Creating an engaging user experience (UX) for e-learning and online training is crucial to delivering learning environments that promote content retention and performance.
E-learning has been notorious for focusing strictly on content and testing outcomes while sidelining strategic pedagogical principles and development.
This is simply a new iteration of the age-old trope of strict, colourless education where a teacher lectures in a monotone voice. The issue with this approach has always been that while some learners may excel in this environment, many will not. The downfall is not because the information being taught isn’t correct but because the delivery is lazy and only caters to a very narrow preferred learning style.
Creating an engaging UX for a Learning Management System (LMS) and your training modules is like a teacher breaking out of the lecture and bringing in props, videos, and even games, which pique learners’ interest, make them interested in the subject, and help them realize how the content is important for their aspirations and future.
In e-learning, developers achieve this effect in UX through:
In this blog, we will explore the key ways Techinnov’s pedagogical experts develop UX-prioritized training systems, how organisations can quantify or measure their UX, and strategies that can be implemented in training to boost learning retention and targeted KPIs!
When gauging how UX-friendly your e-learning content is, developers should consider qualitative and quantitative metrics.
Qualitative metrics include completion rates, time spent on the platform, error rates, and testing outcomes. Qualitative research will include more narrative-focused feedback, such as user interviews, monitored user sessions, and surveys.
For example, a team recently evaluated UX using user feedback surveys and heatmaps. The feedback highlighted that learners felt overwhelmed by the volume of text on individual pages, and the heatmaps showed minimal interaction with the embedded multimedia elements. In response, the course developers streamlined the content, incorporating concise bullet points and optimizing the placement and size of multimedia elements to make them more engaging and accessible.
Digging through these metrics often requires help from a dedicated UX researcher or a third-party service. These experts will not only know how to find and collect these statistics, but they will also be able to interpret them in ways where decision-makers can make moves based on insights discovered.
Organisations can strategically avoid common pitfalls with a user-centric approach to LMS and e-learning development. While following best practices in the development stages is preferable, some UX solutions are only possible to predict with actual usage and trials.
Let’s explore some of the most common elements that can help you facilitate an engaging learning experience.
User experience can be impacted by your platform’s design and basic functionality, such as navigation, loading speed, and following best accessibility practices.
When LMS design is logically structured, professional, and allows for natural and familiar navigation, it can insulate your platform from negative impacts due to end-user frustration.
Following standard accessibility principles, such as those designated by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), makes online environments usable for everyone. Though these guidelines were initially crafted to aid individuals with disabilities, they’ve proven beneficial for all users.
Incorporating such accessibility principles ensures that content is:
These concepts widen your platform’s appeal and usability for everyone.
Incorporating game-like elements such as leaderboards, points, and badges boosts engagement and motivation among learners.
For example, showing your learners how they rank in scores or progress among their peers on a home page interface can create positive energy among your team to participate and excel in training. An LMS can also use a point system where learners can either achieve avatar badges, ranks, and even real-world incentives.
Internal studies conducted by Techinnov suggest using these strategies in an online training environment leads to increased login and participation rates — one trial saw rates improve by 100%. This is a testament to how game elements are known to engage the brain’s reward system and trigger dopamine releases.
Breaking up modules and course information with interactive elements can greatly enhance on-page interactions and encourage learning retention. This is because interactive elements force learners to act upon knowledge and respond to prompts that reinforce information.
The interactive elements can range in complexity, consisting of things as simple as short quizzes at the end of a module section to virtual reality environments where the learner has to follow instructions and apply concepts.
The best way to identify where interactive elements are beneficial and should be built out is to refer to UX research. Modules and sections which constantly underperform are a signal of opportunities to improve.
Building out solution-based interactions also means you avoid bogging down learners with unnecessary features, which can complicate the earning process instead of enhancing it.
Building support and learner intervention strategies is essential for a robust learning experience. These act as safety nets for learners who may be struggling and are at risk of morale decline, but they can also be used for accountability to ensure that goals and timelines are met.
