your lesson to an e-learning format. Say goodbye to hour-long videos! Instead, split up topics to alternate content and add quizzes, text and practical sheets.

Mistake no. 2: Not taking enough care over technical aspects

It is very easy nowadays to create e-learning courses with a smartphone and a computer. Be careful, however! Being able to do things quickly and at little cost does not mean you can rush the technical aspect.

Why?

It is easier to lose someone’s attention on a computer: the slightest detail can discourage a user! Your learners will expect a course as smooth-flowing as a face-to-face lesson. Pay attention to two factors in particular: first, the quality of your materials. It you are trembling while the video is being shot or the sound is poor quality, your trainees risk abandoning the course midway through. Second, the quality of the platform on which your course is posted: the ease of use of the LMS (learning management system) will enable your trainees to become more easily immersed in the training.

How to avoid making this mistake?

As regards content, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are many online tutorials available to improve the quality of your videos or presentations at little cost. Always try to put yourself in your learners’ shoes: how are they going to use it? What content will interest them? Consider testing your courses in advance to validate the quality of the materials.

As regards the choice of LMS, this is a crucial question that must be taken into account early on in the process of creating an e-learning course. Don’t hesitate to test several types of software and to contact their customer service to express your needs in more detail. Here are a few important points to validate in advance:

  • The ergonomics of the website for your trainees: they must be able to navigate easily between their different modules.
  • The quality of the customer service: you may have 30 trainees to manage and you may not be very tech-savvy! In which case you will require the assistance of customer support!
  • Check the evaluation features of the course: measuring the learning goals of your trainees is vital in a distance-learning course.

Mistake no. 3: Not paying enough attention to content

On the other hand, technology cannot replace teaching. Whatever the quality of the video (or media) you share, if the content is not designed to correspond to the learner’s needs, they will quickly become bored!

Why?

Video editing software, LMS and interactive quizzes are only ever tools to deliver the course content. A pretty presentation cannot replace actual content. This is why it is difficult to outsource the creation of an e-learning course. If you do not pay sufficient attention to the teaching content of your courses, your learner may have the impression of not progressing and abandon the course midway through.

How to avoid making this mistake?

There are two factors to take into account when creating a satisfying course for trainees. First, as mentioned above, always base the course on the learner’s need. What do they expect to gain from this training? Based on this information, you can then build the various modules and select your course materials. Second, evaluate their progress. An e-learning course enables you to collect a lot of data about a trainee: the time they spend watching a lesson, the number of tests they take, the number of times they retake them, etc. All of this information can then be used to create and personalize the trainee’s programme to ensure the course is suited to the learner’s pace and enables them to learn and progress!

Mistake no. 4: Not testing the course before launching it

Launching an online training course is like creating a new product, even if the former is intangible and the second is an actual object. You wouldn’t market a car before having tested it, right? The same logic applies to a distance-learning course: it is better to test it fully before clicking on the ‘publish’ button.

Why?

In face-to-face training, a minor problem can easily be resolved: the trainer can manage unexpected events and adapt their course to the various situations that may arise. Online training is very different: the trainee is left to their own devices and it is very easy for them to leave their course. Any obstacle in their training journey therefore incurs the risk of their abandonment. Pay careful attention, therefore, to bugs, to the quality of the sequencing and to how the course is displayed depending on the browser used!

How to avoid making this mistake?

To check your training, start by putting yourself in the place of the trainees and completing it yourself in full. Pay particular attention to hypertext links, spelling mistakes and the various file formats. For some content, such as videos, test its display on the main web browsers available (Chrome, Safari, Mozilla) and on a smartphone.

Apart from the technical aspect, check the consistency of the course as a whole with a few ‘trial’ trainees. This is a chance to see if your quizzes are appropriate and if your teaching goals are relevant!

Mistake no. 5: Create and market your online course

For online courses as for face-to-face courses, the teaching content alone is not enough to constitute an offer of training: both before and after its launch, you must market the course and monitor its implementation!

Why?

E-learning frees a training company from operating solely within its geographical area. You still need to recruit learners, however! Apart from designing and creating a high-quality training course, you also need to make yourself known to potential trainees, perform client follow-up and quality control, update the courses, etc. Nowadays, a trainer seeking to diversify their business through distance learning cannot rely solely on their teaching skills but must also fulfil the role of a sales rep, a technical manager and a marketing director!

How to avoid making this mistake?

Don’t be afraid to delegate! If you don’t have all the necessary skills internally, it is possible to acquire them, to use a service provider or to find them within the available e-learning solutions! Some software, for example, helps you manage your training from an administrative, teaching and financial point of view. Basically, there is no need to feel isolated: feel free to talk about it to those around you!

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