Virtual learning has compelled us to revisit our approach towards enhancing learner experience.
While virtual learning opened a whole new arena for talent development but, with the evolved learner preferences and the new generation of virtual learners, learning and development experts have different opinion when it comes to the duration of the different modes of virtual learning.
At Contoole, we have always leveraged on the power of story telling to create eLearning content which empowers learners. We believe, either you time your story well or your learner will time-out and that is where the duration of the content becomes very critical for us to decide.
Here are the Top Three things that we consider before designing an eLearning module:
The average attention span of humans is decreasing rapidly. With the vast exposure to information learners have today, attracting their attention and engaging them through is quite tricky. Without a unique appeal it is very difficult to grab their attention and create an engaging experience.
Most experts confirm that a good length for a web-based course should be somewhere between fifteen and thirty minutes while it should not exceed 90 minutes. Therefore, it is important for us to look at the learner base we are designing the course for. Important factors like age group, profile, nature of job, work experience should be able to give insight on the duration of the course
Purpose of the Course
This section is about knowing the ‘why’ for your content.
If the purpose of the course is mere sensitization, then the duration can be shorter. The content in this case would include only the ‘must know’ information for the learner. These are learnings that may not require immediate implementation at work but are meant to improve the working style of the learner gradually.
Courses in this section ae usually a part of the development plan of a professional. Therefore, duration of these courses can range between 15-20 minutes or a maximum of 30 minutes on the higher side.
On the other hand, if the objective of the course is to deep dive into a topic, understand every aspect, retain maximum information as it requires immediate application in day-to-day work, then the course duration can be a little longer.
The learner interactions and exercises in this case would be elaborate and would require learners to think at a deeper level for appropriate and accurate application at work. The duration of these courses is usually beyond 15 minutes and can range from 30 – 60 minutes.
Lastly, there are certain courses which may not be of immediate use for the learner but may be of their interest. These courses are just meant to be introduced as teasers to generate or validate their interest so that, based on the learner need a more in-depth course can be created. These are usually courses with least duration, which ideally should not exceed 10 minutes -15 minutes.
Duration of the intervention
Apart from the stand-alone programs, there are programs which are designed as a part of a long learning intervention.
If you are designing eLearning courses as a part of a long learning intervention then the course duration can be made slightly longer considering that there is going to be learning continuity and these courses will constantly help in learning reinforcement. The duration of these courses can range between 30 minutes to about an hour.
Sometimes standalone programs are also conducted as a part of a specialized intervention. Here also course duration can stretch.
To summarize, there are more than one factors that will help you determine the duration of an eLearning module.
Apart from these a very important aspect of finding out what duration would work for your learners is through learner feedback. Leverage on it by all means. It is ultimately the best indicator of what will work best in the learner group you are catering to.
Content of an eLearning module is just not about engagement and experience it is also about building a certain amount of expertise. The ratio among these three may vary from time to time based on the learning need but the essence of learning should not be lost.
Author – Sumitra Paul Chatterjee
Contoole – More Power to The Learners
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