We recently came across an excellent article on fastcodesign.com about the importance of good web design in influencing user behavior. Writer Aaron Otani laid out four steps for designing pages that get people clicking and send conversion rates skyward. We realized that these tips could easily be applied to eLearning design, and drew a few parallels from Otani’s process.
1. Grab Attention
Start the course off with a showpiece. Wow your learners with a striking design that either demands their attention or one that creates a comfortable environment they wouldn’t mind settling into. If it looks like your course has the aesthetic of an amateur early-90s website, or if the boring layout doesn’t capture the eye, prepare for the inevitable onslaught of rotten vegetables that learners will be hurling at their computer screens. Our templates provide some great visuals right out of the gate to catch the eye of your learners, so take advantage when you can.
2. Influence Decisions
Even if you are dealing with indisputable facts, teaching can be thought of as an exercise in persuasion. You need to present the facts in a coherent way, providing supporting evidence that prods learners to accept your presentation as the truth. If it is an introductory course, try to avoid complex jargon that might alienate a layman. If you must use jargon, do your best to adequately explain the new terms and their implications.
3. Facilitate Action
Layouts and navigation in an eLearning course should be intuitive. A computer novice should be able to sit down and easily understand the controls with minimal instruction. This is not to say that you don’t challenge your learners. Learning something new should make you stretch and grow, but it’s best to have the right tools you need to accomplish those tasks, regardless of their relative complexity.
4. Sustain Behavior
Good learning should stick with you. If I taught you how to replace a bike tire, and the new knowledge stuck with you for all of one day, that’s a failure. If I engaged you in the process, encouraged you when you got something right and was patient in my instruction, you should be able to put your skills into practice, and it should become second nature…like riding a bike!
Don’t be afraid to review material. Introducing concepts in a memorable and understandable way—and then recapping a section or an entire course—can highlight the key points you want to drive home, taking your learners skills from disposable one-time use to a lifelong talent.
What tricks do you use to influence your learners’ behavior? Share your knowledge in the comments!