Posted on

52 eLearning Experts Share their Best Tip for Creating Engaging eLearning

Create Engaging eLearning - Quotes from 52 ExpertsAs an instructional designer, I’m always trying to make my eLearning courses more interesting, effective, and engaging.

But with a mountain of content to produce, tight deadlines, and a small budget, where do you even start?

That’s why I decided to ask the leading eLearning industry experts to share their single best tip for creating engaging learning.

Their responses are awesome. Check out the tips below.

I’ve even compiled it all into a FREE eBook that you can download here.

 

Here are our amazing eLearning experts
Tom Kuhlmann | Karl Kapp | Ray Jimenez | Patti Shank | Bryan Jones
Michael Allen | Rick Zanotti | Mike Taylor | Tim Buteyn | Diane Elkins

Cathy Moore | Lesley Price | Lieve Weymeis | Ryan Tracey | Jennifer Valley
Cammy Bean | Eric Bort | Dave Richards | Mark Britz | Nancy Woinoski

Clive Shepherd | Eric Tremblay | Bruce Graham | Charles Hamper | Jackie Van Nice
Jane Bozarth | Brooke Schepker | Christy Tucker | Wendy Wickham | Bianca Woods

Julie Dirksen | Matt Guyan | John Blackmon | Rod Ward | Kevin Thorn
Jane Hart | Tim Slade | Melissa Milloway | Kristin Anthony | Phil Mayor

Connie Malamed | Linda Lorenzetti | Richard Watson | Patti Bryant | Anita Horsley
Clark Quinn | Steve Haskin | Erik Lord | Ant Pugh | Brian Allen

Charles Jennings | Articulate Community Team

Tom Kuhlmann

Placing a person in a real-life scenario where they get to make decisions (for good or bad) is ideal. However, we know most courses don’t do that. In that case, make them visually interesting and create a story around the content rather than screens of bullet points.

Tom is the Chief Architect at Articulate. He has grown their community to be the go-to industry resource and helps shape the entire Articulate product line. Tom also authors The Rapid eLearning Blog, one of the most followed eLearning blogs, with over 100k+ readers.


Karl Kapp

Engage the learner’s curiosity. Don’t start with objectives, start with questions the learner needs to answer or that the instruction will answer. However, don’t put all the questions that need to be answered at the beginning of the instruction, sprinkle them throughout. To make eLearning more engaging, think of how a TV mystery show is created. It starts with a mystery and then you think you have the question answered (who did it?) and then there is a twist and a turn and more questions and then finally the ending. Use a similar model to design your eLearning, so instead of a mystery, start with a question and then more questions and finally the answer. Let learners work for answers don’t just give them answers in the form of bulleted content.

Karl is an Instructional Technology Graduate Professor at Bloomsburg University. He is well known for his books, courses, writing, consulting, and talks on interactive learning, games, and gamification. You can learn more about Karl on his website.


Ray Jimenez

Write, speak, engage from your heart, try not to be a phony, be sincerely curious

Ray is the Architect and Evangelist of micro-learning and story-based design, technologies, and systems. He is a frequent conference speaker and is well known for his expertise in stories and learning. You can learn more about Ray and his work here.


Patti Shank, PhD

The best way I know to engage people in elearning is to solve genuine learning needs. How? Know their jobs. Ask questions about their projects. Then make it quick. Make it painless. Get them what they need, when they need it, in the form they need it. People are very busy and are getting even busier.

Patti is the Founder of Learning Peaks, a published author, and a frequent speaker at eLearning conferences. Patti is also a popular author on the ATD Science of Learning Blog, Learning Solutions Magazine, and her own blog. Learn more about Patti here.


Bryan Jones

Having content pushed on us in the form of bullets and slides is clicking boring. What people care about isn’t information, but how to USE the information to do something. Flip eLearning content from “push” to “pull.” Create realistic scenarios that force learners to make decisions. Let the content be pulled through choices and feedback.

Bryan is the President of eLearningArt. He has created one of the world’s largest image and template libraries that helps eLearning developers build better training. You can learn more about Bryan at the eLearningArt blog.