Proactive support mechanisms help identify areas where a learner struggles before it becomes a significant impediment. Early interventions mean timely corrections and reduced frustration for the learner. For consumer e-learning services, this is a strategy to reduce churn. For internal online training platforms, intervention can help protect your organization from liabilities from workers who are not compliant with regulatory or safety requirements.
More than ever, learners access online content through mobile and tablet devices. In order to provide the best user experiences, module and LMS platform design needs to be dynamic to cater to these different displays.
This typically means having a UX review of training material on all different screen orientations — desktop, mobile device, and tablet — as well as making sure all interactive elements can function via a keyboard, mouse, touchpad, and touch screen. Many design strategies now prioritise mobile display before any other layout to target the majority of their users.
Catering e-learning to mobile and tablet users also means they can access content wherever is more convenient for them, meaning learners will engage in learning materials more often and likely spend more time interacting.
The ultimate goal of UX design and optimization is increasing learning retention. Often strategies to enhance UX overlap with learning retention strategies. Here are a few.
Multimodal content delivery, which involves using a mix of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements, significantly enhances learning retention. This is because people have different learning preferences and engaging multiple senses with information can reinforce memory.
According to Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, people learn more effectively when presented with information in visual and auditory formats. This means a variety of learning presentation methods should be considered when wireframing e-learning courses.
The use of interactive exercises and quizzes can foster active engagement, immediate feedback, and repetition, which all help in reinforcing learning.
When learners can cognitively construct knowledge themselves while being guided through the information, they are more likely to retain the information than if they were simply to receive it through information. For example, if your organization is pushing a training module on Effective Conflict Resolution for Managers, constructive learning would include prompts for learners to grapple with hypothetical questions and even role-play as the manager who must resolve an issue.
Quizzes play a dual role in e-learning content. They reintroduce concepts to the learner at the end of a session as a way of summarization as well as provide measurable, immediate feedback for both the learner and training manager. Suppose someone has misunderstood or failed to grasp something in the lesson. In that case, quiz questions can be an early intervention tool to redirect the learner back to a specific portion of material for review.
An effective way to enhance learning retention is for trainers to integrate spaced repetition into their long-term learner development plans.
Spaced repetition is a technique in learning that involves a repeated review of information at increasing intervals and aims at taking advantage of the “spacing effect” phenomenon where people tend to remember information more effectively when studied over a longer span rather than in a short period.
The usage of examples and scenarios in teaching has long been known to be an effective pedagogical strategy. When provided with real-world examples of information, learners can attach concepts to certain memory cues and gain a deep understanding of how and why information is relevant.
Examples of contextualized learning can include:
This approach hinges on the “contextual learning” principle and is rooted in the constructivist theory of education, which posits that learners construct knowledge based on experience. In the seminal study published by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, learning is posited as a primarily social experience, and learners can absorb information when it’s embedded in real contexts.
With a robust foundation in pedagogical strategies, Techinnov stands out by prioritizing user experience (UX) in its LMS and online training development, ensuring your learners remain engaged, motivated, and empowered. Techinnov has a proven history in the e-learning development space and can help organizations strategize their next training project, provide them with industry insights, and help them build their training system with our vast catalogue of module and interface templates.
The best UX design features for an LMS prioritize an intuitive interface for seamless navigation and quick content access across various devices. Incorporating interactive elements and personalization options like adaptive learning pathways ensures active engagement and a tailored experience for users. Additionally, adhering to accessibility standards is crucial to ensure all learners can fully utilize the platform, irrespective of their abilities.
The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for user experience in an LMS and E-learning focus on user engagement, content effectiveness, and satisfaction. Metrics such as course completion rates and time taken to finish modules offer insights into content engagement and potential bottlenecks. Meanwhile, post-course feedback and the frequency of technical queries highlight user satisfaction and areas for platform enhancement.
To boost learning retention on an LMS, employ multimodal content delivery and interactive exercises to cater to various learning styles and reinforce knowledge. Grounding content in real-world contexts enhances its relevance and applicability. A user-friendly interface and engaging UX design elements further facilitate effective and lasting learning.