In the e-learning world, when choosing the perfect training approach, there are multiple factors to consider ―content, culture, training goals, deadlines, budgets... Depending on the available resources and training goals, different methods can be implemented. But there are so many formats available! How do companies choose the right approach? At Third Term, we're experts in helping clients find the ultimate strategy for their training initiatives.

Today, we are sharing 5 key aspects to consider when planning e-learning. After reading, you'll be able to identify the different e-learning formats and when it's best to implement each of them. Let's dive in!

1) Level of customization

The level of customization refers to how tailored and adaptable the learning experience is. A highly customized e-learning program is crafted to precisely fit a specific audience, while less customized options tend to be more generic and suitable for a wider range of learners. Here, we may find:

Off-the-shelf solutions: These solutions are pre-designed content packages made by third-party vendors or content providers, typically suitable for a broader audience. While these solutions are time and cost-effective, it must be considered that they often cover only generic, universally relevant topics, lacking personalization to specific individual needs.

Tailor-made solutions: Tailor-made solutions, also known as custom e-learning, are meticulously crafted to meet the distinct needs and goals of each client. Instructional designers collaborate closely with subject matter experts and stakeholders to provide a course with a high level of personalization. Due to its customized content, it is the ideal strategy to address technical and cultural subjects relevant to a specific company. When creating tailor-made solutions, all of the following factors are taken into account:

2) Modality

Once the level of personalization has been determined, it is important to define how users will navigate the course, considering their needs and skills. The modality of the course will determine how the learning content and other instructions are conveyed. Based on your audience, e-learning programs can include:

Voice-guided lessons: These lessons employ audio narration to deliver instructional content, allowing learners to listen to an instructor or voice-over instead of reading text-based material. This human touch enhances engagement and stimulation, making it popular in video lectures, podcasts, and interactive simulations.

Text-guided lessons: Text-guided learning primarily relies on written content to convey instructional material to learners. It involves written modules, interactive texts, and online articles. Text-guided learning is widely used in e-learning due to its versatility, as it also allows the learner to navigate the course at their own pace. Furthermore, many global clients choose this approach to integrate content in different languages, since the written format facilitates the translation process.

3) Multimedia presentation

Once the last step has been decided, it is time to choose how the course content will be visualized by learners through the use of multiple multimedia elements. Several approaches may be taken: it can be animated with interactive images; filmed with real actors to showcase a realistic scenario; illustrated with static or dynamic graphics; and represented in 3D by using virtual simulations for practical exercises. Click on the categories to see an example!

4) Experience

e-Learning can also be classified based on the overall learning encounter that you want to achieve, and how it resonates with the learner. This is a very important point, as experiential learning plays an important role in e-learning content for adults. In this sense, an online learning experience can be:

• Activity-Focused: Activity-focused training strengthens hands-on learning experiences. Instead of passively consuming information, learners actively engage in exercises, simulations, and assignments. By applying their knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios, learners gain a deeper understanding of concepts and retain information for longer durations.

• On-the-job: On-the-job learning occurs while performing work-related tasks, promoting continuous learning in the professional environment. It focuses on workplace-based training, allowing learners to gain practical experience and acquire skills directly relevant to their roles, seamlessly integrating theory and practice.

• Meaningful: Meaningful learning involves acquiring knowledge and skills in a personally relevant and significant manner. Instructors can create meaningful learning by relating content to learners' interests, experiences, and aspirations. This connection fosters purpose and relevance, enhancing the learning experience's engagement, enjoyment, and effectiveness.

• Personalized: Personalized learning tailors the e-learning experience to meet individual learners' needs and preferences. By utilizing adaptive technologies and data-driven approaches, content and learning paths are customized to address learners' unique strengths, weaknesses, and interests.

• Interactive: This approach emphasizes active engagement and participation of learners in the learning process. Unlike traditional passive learning methods where learners simply receive information, interactive learning encourages students to interact with the content, their peers, and the instructor through the use of technology, activities, and multimedia material.

5) Instructional techniques

This concept refers to those techniques used to enhance learner engagement, understanding, and application of knowledge. To create an interactive and immersing learning experience, several techniques can be applied:

• Gamification: Gamification is the application of game elements and mechanics in a non-game context, such as e-learning. This approach involves using game elements like points, badges, and rewards to motivate learners and create a sense of achievement, enhancing engagement and progress.

• Storytelling: Storytelling is a powerful instructional technique that uses narratives to convey educational content. By presenting information in the form of stories, e-learning courses become more relatable, memorable, and emotionally engaging. Learners connect with characters, scenarios, and plots, which helps them better understand complex concepts and remember information.

• Use analogies: Analogies are comparisons between known concepts and new, unfamiliar ideas to enhance understanding. This instructional technique allows learners to bridge the gap between what they already know and what they need to learn. Analogies make complex information more accessible by relating it to familiar concepts, simplifying the learning process.

• Scenarios: Scenarios expose learners to practical situations and challenges they may encounter in their professional roles. This approach encourages learners to apply their knowledge and make decisions within a secure and risk-free setting. Scenarios stimulate active learning and problem-solving skills by requiring learners to analyze and respond to complex situations.

• Case studies: Case studies involve a thorough examination of a particular case, often real, to comprehend complex problems and explore solutions. This technique motivates learners to analyze, assess, and propose strategies based on their understanding of the subject, fostering critical thinking skills.

To obtain high-quality results, various techniques are combined, aimed at improving the overall experience and contributing to an enhanced pedagogical approach. For instance, this is how one of our gamified scenarios looks:

Do you want to check the entire project? Read the article published by Articulate here.

That’s it! Now you know everything you need to start planning your e-learning program! Do you need any help? Do not hesitate to contact us!

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