Michael Allen

CCAF! Context, challenge, activity, feedback. Instead of designing by focusing on content (let alone PowerPoint slides) as is so common, we produce engaging e-learning by focusing on the learning experience first and foremost. The most straightforward way of doing that is to 1) define a context that learners can readily see themselves in and therefore relate to, 2) present challenges for learners to handle actively, 3) enable actions that clearly approximate the performance we are targeting, and 4) give feedback, mostly in the form of consequences for each action so learners come to associate different outcomes with the various decisions and actions they might select.

Michael Allen is the CEO of Allen Interactions. He has been a pioneer in the e-Learning industry since 1975. He’s well known for his books, thought leadership, and conference speaking engagements. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in educational psychology. You can learn more about Michael here.


Rick Zanotti

Put the “multi-” back into multi-media, which is what eLearning is all about. Use all forms of media at your disposal to engage and promote retention.

Rick is the President of Relate Corporation, an e-Learning and Training company. He also hosts the popular eLearnChat video series, where he has interviewed over 100 eLearning experts. You can learn more about Rick here.


Mike Taylor

Think like a marketer. Like marketers, we are also trying to gain attention and motivate people to action. The marketing approach is very different and usually much better. Respect the fact that there are a lot of other things competing for the attention of your audience. Focus your learning and pare it down to its simplest, clearest, easiest-to-understand form. Invoke emotion. Make it fun, sexy, interesting, mysterious, etc so that they WANT to learn more about your topic. Use appealing visuals to help you achieve those goals.

Mike is a learning technologist at Mindset Digital, as well as a former Community Manager at Articulate. He is also a frequent eLearning conference presenter and expert eLearning blogger. You can learn more about Mike on his blog.


Diane Elkins

Put your information into context. Think about some guy named Joe doing his job on some random Thursday in November. What situation will arise where he’s going to need to use the information you are presenting. Tell that story.

Diane is the Owner of Artisan E-Learning. She is an award winning designer and a frequent speaker at eLearning conference. She is also the author of multiple eLearning books. You can read more about Diane on the Artisan blog.


Tim Buteyn

RELEVANT and FUN! We should all know by now that people really only care about…what they care about. So, who has time for material that doesn’t resonate? Make a direct connection from the new material to information, procedures, or consequences the learner already understands. Furthermore, doing this in a way that’s fun can make training feel more like a diversion than just another mundane requirement. Realistic games or scenario challenges that generate that “let me try again” feeling is the ultimate engagement. We all have enough things in our lives that we dread; don’t make training one of them.

Tim is the President and Chief e-Learning Strategist at ThinkingKap Learning Solutions. He is an award-winning eLearning developer and writes one of the top blogs in the industry. You can read more about Tim and his thoughts on his blog.


Cathy Moore

First make sure that elearning will actually solve the problem. Then, understand the problem–what do people need to DO? Help them practice doing it with realistic challenges, preferably spaced over time. That will make your elearning relevant and useful, which will make it engaging.

Cathy Moore is an expert in eLearning scenario design. Her goal is to save the world from boring training, which she does by consulting with organizations across the globe, writing for her own popular blog, and offering an amazing scenario design workshop.


Lesley Price

To engage learners there has to be a WIFFM – What’s In It For Me, so it’s not just about eLearning content, even more important is the context. If all that’s required is a quick job-aid, then provide it, don’t create click next learning. If however the learning is more complex, story-telling can be very powerful. Branching scenarios are a great way to provide information, allow people to make decisions, see consequences of their actions and learn both from getting it right and, more importantly, from making their own mistakes.

Lesley is a Senior Consultant at Learn Appeal and a Facilitator for #chat2lrn on Twitter. She specializes in analyzing complex situations and designing, implementing, and managing programs from a local to national scale. Follow Lesley on Twitter here.


