A customer contact database is a section or a separate file in a CRM system that keeps all possible data about potential and existing customers (order history, activity, preferences, etc.). Then you may rely on this information to analyze and build a unique sales and marketing strategy in the future. Therefore, such a database is critical for any business and must be adequately managed. Let's look at operating with a client's database and improving your company's performance.
Why You Need To Create a Well-built Customer Contacts Database
A top-notch contact system boosts the performance of the sales department by several times. The reason is quite simple: managers can easily find information about buyers and build high-quality communication with them. This approach, in turn, will improve customer loyalty and trust.
In addition, the customer contact database allows you to track the activity of buyers. So, sales staff can find out which customers have not used the company's services for a long time.
There are other advantages of using such a base:
- the possibility of active work with the outflow of users;
- building a contact customer base from scratch;
- preference analysis;
- conducting marketing research based on data on active clients;
- the higher efficiency of information transfer within the sales department;
- the ability to create a loyalty program;
- availability of tools for audience segmentation.
All these reasons make operating a contacts database an effective tool for any business because they are vital for company development.
Why It Is Better to Use CRM System for Creating the Customer Contacts Database
It is infrequent to use spreadsheet editors to work with consumer data because there is a more convenient way - a CRM system. Let's consider its advantages:
Ability to Properly Analyze Customers
The CRM system contains dozens of analytics tools. It helps the sales representative predict customers' expectations, divide them into separate groups, and plan a unique strategy for each. CRM is a great sales assistant.
Visibility of Customer Relationship Management System
One of the strengths of an electronic solution is its visibility. The complete information is easy to visualize, so working with them is straightforward. Moreover, connecting third-party services turns the digital feature into a powerful tool for creating convincing and colorful presentations that encourage clients to buy.
Ability To Automate Routine Tasks Inside Your Company
Moreover, using a CRM solution allows you to build communication with clients properly. The program itself reminds employees to call back the customer, make an appointment, or process a particular product request. You can pay attention to every client because AI will do the rest for you. In addition, you may immediately create scenarios for future communication with consumers.
Availability of Tools for Making More Accurate Predictions
All types of CRM solutions allow you to allocate information about customers, which helps to build more accurate and realistic predictions. This approach helps to improve the performance the efficiency of individual employees and the entire sales department, all because of setting reasonable and specific goals using a top-notch customer management system.
Determination of the Most Effective Sales Practices
Moreover, the CRM system allows quick reports on sales representatives' work, and you may get the entire pack of data about the best managers with just a few clicks. Moreover, this approach helps you determine effective strategies and evaluate the effectiveness of actions to work with your target audience.
Reports are beneficial for the most inefficient employees and the whole sales department. After all, data analysis is a crucial step towards creating precise standards for working with clients that will take your business to a new level.
Formation of a History of Work With a Specific Client
Centralized storage of customers' data makes further communication more straightforward. Indeed, the online CRM solution gives a complete picture of client relationships: the correspondence history, detailed information about emails, past purchases, the consumer's position in the sales funnel, etc. Thanks to high detailing, a sales employee can build competent communication.
This approach is beneficial for new employees. They do not need to talk with colleagues about where to find information about past transactions, and it is enough to open an online desktop app and see the complete information on the screen. And if employees look at the communication history, they can try to find new audience segments and expand the reach of the entire market. So it is another key to the success of the salesperson and the whole business.
Social Media Engagement to Boost Sales
Many CRMs offer to integrate with social networks. These marketing channels are suitable for many business tasks, from maintaining the target audience's interest and launching ads to creating content that can attract even more potential customers.
Fast Closing of Deals
Mobility is one of the most substantial advantages of CRM. You no longer need to monitor all changes on-site because mobile apps make all functions available. This approach allows the manager to close deals several times faster. Therefore, sales representatives improve personal and general performance.
More Straightforward Motivation of the Customer To Buy Your Product
Another advantage of a customer relationship management system is a comprehensive analysis of potential and existing clients. For example, what they need, how ready they are to buy your product, their loyalty to the brand, etc. Then, you can use this information as an excellent base for building trust communication with clients.
Wide Variety of CRM Solutions
Dozens of business representatives offer feature-rich programs that can be tailored to your business needs. They are characterized by full support for third-party tools for more convenient work with contacts. It turns a CRM program into one of the critical instruments for a sales representative.
