It’s Halloween time: The season of ghouls, ghosts, and horror movies.

So while you munch away on the candy you’ve borrowed from the trick or treating bowl, now is the perfect time to also think about some of the horrifying eLearning mistakes that scream out from within a course.

Brace yourself: It’s going to get frightening.

The Monotonous Voice-Over

Picture this: You’ve just sat down to complete an eLearning course, and the voice of Ben Stein comes across your headphones, reading you word-for-word what’s on the screen in front of you. You cringe in response, and your eyes begin to roll back into your head after a while.

For adults completing eLearning, there’s nothing worse than being read to (especially in a dry, droning voice) like you’re a child. It’s a little insulting, and it doesn’t improve the course in any way.

To help avoid using voice-over to read screen text, start by minimizing screen text. Build your screen with images, illustrations, or minimal text and use the narration to support or explain what’s onscreen.

This helps reduce cognitive load and keeps your course more interesting. You can also use narration for characters within the course, clips from SMEs, video, etc.

The Irrelevant Realization

Sometimes an Instructional Designer gets wrapped up in designing a course and forgets to keep the primary objectives front and center.

When this happens, a learner completes the eLearning course only to look back and realize (and likely gasping in horror), “I didn’t learn anything relevant to my job!”  

SMEs in particular are great at saying “but they should know this” or “someday when they come across this, at least they will have seen it in the course.” The problem is, this is just clutter that obstructs the learning process.

Courses that include irrelevant material distract the learner from what should be the real message. Real-life scenarios are a way to ensure content stays relevant to learners. Pushing people through courses that don’t provide real benefit can make your learners as angry as a headless horseman.

The Mystery of the Missing Citations

Not only does leaving out sources referenced within eLearning content present the scary risk of plagiarism, but using statistics and quotes that aren’t attributed to their original source also means losing credibility with your learners.

Back up your sources—OR ELSE.

The Never-ending Course

When eLearning courses are missing a gauge that tells trainees where they’re at within the course, it can feel like a dark, endless hallway with no way out. As great as your course may be, no one wants to feel like they’re going to spend an eternity completing it.

Give your learners a way to track their progress so they know how to better pace themselves and where to pick back up if they have to stop mid-course. Even better, keep your courses short and to the point.

The Thesaurus-Chaser

Finally, there’s the terror of the jargon-loaded eLearning course. When someone sits down to complete their training, they are in the mindset to learn—not to go back and forth between a thesaurus and glossary to figure out what different words mean. Before you know it, you’ll have reduced your learners to sniffling, flashlight-lit faces.

Jargon might seem like a good idea to convey a sense of industry knowledge, but really—it can be a pain. Include a quick review of commonly used terms, but otherwise, avoid the technical terms at all costs.

KEEP BACK: No eLearning Mistakes Welcome

Now that you know the major eLearning mistakes to avoid and have a nice sugar high from that Halloween candy, you’re prepared to spot other horrifying errors that give eLearning a bad name.

Happy Halloween!