Lieve Weymeis

A learner is a human being. This means that learning is most effective when invoking emotions and facilitating peer collaboration. That doesn’t necessary mean ‘gamification’! Humor, story telling, facilitating communication between learners by social media or – if possible – IRL will reinforce the learning climate. Boredom and solitude are THE enemies of all learning methods, but even more for eLearning.

Lieve is a Freelancer at Lilybiri Consultant Trainer. She is an Adobe Community Professional, where she is well know as “Lilybiri” and is often the first to respond to just about every question asked! Lieve posts frequent tutorials on her blog.


Ryan Tracey

My tip for making eLearning more engaging is to use video scenarios. Far too much content “tells” us what to do, when what we really need is to see it in action. That way we can gain a deeper understanding of how we can apply the theory in real life. I like to show a bad scenario (something done poorly) and contrast that with a good scenario (the same thing done again but following the theory, thereby achieving a better outcome). Branched scenarios add an extra level of engagement yet again, by empowering the learner to make decisions and experience the consequences of those decisions.

Ryan is a popular eLearning blogger and learning experience designer based in Australia.. He holds a Master of Learning Sciences & Technology. Ryan is an eLearning specialist in the corporate sector and is a manager, writer, blogger, reviewer, mentor, and advisor. Learn more about Ryan on his blog.


Jennifer Valley

Think like a learner! What draws in your attention? Makes you sit up in your chair? Whatever it may be, use it to your advantage in eLearning.

Jennifer is the Community Manager at Trivantis, the company behind the Lectora eLearning authoring tool. She brings her experience in eLearning development and instructional design to empower the Lectora community to build better eLearning. Check out the Trivantis community here.


Cammy Bean

It’s all about the people, man! Remember that actual human beings will be sitting down and engaging with your content. Make it human by writing in a conversational tone — avoid lots of jargon and run on sentences. And be sure to make the content you share relevant to the human beings in your audience. Provide real-world examples and stories that will make the experience more meaningful. Think about including audio or video clips of real people talking about the subject — lessons they’ve learned, mistakes they’ve made along the way. Their voices will add authenticity and humanity.

Cammy is the Vice President of Learning Design at Kineo. Her popular book, The Accidental Instructional Designer, is a must-read for all instructional designers. She’s also a frequent speaker at eLearning conferences and frequently blogs on her own blog, Learning Visions.


Eric Bort

Start with a story – people relate to emotion, excitement and analogy a lot better than robotic bullets and a content dump. Writing a great story vs. a dull script usually costs about the same in time and effort as well – it’s the least expensive way to get the most memorable impact out of your training.

Eric is an award-winning eLearning developer and the President of Clearly Trained. His projects have reached massive scale, being viewed by over 100 million unique users. If you’re looking for design inspiration or need some help with your custom development, check him out over at Clearly Trained.


Dave Richards

The new aspiration is for the course to be delivered in a system that includes content intelligence so it can adapt to the learner based on what outcomes are desired.

Also, everyone is busy, so you better find a way to short form the content to a series of mini modules that can each be consumed in under two min.

Finally, never miss an opportunity to bring real-world experience into the mix and provide learners with immersive concepts, sounds, graphics animations, etc., that will lower the cognitive load and provide a bit of infotainment.

Dave is the Founder of RISEcx and an award-winning eLearning developer. He’s also hosted me in backyard olympics at his house outside of Portland, Oregon (I won’t say who won). Dave is an all-around creative guy and the courses he produces are inspirational. Learn more about Dave here.


Mark Britz

Advances in technology have often distracted elearning professionals from what lies at the core of an effective learning experience – an emotional connection. Emotion is tapped through story, conversation, experience and opportunities to reflect (group or personal). These are the elements that have led to effective learning for over 10,000 years and although technology can enhance our learning it cannot change how we learn. My tip then – provide opportunities for an emotional connection to the content; invite conversations, create associations to personal experiences, and provide opportunity to practice and reflect upon that practice with others.

Mark is a performance strategist and the Senior Manager of Programs for the eLearning Guild. He’s also a frequent eLearning conference presenter and blogger at The Simple Shift. I also had the pleasure of being on Mark’s eLearning simulation development team at SmartForce 16 years ago!