How to Work With Contacts in CRM
Customer contacts are divided into three types:
- General Information;
- Status of work with a specific buyer;
- Communication history for every client.
Let's learn all of these types in more detail.
It is primary customer data. It includes:
- contact details - company name (or full name for individuals), address, phone number, email, working hours;
- full name of the heads of the company and heads of departments, indicating positions and contact numbers;
- time to contact;
- the optimal way of communication (phone, email, instant messenger, etc.).
Status of Work With a Specific Buyer
This section of CRM shows the current state of communication with the client:
- order processing stage;
- location of the order;
- payment method;
- the frequency of the order (one-time, episodic, regular).
It can also contain customer preferences - wish list, technical specifications, etc.
Communication History for Every Client
Here you can find all the data not directly related to the business but also crucial for quality communication. These include the hobbies of top management and key employees, their birthdays, etc.
These moments must be marked with action words when forming the base of contacts (for example, "Congratulate," "Contact," etc.).
How To Ensure Data Security When Working With Customer Contacts
Reliable storage of the database of contacts is your primary responsibility. Do everything possible to prevent the personal data of buyers and customers from getting to other people. It can happen in different ways: a hacker attack, spyware, ordinary neglect, and other things.
Here are five tips for improving data security when working with your contact database:
- Obligate employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement and a prohibition on the "removal" of the customer database.
- Restrict database export for all employees, except for a particular group of people.
- Install programs that prevent screen capture.
- Take care of reliable antivirus software in case of a hacker attack.
- Divide your contact database into groups and give managers access to individual groups.
What Else You Need To Consider When Maintaining a Contact Customer Base
Each company strives to keep customers for as long as possible to place orders and generate income. They use personal discounts, bonuses, email newsletters, and other marketing activities. If you use them when working with the contact database, they can bring more effect. Here are our tips:
- Don't launch an email workflow too often. You may run the risk of overfilling customers with information, after which they may stop reading letters or unsubscribing. The optimal frequency of an email workflow is once a week.
- Add as many criteria as possible to divide buyers into groups. Then, it allows you to create unique and exciting offers for every consumer. CRM system helps to do this quickly.
- Satisfy your customers with holiday greetings, a personal approach, and new products.
- Offer helpful and informative content in social networks and email newsletters. So you can keep users' interest, and they will look forward to new emails and posts.
- Launch promotions without warning. It can increase the customer's lifetime value.
- Ask your clients what they think about your product or service. People appreciate being asked for their opinion, and this will allow you to make valuable adjustments to your proposals.
- Find happy consumers with your product, take a photo of them, and post them on social networks (with their consent, of course).
- Make personal offers to buyers during a phone conversation. You can even congratulate a person on B-Day; this will increase his loyalty to your company.
Once you've created a customer contact database, it's worth using it for more than just a phonebook. Analysis of information will allow you to change your business strategy, increase profits or reduce operating costs, and both will lead to the company's successful development.
Let's sum it up. Opportunities for business expansion and revenue growth directly depend on the quality collection and the customer contact database. And the use of customer relationship management systems makes communication with customers even more effortless. It has a positive effect on the work of sales managers and the company's profits.
Moreover, it is much easier to train employees to interact with a CRM system than to spend precious time learning spreadsheet editors. Constant retraining will cause stress among employees and dissatisfaction with new software. And all because of the common human factor and unwillingness to leave the comfort zone.
Many small and large businesses successfully use CRM programs to automate work with the customer base. Therefore, use the knowledge of professionals and make the company even more successful!
We hope that you found our article helpful. If you have any questions about working with the customer base through CRM, leave them in the comments below. We will consider each of your questions, and the most interesting of them will become the basis for the following articles.
Learning must remain as effective and exciting as possible to benefit people. Therefore, teachers are constantly looking for new ways to make students better. It helps develop critical thinking skills in students and process a large amount of new information.
At the same time, many teachers have come across a learning pyramid - the main steps for creating a training program. But as for now, the education system considers many more factors than 30 years ago. Therefore, modern teachers are increasingly questioning the effectiveness of such a model. So, let's see what the learning pyramid is and how relevant it is nowadays.
What Is the Learning Pyramid
The learning pyramid is a model that demonstrates the ability of learners to replicate what they have learned. Ohio University professor Edgar Dale introduced it in 1946.
