LizSheffieldBioLiz Sheffield is a freelance writer with a background in training and development. She specializes in writing about everything related to the human side of business. You can contact her via LinkedIn or Twitter.


Halloween is right around the corner and while you may not be handing out candy to eLearners, your goal should be to leave them feeling treated – rather than tricked – at the end of your course. Avoid making eLearners feel tricked with these three tips:

Keep the style and tone consistent for your eLearner audience

This is one of the design drums I beat over and over again. If you want your learners to embrace your content, you can’t expect them to adapt to a new format or new look and feel every time they login to complete one of your courses. Learners can more easily engage with content that’s consistent and reliable. Keep the style and tone consistent. And when you do need to make significant style changes, let your learners know so they don’t feel tricked.

Don’t make activities too simple or too difficult

Activities are one of the most important ways you can ensure that a transfer of learning happens. For these to be as effective as possible, you need evaluate them carefully. eLearners don’t want to feel tricked with questions that are too easy. Likewise, they will get frustrated if the activities are too difficult and impossible to complete. It’s a fine balance. Make sure you have some unbiased reviewers who can review the content and help you determine if you’re hitting the mark or not when it comes to the complexity of your eLearning activities.

Deliver a product that you’ve thoroughly tested

Have you ever received a 404 Not Found error message when you click on a website link? Well, of course you have – we all have. As an end user in that situation, the result doesn’t produce warm-fuzzy feelings. Some of us might even feel duped into clicking on a link that doesn’t work.

You don’t want eLearners to have that same, less than warm-fuzzy feeling while they’re interacting with your content. Avoid the 404 Not Found error message or the broken activity by testing, testing, testing, and testing your content to prevent errors from happening. Do all the links, buttons, and interactions work? Does the course display accurately on every device? (Hint: If you know some devices don’t support the course, tell learners in advance. Don’t trick them into finding out on their own.) Is the “course complete” functionality working?

Not only will these tips help you produce eLearning that creates happy learners, it also showcases your talent, and helps establish your credibility. The best thing about providing eLearners with training that’s a “treat” rather than a “trick”? They’ll come back for more!

If you have ever suffered from a bad bait-and-switch eLearning experience or have had your expectations pleasantly met through eLearning, let us know in the comments!

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