Nancy Woinoski

Ready? Here’s my number one tip for creating engaging elearning:
Focus on the copywriting! Hook your learners with a compelling opening – starting with the title. Write in active voice and ditch the academic speak. Go light on adjectives and heavy on action verbs. Use questions or open loops to instill curiosity. Tell stories.
Write a first draft and then edit, edit, edit to eliminate everything that doesn’t support your objectives. Go for simplicity but don’t dumb down the content. If your course is easy enough for a monkey to do (even a smart monkey), you’ll lose your audience.

Nancy is the President at Pinched Head. She is an award-winning eLearning designer and developer. You can learn more about Nancy and Pinched Head on her company website.


Clive Shepherd

The number one factor in engagement is relevance, because relevance drives out resistance. If a person has a need – to solve a current problem, to gain some personal advantage, to reduce a risk – then they will invest time and energy in meeting that need, even if that means working through some rather uninspiring e-learning. Obviously other elements come into play – storytelling, stretching but reachable challenges, engaging media – but without relevance the learner will pay them little attention.

Clive is the Founding Director at The More Than Blended Learning Company. He is a recognized thought leader and author in the eLearning space with over 30 years of experience in technology-assisted learning and communications. You can read more about Clive on his blog.


Eric Tremblay

Learners don’t want to learn from machines. They want to learn from expert humans who leverage technology effectively. When thinking about eLearning or online learning, stop thinking about technology to “replace” human instructors and start thinking about technology to “enable” human instructors.

Eric is the Manager of Online Learning and Development and an Adjunct Professor at Queen’s University. Eric is a Certified Instructional Designer and also holds an MSc in Pharmacology and Toxicology and an M.Ed in Adult Education and Distance Learning. Learn more about Eric here.


Bruce Graham

The only way to make eLearning “engaging” (in my opinion…), is to make it “speak” to the learners, solving a personal or business problem or challenge that they have. That said, images speak louder than words. The bullet point is dead, the situation, or vision are king. Bryan’s backgrounds, templates and images provide for virtually every occasion, and I have used them to visually enhance hundreds of courses over the years.

Bruce is a Freelance Instructional designer specializing in Articulate Storyline, PowToon, and Video Scribe. He is well known in the Articulate community as a “Hero” and is often the first one to jump in to help other community members. Learn more about Bruce here.


Charles Hamper

I like to look at the overall idea (given in a short slide or paragraph) and try to build a visual system that mirrors that idea. This can be photos, a graphic, or even short text, making a map of the idea. The key is to keep it as simple as possible, so that it compliments the voice over instead of distracting from it.

Charles is a Media Developer for CHDS-VRC. He specializes in breaking down and presenting complex content in a useful and intuitive way. You can see samples of his animations, eLearning, and other work at Monterey Motion Graphics.


Jackie Van Nice

When designing for learner engagement I make sure I:
1. Create realistic context for the material so that it resonates with learners in a meaningful way,
2. Come up with real-world challenges where the learner must make decisions and take action, and
3. Show learners the consequences of their decisions and actions in the form of feedback, which is also where I’ll focus new material to be presented.

This approach works really well in the form of a game, but it can be used in even the simplest eLearning presentations to make them meaningful, involving, and effective!

Jackie is an eLearning Designer and proud Articulate Super Hero. She creates amazing examples for the weekly Articulate challenges and frequently doles out sage wisdom in the forums. Jackie also blogs about her eLearning experiences on her own website.


Jane Bozarth

Don’t just start loading content onto slides. Before you begin, step away from the computer and ask, “How can I help people learn this?” Look for an interesting treatment, narrative, theme, or story to help learners get the material while being presented with an interesting setup that supports a sense of accomplishment and forward motion.

Jane is the author of several popular eLearning industry books, frequently writes for eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Magazine, and is a regular speaker at conferences. She’s also an eLearning Coordinator for the State of North Carolina. Learn more about Jane at her blog.


