Any eLearning course should be not only helpful but also exciting. Often, the creators of online learning use game mechanics (for example, they break the program into different levels and add a rating system or badges for completing tasks). This approach will attract the audience, add a competitive element, and increase the training effectiveness.
But there is another way to get the students' attention by adding and customizing characters; it allows you to make the course more “alive" and add emotions and interactivity that attract students. The characters act as narrators or guides to navigate you through the modules, explaining things along the way. In addition, characters are an integral part of the learning scenarios when the student is immersed in the working environment (negotiations, customer service, etc.).
However, any character does not appear just like that. The developers properly analyze the target audience to cover all the needs and desires of students as much as possible. Therefore, it is essential to take this issue seriously. Let's find out how to make your eLearning better with characters.
Benefits of Using Characters in Online Courses
A well-designed character is a separate person who helps quickly and easily understand the essence of the lesson topic. In addition, a fascinating virtual conversation will make the learning process even more exciting. Let's look at the top benefits of using characters in eLearning.
Establishing an Emotional Connection With Students
Students can interact more effectively with a virtual assistant than with a regular text, video, or presentation. The reason is straightforward: they communicate directly with the character, which establishes an emotional connection with the subject of the online course. In addition, this approach increases the motivation and involvement of students in the learning process.
Combining Modules Into a Single Whole
A quality course does not contain separate classes and modules. Instead, the character links all the learning information together and explains new knowledge step by step. In addition, your assistant asks leading questions, compares concepts from previous modules, and guides you to the following lessons.
Improving the Effectiveness of Training
Moreover, in electronic courses, you can see predominantly optimistic characters. Therefore, your students will be able to remember much more. Accordingly, the effectiveness of training increases significantly. And all thanks to the presence of virtual assistants; they guide you on the right track and provide valuable advice during the course. In other words, any interactive elements are beneficial!
Types of Characters in E-learning
After we've learned more about the benefits of adding virtual characters, it's time to dig deeper. You can implement different types of assistants in your e-course. It depends on the general topic and the needs of the target audience.
Characters in eLearning are roughly broken into three main types. Let's meet them:
- Guide. These virtual assistants provide support during the entire e-course time. For example, they tell students their next steps or remind them of the number of lessons they have completed. Guides are ideal for entry-level courses when students are unfamiliar with the features of the learning platform and need some help.
- The narrator. You can tailor this character to the target audience. For example, he may be the same age or wear similar clothes. In addition, there are much more dialogues in the scenario of interaction with the narrator than for the guide. Therefore, such a character acts as a virtual classmate and supports your students during the course.
- Specialist. This kind of character acts as an expert on the course topic. He will guide throughout the learning period and even share helpful links with additional information to study. You can also add the ability to call tips by clicking on the character.
In addition, you may encounter so-called protagonists in the course. They challenge the student to solve an important task (e.g., deal with a problem client or offer options for a company out of a crisis).
So you've learned more about character types. Each of them has its significant advantages and can benefit your learning strategy. If you're ready to incorporate virtual assistants into your eLearning course, it's time to move on to creating them.
Tips for Creating and Customizing Characters in Elearning
If an online course can evoke emotions in a student, it has every chance of success. Therefore, forget about boring or superficial information, only a personal approach and exciting learning. And it is the use of a character that will make your eLearning course better and more interactive.
Virtual assistants always add a little realism, regardless of the course topic and the target audience. And if you want to improve the learning experience for your students, check out our tips.
Create a High-quality Character Profile and Communication Script
Before starting work, you must clearly understand how to portray characters and what way they will use to interact with students. The first step is to create a character profile. It must contain the following data:
- character traits;
- the tone of the conversation;
- a short history of life.
And, of course, it is vital to think over a communication script that covers all the critical lessons of your e-course. You can create a script solely or use the help of a methodologist. It is a person who understands the creation of training programs in specific niches.
At the same time, remember that it is not necessary to include all the items from the profile in the program. Instead, it acts as a planning tool that helps to develop your e-course.
Select the Role of the Character in the E-learning
We have already described the primary roles that the characters of your eLearning course can play. For example, they may be a guide, a narrator, or a specialist. Or you can add a person with whom you will need to solve a specific problem. It all depends on the form of presentation of the material and the preferences of your target audience.
In addition, your students can always suggest which ways of presenting the material can be the most valuable and fun. Finally, it will allow you to clearly define the purpose of the virtual assistant and check its compliance with the tasks set in the future.
Customize Your Character’s Appearance Following Your Learning Goals
The appearance and image of the character directly affect the perception of knowledge. In this case, you can add various assistants, for example:
- photographs of people;
- cartoon characters;
- live characters (for video tutorials).
Creators of e-courses use both photographs and real people. And their appearance largely determines the mood of the online course. However, you should solve this problem very seriously: a guy with tousled hair and denim clothes doesn't fit the definition of a business person. On the contrary, you should pick a character in a strict suit. It outwardly gives him organization, confidence, and perfection. But, of course, the final choice depends on your target audience, so check our first tip!
Also, you need to choose high-quality images instead of stock photos. They are empty emotionally and will not bring the desired effect. Instead, take the time to capture real-life professionals in their natural working environment.
Learn More About the Students To Cover Their Desires and Needs
It is one of the most valuable tips for using virtual assistants. First, you should research your target audience. It will help you determine the vocabulary, tone of the content delivery, and many other essential points.
You can launch a survey on the educational platform or social networks or create a separate landing page with a questionnaire. You can also chat directly with potential students to learn about their preferences and develop the most suitable character.
Find out which personality types are most common in the industry so you can integrate them into your eLearning course. For example, let's say you decide to create an antagonist, and you need to find out what types of problematic clients people meet all the time. Ask them what negative personality traits are familiar to your audience? It will make the online course as realistic as possible and bring students closer to virtual assistants.
Add Audio That Best Matches the Topic of the Course
Background sounds and audio recordings play an essential role in creating a high-quality course. And if you decide to add dialogues with the character or the narrator's monologues, they should be close to real life. So, a virtual assistant should use the specific vocabulary of the subject. And no unnecessary digressions; otherwise, you risk distracting students from vital things.
Ideally, you should deliver this task to a professional actor. He can play two roles:
- voice certain scenes of the e-course;
- play a full-fledged part of a positive/negative character.
Any of these approaches will make learning more realistic. As a result, you will be able to captivate students more and increase the effectiveness of learning knowledge and skills.
Select Multiple Images for the Same Character
Can the same type of character be interesting? Unfortunately, no. Therefore, you should add several images of the same assistant to the online course at once. The reason is quite simple: it will make your e-course even more realistic. All pictures should show different body positions or facial expressions; it will help you show the character's state in a particular scene.
To create high-quality images, you can use photo editors. They can help you create different shots of your characters or crop photos so you don't draw attention to specific details. Or you can use the educational platform tools. For example, the Course Builder has many features for creating and adding characters to help you complete your online course as quickly as possible.
Let's sum it all up. Characters can add significant value to your e-course. However, when developing and implementing virtual assistants, you should understand that you are adding them for a reason. They have a massive impact on learning results and add value to the knowledge gained. Therefore, you need to take the selection of characters seriously. Our advice will help you understand what you need and make the right decision.
We hope that you found our article helpful. If you have more questions about the character, leave them in the comments below. We will answer them and analyze the most interesting ones in the following articles.