Four Tips for Keeping Learner's Attention

Designing Digitally


In order for an eLearning course to be effective, it is essential for the material to quickly capture the student’s attention in an interesting and engaging manner. This guide will shed some light on the matter and explain the easiest way to create a learning experience where students are engaged.

Use Explanations Only When Necessary

One, “not so best practice” in learning courses is to open with a long dialogue about the expectations to be met throughout the course. The student already has a pretty good idea about what they will be learning, so overloading them with initial information is actually a counter-productive task. However, a brief introduction is a good thing; a lengthy, drawn out intro dialogue is not. In most situations, it is a lot more helpful to save the dialogues for when the student will actually need instruction; like when learning a new concept or completing a timed exercise.

Also, consider using optional tips and explanations that can be accessed by the student whenever he/she requires additional information to complete a certain task. That way, both fast and slow learners can work at a comfortable pace.

Meaningful Narration

Likewise, think a little bit about using a narrator in your eLearning course, especially if it will be to read instructions that are already on the screen. This may be helpful in some children’s learning courses or in situations where the tutorial gets a little tricky, but adults would much rather just read the information themselves and move on with the exercise. Since the average adult learner can read 3-5 times faster than a narrator’s voice, it just doesn’t make sense to use narration in all scenarios.

Then again, don’t be afraid to use narration when it will create a more immersive feel. For short stories, challenges and/or complex tasks, the narrator can become a very effective learning tool. Just reserve it for those types of situations and your students will appreciate the change of pace.

Make Objectives Fun and Engaging

Another common mistake in learning courses is to make the objectives dry and boring. While this is never intentional, it happens when a learning platform tries to over-prepare students for what they will be learning by giving far too much information. So instead of telling students what to expect or how to solve a problem, it makes a lot more sense to actually show them in an interactive way that holds their attention.

The true power within a serious game, eLearning course or 3D simulation is the immersive feel that helps students feel connected and motivated to succeed. Objectives should be designed with these same goals in mind; they should offer a direct challenge that allows the student to quickly move from one goal to the next.

Challenge Students to Prove their Knowledge

While testing is always an important indicator of a student’s knowledge, it is also the least favorite activity of learners for obvious reasons. eLearning presents the opportunity to change that, however, by creating hands-on scenarios where the “test feel” is virtually forgotten. In a well-designed course, users can show practical knowledge by being asked to demonstrate their comprehension as the lesson progresses, which makes the testing phases feel a lot more natural. It also allows more advanced students to quickly progress through basic tutorials by proving that they have enough knowledge to progress to harder stages.

One of our main goals at Designing Digitally, Inc. is to always find new and exciting ways to challenge students within our learning environments. For more information on capturing your employees’ attention, please feel free to contact us at 866-316-9126. Believe it or not, there are dozens of ways we can make learning fun within your corporation and we would love to share how.