Brooke Schepker

Imagine you were delivering the content in front of an audience…talk to the learners in the same manner…use conversational tone, transitions, use imagery and movement as if you were moving your hands during the talk, engage stories when possible, and the like.

Brooke is the EVP of Yukon Learning and is passionate about “Making eLearning Easy for Everyone.” At Yukon, Brooke specializes in providing Articulate training, content, and development for both individuals and organizations. You can learn more about Brooke here.


Christy Tucker

Instead of only typical multiple choice questions, try mini-scenarios. Write a few sentences to set a scenario with a problem. A customer voices an objection, software displays an error message, or an employee asks a manager for help. Next, ask learners which action or response they would choose. Now you have a one-question decision-making scenario rather than just an abstract comprehension question. You can do this with any tool, and it creates a more interesting practice or assessment to engage learners.

Christy is an learning design consultant and specializes in using storytelling and technology to engage learners. She writes frequently at her own blog, Experience E-learning, which has been recognized as one of the top blogs in the industry.


Wendy Wickham

Keep it short. Small, relevant chunks. 3 minutes or less.

Wendy is the Principal of Middle Curve Consulting and has over 13 years of IT and training experience. Wendy is recognized as one of the top eLearning bloggers with her Middle of the Curve blog.


Bianca Woods

Know your audience! Great eLearning design isn’t universal, so what might work fantastically for one audience may completely tank with another. By getting to know more about the audience you’re designing your eLearning for, you can customize what you create to their actual needs. Start with questions like what do they already know about this topic, how does this topic fit into their real work, what about the topic are they struggling with, how have they responded to eLearning in the past, and what setting will they be accessing it from – anything that helps you see things from their perspective.

Bianca is an Advisor, Design and Communications for BMO Financial Group. She holds an MS in Education Media Design and Technology and is passionate about both teaching and technology. Learn more about Bianca here.


Julie Dirksen

The best thing you can do to make learning more engaging is to give people the opportunity to do something with the learning right away. I’ll sometime ask people to rate their interest in a video on printer repair. The answer is zero. Then I’ll ask people to rate their interest in the video if I put a broken printer in front of them, and the number goes up. If people have something they themselves need to print, then their interest gets very high. It’s the same video in all three scenarios, but the engagement is very different.

Julie is a well known eLearning author and speaker. She is a Learning Strategy Consultant for Usable Learning. She also holds an MS in Instructional System Technology. Julie’s book, Design for How People Learn, is a must read for every instructional designer. Learn more about Julie here.


Matt Guyan

There’s different types of engagement in eLearning – there’s the visual (the look and feel), the physical (meaningful interaction within) and most importantly the mental (stimulating thinking). While the first two are needed, if you really want to make eLearning engaging for people create something that’s relevant for them, arouse their curiosity, challenge what they know, have them make decisions with consequences and ultimately help them to perform better.

Matt is a Solutions Developer for B Online Learning. Matt has been so helpful in the Articulate forums that he’s been designated “Hero” status. He also delivers Articulate Storyline 2 training and facilitates a Master eLearning Course. Learn more about Matt here.


John Blackmon

Rather than having a series of “read and click next” type pages, allow the user to explore the content in the way that’s right for them. Give them a way to traverse the material in a non-linear fashion so that they aren’t just viewing a presentation. Consider adding in gamification methodologies into the navigation that rewards the consumers of your content for getting through each area of the course. This not only makes the information more interesting, it also can allow for the material to be used as performance support, as any section can be referenced when needed.

John is the Chief Technical Officer at Trivantis, the company behind the Lectora eLearning authoring tool. You can learn more about John and connect with him here.


Rod Ward

Most learners will find e-learning content ‘engaging’ if they see it as directly relevant to things they need to know, or tasks they need to perform. So rather than just making the content an ‘info-dump’, try to find out more about your target audience and then design the content to be a close fit for their specific needs. Don’t worry about the ‘bells and whistles’ of interactivity or graphic design until you know exactly how to address this issue. The other elements of the design can then flow from this need.