The scheme considers all levels of memorization and reproduction. The first four levels display passive methods - lecture, reading, audio visualization, and demonstration. Then there are active methods that influence the student's personal experience - group discussion, practice, and practical application of knowledge (or teaching others).
The learning pyramid is designed to determine the correct approach to learning a particular topic. In addition, it is suitable for various educational models, including e-learning. Therefore, the creators of online courses are still using the Dale model.
The Division of the Learning Pyramid
As we have already said, the pyramid divides into three levels - from abstract approaches to specific ones. Therefore, consider the entire model in decreasing order.
№1: Verbal Perception
The learning pyramid shows the top three sublevels that are related to passive learning:
- Reading (you remember about 10% of the text you read).
- Perception of information by ear (remembering 20% of what you've heard).
- Viewing images (you will remember about 30% of the information received).
At the same time, one cannot speak of the exceptional effectiveness or, on the contrary, the uselessness of one or another method of learning. The reason is simple: students get only a basic understanding of the material. Therefore, all these tasks are used to give a basic description or explanation of a phenomenon.
The creator of the learning pyramid does not back up the numbers with scientific facts. However, there are a couple of interesting points. So, Dale emphasizes that learning is initially associated with the senses involved in the learning process. And if we consider each way of perception, its effectiveness will be low.
Moreover, some sense organs work better with cognitive thinking. So you remember more when you look at pictures and less when you listen. Reading takes the last place in the retention of knowledge in long-term memory. It is due to the low stimulus level that can be embedded in a written text.
№2: Visual Perception
Let's move on to higher levels of mastering the material. Visual methods give the following indicators of memorization:
- Watching a video (30% of the knowledge gained);
- Acquaintance with a visual aid (50% of what they saw);
- Watching an online lesson (50% of the information received).
In this case, students can remember much more new information. It is all because visual perception involves both sight and hearing. This approach helps to stimulate the brain and affect the assimilation of new knowledge and the development of critical thinking.
According to Edgar Dale, passive forms of learning are not the best but can bring certain benefits. Thus, audio visualization and demonstration help better understand the subject (compared to ordinary reading). In addition, students find more logical connections to expand their horizons.
Passive forms of learning do not take up much space in the learning pyramid. Therefore, it can be erroneously assumed that reading or watching online lessons does not give many benefits. But this is far from the truth. For example, memorization of information is not an indicator of extraordinary mindset since this approach only develops memory, on which the retention of knowledge depends. And passive learning allows you to study new topics and explore the world independently.
We've considered only passive learning methods when success depends solely on the students.
Now let's turn our attention to the 3rd level of the educational pyramid. Edgar Dale considers it the most effective form of acquiring new knowledge as students move to active learning.
This approach requires high concentration and involvement in the subject being studied. Thus, the learning pyramid provides the following methods of active cognition:
- Training videos and practical seminars (the brain retains 70% of information);
- Role-playing games (retaining 70% of knowledge);
- Real business simulation (70% retention);
- Completion of a specific task (90% learning).
These active learning methods involve modeling experiences, doing things, and discussing. Through “learning by doing,” students improve their analytical skills and look for effective solutions. Further, they may show their creativity.
Of course, all the figures above are approximate and have no scientific background. But if you pay attention solely to the levels of memory and remembering, then you can understand that Edgar Dale was right. His learning pyramid allows you to increase the level of retention of knowledge.
But one question remains open: how much this approach helps to keep knowledge in long-term memory? Educational experts believe that the Dale model does not consider the individual factors of each student (innate abilities, social and economic situation, existing knowledge base, mental capacity, etc.).
How Compatible Are the Learning Pyramid and Modern Technology
Moreover, analysts doubt the relevance of Dale's pyramid. They believe that it does not quite fit into the concepts of modern educational platforms. What learning forms are suitable for the implementation of the Dale model?
Modern learning technologies allow you to easily and quickly create educational content of any format. In addition, LMS solutions offer a wide range of tools to build your curriculum and provide a first-class learning experience.
First, many formats fit the Dale model, from standard presentations and PDF documents to interactive video tutorials. Moreover, virtual classrooms and non-formal education strategies are advanced practical learning proposed in the middle of the 20th century. In essence, innovation guarantees the discovery and creation of a dynamic experience of remembering and sharing information.
Secondly, game mechanics fit perfectly into the learning pyramid. If earlier tutors used educational TV channels and movies to captivate students, now they have been replaced by platforms with ratings and leaderboards. It also includes simulations of the activities of actual companies or individual business processes. All this allows students to train themselves in the process of solving problems.
