5 Tips to Create Engaging Content & Promote Digital Learning

Creating the Right Digital Learning at the Right Time

You may have seen the recent article on FE Weekly introducing Sony Vision Exchange. It’s the latest collaborative, virtual environment and video technology for students, lecturers and educational establishments. It publishes research regarding the uptake of video and digital learning content. They have found that although 88% of education professionals agree that video improves engagement with students, only 29% use video-based revision tools.

The utilisation of learning technology is moving in the right direction; however, you don’t have to blow the budget on high-end solutions. There’s a lot to choose from, including huge content libraries, augmented and virtual reality, and even AI.
Recent research from Social Bakers tells us that 50% of YouTube traffic is video content ranging between 16 and 120 seconds long. Consequently, this tells us that this is the ‘sweet spot’ for engagement.

Generation Z learners, or ‘digital natives’, have an expectation of learning offered on a consumer-demand basis (often referred to as the ‘Amazon’ effect). You might say, that’s all very well for younger learners, but how about our older demographic? We know that our lives are getting busier and our concentration spans are getting shorter, no matter our age or status. Plus, it’s an easy excuse for us all to make….
Creating digital learning content can be a bit daunting at first. Especially if you are relying on traditional delivery methods, such as classroom training and off the shelf e-learning. However, when done right, short videos can be engaging and inspiring. Having learners share content with others can help you find, and saturate, an audience within minutes.

A yellow, blank not book lay out on a white desk. Accompanying the notebook is a pair of orange spectacles set out neatly.
Creating digital learning content can be a bit daunting at first, yet this will not always be the case.

Here Are My Top 5  Tips for Creating Great Digital Learning Content

  1. Be really clear about your learning outcomes, and ensure the medium is right. The last thing you want is to baffle your viewers with long, boring videos. Uptake is one of the most important performance indicators and you must hook them in right from the start.
  2. Consider the feel of your content, including your branding and style. Are you are going to use stock or recorded footage, animation, slides, interviews or a mix? Make this a conscious decision aligned to your learning outcomes and park your personal preferences. Don’t confuse your learners by too much imagery, fast-moving video or dull images.
  3. Spend the majority of your creative time on your script. Just like your trainer notes or e-learning storyboard, the script is the backbone of your digital learning. Get it right and your video will fly. Write it, revisit it, read it out loud.
  4. Record your audio, then the visual. You’ll find that the audio tells the story which then dictates the visuals you use. It will help you with your timing too, as you’ll find that you naturally start to move the visual along in line with the inflexion in the voiceover.
  5. Its cliché but keep it short and keep it simple. Don’t be tempted to jump the gun and go flashy or pack too much in. Get used to your tools and become a master of creating quality digital learning, not flashy rubbish.

What Do You Do Once It’s Created?

One of the most important decisions you’ll make is the timing of when your content is available. Too early and you could risk filling employees’ heads with stuff they don’t need. Too late and they miss the window of opportunity to do something with it.
Making learning content available ‘just in time’ creates anticipation, views, and most importantly encourages the application of learning, skills. Therefore, if you’ve got it right, it translates into business results.

A black and white picture of a vintage alarm clock, on a bedside cabinet.
Making learning content available ‘just in time’ creates anticipation, views, and most importantly encourages the application of learning, skills.

You can do this by reviewing your business plan and identifying your key trigger points, which are the best times for you to release learning content to maximise uptake. This might be prior to an appraisal window (to drive performance conversations), before the release of a new product or service (when you need your employees to promote or sell) or to advertise a larger intervention (which requires engagement and attendance). Host it somewhere which doesn’t require multiple clicks or various passwords to access, and let it live on the world!

But What About the Knowledge Check?

If like me, you have worked with stakeholders who are only interested in the compliance factor, this can be a difficult one to navigate. However, the challenge back is more of one which asks, what value does the knowledge check actually bring? Does a list of questions at the end of an e-learning module really tell you that your learners can now undertake the skill or work needed? Most probably not. By creating video content which is engaging, quick to view and available at the right time, it is far more likely to inspire your employees to do what is required.

If you’re still unsure my counsel would be, have a go and create your first digital learning. Opensource or suitably priced software such as Audacity and Cyberlink (other software is available, it’s all down to preference) provide a huge amount of guidance and tutorials. Websites such as Purple Planet provide lots of options around royalty-free music, so what have you got to lose? Your first attempt might not be perfect, but it gives you a benchmark to progress!

About the Author

Erica Farmer is the founder and director of Welcome Two.

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