Rod in the Director of Infosemantics, an eLearning professional services company in Australia. Rod is well known in the Adobe community and has been designated an Adobe Community Professional (ACP). He excels at simplifying complex topics into layman’s terms. Read Rod’s advice about building interactive learning here.


Kevin Thorn

Engaging elearning doesn’t necessarily mean complex interactions. Keeping learners engaged has a lot to do with the overall design. Best tip: Spend equal to if not more time to the overall experience design with an emphasis on a good visual design.

Kevin is the Chief NuggetHead at NuggetHead Studioz. He’s an award-winning eLearning developer and an Articulate Super Hero. Kevin is also an amazing illustrator and a popular conference and workshop speaker. You can learn more about Kevin on his blog.


Jane Hart

Thinking you need to make your elearning more engaging, suggests that there is an issue with motivation to use it. People will only want to engage if it is relevant to their needs or helps them solve problems. So focus on understanding THEIR needs and providing them with the content that best suits those needs, in the format THEY want, to be used in the way THEY want – rather than creating stuff in the way YOU want and adding in gratuitous bells and whistles to make them use it in the way YOU want. It is the ability to have some choice and flexibility in how it is to be used that makes the difference.

Jane is a speaker, writer, and independent modern workplace learning advisor. She is also the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, one of the world’s most visited learning sites.


Tim Slade

The creation of engaging e-learning content is an intersection of great visual design and meaningful interaction. Exciting graphics help to pull your learners in, and meaningful interactions makes the learning memorable and effective.

Tim Slade is an award-winning eLearning developer and the Sr E-Learning Manager for Technical Products at GoDaddy. He’s authored several eLearning books, is a frequent conference speaker, and is a community “Hero” at Articulate. Learn more about Tim here.


Melissa Milloway

The best thing that you can do is invest in your professional development. Build your skills; whether it be in creating multimedia, developing with code, or designing scenarios and storytelling. Specialize in something and team up with colleagues who have different strengths. Everyone has a strength that they can further develop to add to creating effective and engaging learning. I often see Learning Professionals who forget about their own learning, that’s the biggest mistake you can make.

Melissa is a Sr Instructional Designer at Amazon.com. If you’ve visited the Articulate Hero’s forums, you’ve probably seen some of her awesome examples, tips, and helpful responses. She also shares numerous helpful posts on her LinkedIn author page.


Kristin Anthony

Honestly, I think the best way to make elearning engaging is to create or curate the content that motivated people to get stuff done and remove as many barriers as possible. Trying to motivate people may well be a highly overrated task. Instead, focus on helping people do the things they want to be able to do and getting rid of, or providing efficient pathways through the things that get in their way. Designing for stress cases and moments of need are excellent frameworks.

Kristin Anthony is an Instructional Designer at Planview. She frequently shares her thoughts and examples on her blog and is the host of the “Dear Instructional Designer” Podcast.


Phil Mayor

It is important to think about the user experience and ensure that what ever you build can be picked up and used without giving instructions. Look at Tablet apps for inspiration, a six year old can pick up a tablet and use it without need instruction this is what you should be aiming for. Try and follow web conventions this makes it much easier for a user to navigate your course. Look at micro interactions as a way of simplifying the user experience and navigation.
Make it fun if at all possible, can you add in any easter eggs? This would make the user want to explore your course to see what else they can find!

Above all make it relevant to the target market, if the user wants to learn and can see the purpose of the interaction they will be engaged.

Phil is the Creative Director of Elearning Laboratory. He is an Articulate Super Hero and award-winning eLearning developer. The best way to learn more about Phil is to follow him on Twitter.


Connie Malamed

Interview sample audience members and find out how the training or education fits in to their world. Discover their challenges and obstacles at work or at school. Identify their real-world needs. When you get to know the audience and empathize with their feelings, their thoughts and their environment, things will fall into place. You will know how to make things engaging because you understand your audience and you can connect with them… person to person.

