In this article I will share 8 common interaction errors that kill eLearning, so that you can make sure that you don’t let your training fall casualty and leave your content for dead.
The Fatal Interaction Errors That Kill eLearning
No one likes dull eLearning. Often, eLearning that lacks appropriate interaction can fall flat, but there’s a fine line between using interaction to engage and motivate learners and creating an experience that can frustrate and distract. At PulseLearning, we have identified a number of common interaction errors that kill eLearning:
- Redundant clicks.
You might choose to take the longer, scenic route when driving, but the same experience is not pleasant for eLearning. Keep the user experience simple; the fewer clicks required to perform a function, the better. A common error is to add unnecessary levels in content drill-down interactions. Make sure content and interactions are well integrated and never adopt a “the more clicks the merrier” attitude. Instead, keep it streamlined and strip out clicks that are not required.
- Next button fatigue.
Possibly the most lethal interaction error is creating page-turning eLearning that involves the learner clicking Next repeatedly. The interactive experience should be consistent yet varied enough to engage and motivate learners. At least every few screens, add interactivity that breaks the Next button monotony.
- Inconsistent user experience.
When it comes to interactivity, consistency is king. Changing the appearance and placement of commonly used interactive elements such as the Next, Close, or Menu buttons is another fatal move. Learners should not have to search for buttons that ought to be placed logically and consistently. When introducing interactive items such as PDF download or social media icons, use standard visual designs to ensure they are instantly recognizable.
- Interaction overload.
Use interactive elements appropriately. Keep your learners interested by interspersing highly interactive screens among static text and image screens to create surprise and provide a welcome break. Remember, you can have too much of a good thing.
- Not putting learners in control.
Ensure learners can control interactive or multimedia elements. For example, if sound accompanies an interactive experience, allow learners to control the volume or mute it completely.
- Under-challenging learners.
If you choose to create interactive activities for learners, make sure you pitch them at the correct learning level. This doesn’t necessarily mean creating complex interactivity but that the overall experience is engaging and challenging to the audience.
- Overuse of certain elements.
It’s important to note the difference between consistency and repetition in interactions. Consistency provides a guide for the appearance, placement, and function of interaction; however, the experience can still be varied within these rules. Be sure to provide a variety of interactions in your eLearning rather than reusing the same tricks repeatedly. For example, you might have a lot of content you want learners to reveal. Rather than using selectable icons every time, you could use a timeline with sliders or a clickable diagram.
- Interaction for the sake of it.
Adding interaction is not about entertainment alone. It should be functional and purposeful. My rule of thumb is, if it doesn’t add to the learning experience, leave it out.