However, some forms of interaction were not available when the learning pyramid was created. Thus, augmented and virtual reality technologies are gradually beginning to be used in eLearning, involving students as much as possible. With their help, you can create realistic simulations and even entire metaverses. Therefore, these technologies have great promise.
Many elements of the learning pyramid described by Edgar Dale are now out of date. However, this model is flexible enough to be combined with modern educational tools. It is crucial to maintain a balance between passive and active teaching methods. Every online course founder needs to vary the content delivery formats to create a complete and highly effective learning environment.
What Do Educators Think About the Learning Pyramid Now?
Opinions of teachers on this matter are divided. Some believe that the Dale pyramid is still useful for online learning. Others ruthlessly send the obsolete model to the dustbin of history.
Denise Pirrotti Hummel, CEO of Universal Consensus, believes hybrid learning methods are the best choice right now. Educational platforms should provide competent theory teaching and constant interaction through video conferences and discussions. This approach allows you to confirm the usefulness of the knowledge gained and effectively apply it in the future. As for the pyramid of learning, Hummel considers it is relevant now.
At this time, Dillon Vita-Finzi of Cisco Technologies believes that Dale's pyramid should not be raised to the absolute. She gives the results of a study on retaining information in long-term memory. And they are very different from the numbers proposed by Dale. According to Vita-Finzi, retention rates in the learning pyramid attempt to explain complex phenomena in simple terms. However, it is necessary to adapt the learning scheme to various factors (educational platforms, different modalities, interactive technologies, individual characteristics, etc.).
The educational field continues to evolve rapidly, and online learning is very different from 10 years ago. As a result, this area will be one of the leading testing grounds for new technologies, creating new dynamic and colorful eLearning options. People will use metaverses, augmented reality environments, or online gamified platforms to learn in the offing.
Let's sum it up. The learning pyramid allows you to build an effective learning plan. However, the final success depends on the learning style of each student. For example, some students better visually remember and assimilate knowledge, while others like to listen more. Therefore, it is imperative to allow the target audience to learn at their own pace. This approach will improve the performance of your online course.
Remember: your learning algorithm doesn't have to stay the same forever. Flexibility is the main secret to the success of eLearning. Therefore, you should not blindly believe the educational pyramid and not use lectures because they will not give the desired effect. On the contrary, traditional lectures are essential. Every element of Dale's pyramid is essential.
For example, a student takes notes during class because it is difficult to remember all the material. On the one hand, it uses one channel of perception (eyes or ears). On the other hand, however, the resulting notes can help discuss the material during discussions with the lecturer or become the basis of your own course.
There is no one right way to learn. And only you can find the method that will help your students succeed!
We hope that you found our article helpful. If you have any questions about the learning pyramid, leave them in the comments below. We will answer and analyze the most interesting ones in the following articles.
When thinking about the structure of your educational project, you probably considered the option of adding ready-made courses. This type of content is available out-of-the-box and significantly simplifies the work with the product. The result is high learning efficiency with less time and money.
However, even such a universal solution has its pros and cons. Besides, what exactly do the courses provide? Can you add them to your site? Let's consider this question in more detail.
The Concept of Ready-made Courses
They are unique content that can be instantly connected to your learning material. Such online courses are available on educational platforms and individual websites. It looks simple for a student: find the preferred and start the learning process.
Usually, ready-made materials are a combination of text and video tutorials. As for the grading system, there can be various options:
- Testing after passing the topic.
- Testing after passing the module.
- Testing after completion of the course.
Also, gamification elements are added to such electronic courses as a rating system and badges for specific successes. At the end of the online course, the student receives a certificate presented to a future employer at an interview.
As in the case of custom classes, eLearning creators can track student progress through the dashboard and collect feedback. All this allows you to make better material for future students.
Although off-the-shelf online courses are not always ideal, they are an excellent start for new educational platforms with limited resources. Indeed, with the right approach, you can achieve outstanding results.
Pros of Choosing Ready-made Courses for the Educational Platform
What are the primary advantages of connecting ready-made material to your online learning platform? Here are the top 6 main benefits of this approach:
Wide Choice of Topics
If you are just getting started with an educational platform, you probably have a list of course topics. You are guided by it and looking for educational material. Fortunately, now you can find tons of ready-made courses on popular topics that could engage the target audience.