Connie, known online as the “eLearning Coach,” is the author of Visual Design Solutions, a top rated eLearning design book. She has also been consulting independently for nearly two decades, with a focus on online learning, visual and information strategies and design. Learn more about Connie here.


Linda Lorenzetti

Make the course as interactive as possible. You want to grab their attention and hold their interest. The more they interact with the course, the more likely they will retain the information that they learn.

Linda is the Senior eLearning Developer at Public Services Health & Safety Association. She’s a frequent conference speaker and has built countless eLearning modules for both her organization and their clients. Her projects are often featured in the Articulate community. Learn more about Linda here.


Richard Watson

Design content that is visually appealing, tells a realistic story, and challenges the learner to act. To truly engage learners, they need to be able to navigate your content easily, to be absorbed into a story that is relevant/meaningful from their perspective (e.g., point of view, language, character, environment), and to be challenged to make decisions. Once a learner is interacting with the story and making decisions along the way, their struggles will become opportunities to engage them even more with feedback.

Richard is the President of Bridgehill Learning Solutions. He is an experienced eLearning and instructional designer who believes in taking a collaborative approach with clients on projects. He’s also known in the Articulate community as someone who is both helpful and generous. Learn more about Richard here.


Patti Bryant

My tip for creating engaging eLearning is simple – make it realistic and actionable.

For example, let’s say a property management company needs a “Leasing 101” course for Leasing Agents. One approach might be to provide a lot of detailed information about the company and walk through informational steps of how to lease a property, etc.

Instead of this approach, I believe we must immerse the learner in an experience where they will make real-life decisions. For example, the learner opens the course and sees a potential customer. They ask appropriate questions, look up floor plans, determine which units to show the customer, and find answers to questions they don’t know by looking up the information in a handbook.

It’s actually the simplest thing – we tend to over-complicate it. The most engaging eLearning mimics real life and allows learners to explore.

Patti is the CEO and Founder of Learning Reinvented where she focuses on creating behavior-changing experiences that solve business problems. Patti has over 8 years of training experience and holds an MA in E-Learning Instructional Implementation and Design.


Anita Horsley

Add a variety of multi-media and scenario based training

Anita is the Owner and President of CALEX Learning Consultants. She is well known in the Adobe Community as an Adobe Certified Instructor and Expert and an Adobe Community Professional. She holds a Masters’ degree in Education. You can learn more about Anita here.


Clark Quinn

Well, besides reading my book on the topic (Engaging Learning :), my tip is to find the intrinsic interest and build that into the setting(s) in which you embed the decisions that should be the core of the practice activities.

Clark is the Executive Director at Quinnovation at Principal of the Internet Time Alliance. He is a recognized eLearning author and frequent conference speaker. You can learn more about Clark on his blog.


Steve Haskin

The easiest way to engage learners is visually. When you’re creating your training, think visually. Make visual thinking the first thing you do when you’re at the beginning stage. Keep it new. Create movement on the screen. This will keep your learner’s eyes moving and that will keep your learners engaged. The visual learning you create, along with the information your learners need to know, will have immediate payback in comprehension and will be retained later. We’re talking six months out. If you present your learners with the same old same old slides with data, they’ll tune out. You can lose your audience in the first 10 or so seconds if you don’t build in visual appeal and some visual surprises.

Steve is the Principal & Chief Creator at Industrial Strength Learning. He is an advocate of video and audio in training and coined the term “Photeo,” a style of imagery, that he uses in many of his courses. Steve is a frequent eLearning conference speaker and an author for eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Magazine.


Erik Lord

Make the content as relevant to the learners as possible. Whether that’s using particular references if you know the demographic, or a more generalized scenario for a broader audience, people like to pay attention to things that they find relevant to their own experiences.

The popularity of video platforms (i.e. YouTube) is largely due to people being able to find clips that are relevant to them within a huge library. How do we, as eLearning developers, tap in to that same enthusiasm for our training content?

What’s the story that needs to be told to get the concept across?

Is video the best medium or can we go with a more interactive solution that still involves some sort of story line?
Taking off your designer/developer hat, how would YOU like to learn about the material?

Erik is the Manager, Multimedia Production at DeVry Education Group. He is also an Adobe Community Professional. He has been in the eLearning profession since the term eLearning has been around. You can learn more about Erik here.


Ant Pugh

Combining a variety of tools to create content

Ant is an eLearning and LMS Consultant at eLearning Architect. He’s built countless programs for FTSE-100 organizations. He’s also an expert blogger and guest blogger. Learn more about Ant here.


Brian Allen

Think about if you had your learner in person, what kind of interaction would you use to make your learning more engaging… Coaching? Hands-on exercises? Practice activities? THEN, armed with those ideas, find creative ways to build it into your eLearning course.

Brian is a Design and Technology Consultant for Lexis Nexis. He is known for creating modern and engaging learning experiences. He’s also recognized as an Articulate community “Hero.” You can learn more about Brian and connect here.


Charles Jennings

If learning material, whether eLearning or other type, is designed to be highly relevant and delivered in context then it is likely to be useful. If you need to think about whether it is ‘engaging’ then you’re probably not doing it right.

Charles is the Co-Founder of the 70:20:10 Institute and the Senior Director, Enterprise Strategy of the Internet Time Alliance. Charles is an international keynote speaker and is recognized as a leading expert of 70:20:10 learning strategies. You can learn more about Charles here.


Articulate Community Team

“Entice your learners to take action by inviting them to explore. Not many of us can resist the urge to poke around a new environment; humans are naturally inquisitive. What do we do when we walk into someone’s house for the first time? We take a look around to get a feel for what the person likes, how the person lives, and what we might have in common with them. Most of us wouldn’t feel comfortable peeking inside a friend’s cabinets without good reason. But we might be tempted to look because we might find something interesting or unexpected. Build interactions that your learners want to explore, that entice them to discover content out of curiosity.”

The Articulate Community Team is comprised of some of the world’s top eLearning experts. If you’re interested in learning more about building engaging eLearning, you should read their free ebook on the topic.


Wow! 52 eLearning quotes from the leading experts in the field. A special thanks to all of the experts who took the time to share their best tip on creating engaging eLearning.

If you liked this post, download the FREE eBook with all the quotes, full answers, and author bios

 

Have your own tip, share it in the comments below.

Like this post?

Join over 10,000 people who get exclusive weekly eLearning tips. Plus, get over 100 free images and templates, valued at over $1,600.
  • Linda Lor

    Great tips Bryan! Thanks for including me in the list.

  • http://www.talentlms.com Nikos Andriotis @ TalentLMS

    For 2017 I want to let Clark Quinn’s advice sink deep into my heart – searching for a key to unlock intrinsic motivation in learners in a real quest!

  • Alexis Gardiner

    Hello, Bryan!

    I am so very appreciative of this post. What a wonderful idea this was!! Not only have you provided a great source of tips but you’ve also connected us to some of the greatest minds eLearning has come to know. I’m new to the world of Instructional Design and eLearning, so reading what each individual had to offer has broken down the walls of fear that I had coming into this field. Coming from a field of primary education I saw Instructional Design as, well, IMPOSSIBLE for me to grasp in the time-frame that I’d given myself. However, I’ve been empowered by these tips, and realize that it’s similar to how I construct lessons for my students. I love so many of these tips, but the three things that I’m walking away with are:
    – make it engaging! – GET THEIR ATTENTION
    – make it relevant! – KEEP THEIR ATTENTION
    – make it easy! – BUILD THEIR CONFIDENCE

    Reading this post has encouraged me to look up the relation between a teacher and an instructional designer. This blog I found confirmed my thought that there is a connection, where instructional designers can still be considered teachers-but more so through technology than face-to-face interactions as in a classroom (A great read for those transitioning from teaching to Instructional Design, like myself!). WOW! I guess I can do this after all!

    Thank you for breaking down my walls of IMPOSSIBILITY! I’m ready to give this a try!!

    Suggested read: https://christytucker.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/teacher-to-instructional-designer-interview-questions/.