There are many content providers in the market. However, not all of them may meet the requirements of your business. Therefore, when checking out a content provider, check your list of topics and choose the best offer in terms of structure and quality.
Here is a list of popular topics for which ready-made online courses are available:
- Business Skills
- Personnel Management
- Personal Growth
- Foreign Languages
- Video Editing
- Digital Marketing
This list is incomplete since the number of topics is in the dozens.
Variety of Learning Content Formats
Not all ready-made courses are a collection of boring and monotonous videos with a formal tone of communication. The learning material can be shown in various formats, like turnkey courses and microlearning lessons. Users can study 24/7 and on any device (smartphone, tablet, or PC). Many ready-made online courses have mid-term or final tests to test knowledge and practical tasks to consolidate the new information.
A wide variety of formats helps you make more personalized content and track the students' progress. Moreover, this approach guarantees your target audience the most rewarding learning experience. Thus, students under 30 prefer short lessons for viewing on a smartphone, and people over 50 prefer a more formal and rigorous e-course. But, of course, it all depends on the correct positioning.
We have already said that most turnkey online courses contain tests, quizzes, or open discussions that allow you to remember important points and fix them in long-term memory. Moreover, the online format allows learning on the job (especially when it comes to micro-learning).
When companies with 500 and more employees started spending 25% of their time watching instructor-led short video tutorials, they were able to increase their ROI by 380%, according to a study by the Training Industry.
General Knowledge Storage
Sometimes, you need to launch a specialized e-course for a limited audience. But when we're talking about general topics, you do not need to jump through hoops trying to create something unique. Instead, you can use turnkey materials for learning a foreign language, design, or some programming languages.
This approach helps to save valuable resources to create more specific eLearning material (for example, personal growth). Moreover, ready-made online courses are an excellent option for self-study. Users can create their plan to study; therefore, training effectiveness increases significantly.
Furthermore, the courses are constantly updated. Therefore, students always have access to relevant content that will bring exceptional benefits. It is one of the main advantages of ready-made learning materials for new educational platforms that do not have enough staff to update the modules constantly. When choosing the perfect learning content provider, be sure to ask how often they refresh courses or remove content with poor student reviews.
When you find out what your target audience is interested in, you do everything for the fastest and most effective learning. Therefore, you must use all possible options for educational content, including turnkey online courses. Such training material reduces the time spent on developing and launching training modules. And the lower the costs, the higher the profit.
First, you need to decide on a strategy and identify the main topics for getting started. After that, you can get ready-made courses from the content provider and launch them on an educational platform. Such material does not require additional testing and analysis, which means you can start as quickly as possible. The sooner users pass courses, the sooner they use their new knowledge in practice. As a result, the percentage of completion of training videos is growing.
Is Ready-made Training Suitable for Everyone
Despite the clear advantages of off-the-shelf e-courses, they are not suitable for everyone. Sometimes a more personalized approach is needed. If you analyze your target audience, this approach will help you maintain a top-notch experience.
For example, individual training is helpful in the following cases:
- Teaching students popular skills or promoting an educational platform
- Launching a unique course that has no analogs
- Plans for scaling the educational website in the future
You can also create custom e-courses on a particular topic. For instance, you have launched a successful business and want to share your experience with your students. Another example: a programmer/designer/psychologist with a worldwide reputation intends to launch a course on your learning platform.
It doesn't matter whether you have launched an educational business now or are already successfully operating in the market. Turnkey e-courses can bring significant benefits to your business. The main thing is to use resources correctly to achieve success.
Use the Maximum Potential of a Ready-made Material
If you use turnkey learning solutions, you must know how they benefit students. How to achieve outstanding results with off-the-shelf courses? Here are our tips:
Choose the Right Educational Platform
The main advantages are ease of use and high efficiency in obtaining new knowledge. It is necessary to choose the right LMS compatible with the turnkey material. Check if your educational platform has tools for adding third-party learning modules. They should be highly usable and have an intuitive design.
Adapt to Your Needs
You can always make your ready-made courses unique by adapting them to your website. While you can't change the structure of your learning material, content providers allow you to change how it looks.
For instance, you can add an online course as a standalone offering or as part of a more comprehensive webinar series. In essence, students will use your platform with a familiar interface, but the training will be based on off-the-shelf material. This approach makes it even easier to work with content.
Combine Different Types of Online Courses
This approach will allow you to integrate the advantages of both ready-made and custom formats and get the most out of them.
So, you want to teach your target audience the basics of web design. First, you can add a turnkey course to the site with initial recommendations and an introduction to essential tools. Your next step is to create a complete e-course that covers all the vital topics related to web design.
As a reminder: for turning this approach into an effective one, make sure you choose the suitable LMS. It should allow adding off-the-shelf material and recording custom training videos or webinars.
Using both types in your work, you can take more time to create unique content for your target audience. At the same time, your students will achieve their learning goals and successfully apply the knowledge you have got in practice.
Are There Any Drawbacks of Using Ready-made Courses
Turnkey content has one major drawback that can affect the learning experience. As the name suggests, it is an off-the-shelf solution. It is impossible to change the e-course structure, so it may not reflect the needs of the students or your business. Therefore, it is best to use out-of-the-box content as an introductory course and record your video tutorials for more detailed explanations.
However, the advantages in learning speed and accessibility outweigh this nuance. Therefore, a ready-made electronic course is an excellent solution for launching an educational platform and its further successful development.
Let's sum it up. Turnkey training series can meet the needs of your business. First, they are available to everyone and can be freely integrated into the educational platform. Therefore, most companies need to launch courses storage to answer students' questions.
However, some unique topics require you to record your own online lessons. For example, whether you want to offer an innovative method for learning English or promote the course of a prominent designer or marketing manager, you need to forget about the ready-made approach. In this case, it is necessary to create an advanced e-course with unique content.
As a result, it is worth realizing the benefits and drawbacks of ready-made courses and determining their benefits. After all, you can always combine both formats and successfully develop an online learning platform.
We hope that you found our article helpful. If you still have questions about ready-made courses, write them in the comments. We will answer all questions and analyze the most interesting ones in new articles.
Chatbots have become a familiar and effective solution for all types of businesses. Yet, at the same time, people stopped paying attention to the conversation's formal, "dry" tone. The reason is simple: it does not affect the quality of work tasks. After all, the main purpose of a chatbot is to collect primary information and transfer it to the technical support team or sales managers.
However, if you want to offer quality service and overtake your competitors, you should make your virtual assistant even more effective. For example, you can improve user experience through friendly communication. Look at our tips!
How To Understand That You Need a Chatbot on the Website
There are a massive number of chatbot builders available on the market. They allow you to create an online solution as quickly as possible and immediately launch it. But first, you need to understand what benefit it will bring to you. Indeed, sometimes, online assistants cannot answer simple questions or understand them, negatively impacting your business performance. According to research by Webim, 73% of Americans have given up using chatbots after a bad user experience. The reasons were different: dry tone of correspondence, long replies, long waiting time, etc.
The online assistant is helpful in the following cases:
- you get a vast number of the same questions in the chat on the website or in social networks;
- you try to automate the collection of inquiries, requests, or customer data;
- you need to set up custom notifications.
At the same time, there are tasks when you do not need a chatbot:
- most user questions are complex and cover a wide range of topics;
- you get a few requests;
- you want to replace technical support operators with a virtual assistant completely. However, even the most advanced chatbot cannot replace a live consultation.
Decide on a Goal
There are many uses for chatbots. However, for greater efficiency, it is necessary to identify the goal. After all, it will be much easier to achieve the desired result if you know what you want.
One of the primary uses of virtual assistants is front-line customer service, and this approach will help reduce the volume of requests that need to be processed by the support staff. According to an IBM study, chatbots can answer 80% of the most common support questions.
In addition, bots can help you generate leads, market new products, or increase your brand awareness. At the same time, it is essential first to make sure that the goals are clear and only then begin to develop them.
Create a Content Library
If you want your chatbot to work effectively, you need to create a base - a list of frequently asked questions. Next, determine what dialogues the online assistant will conduct what questions he will solve. It will also not be superfluous to talk with colleagues in the field who are already using chatbots in business. For example, if you need a chatbot to analyze the target audience and find new customers, discuss this issue with the sales department. Its employees will tell you what questions users ask and what answers they get.
Due to the wrong approach to collecting requests, sales departments lose a lot of money. And all because employees do not know how to evaluate a potential client. So why not assign this task to a chatbot? The virtual assistant can ask a few simple questions and consider users before the sales representative interacts with them.
Provide a Semblance of Live Dialogue
Has it ever happened to you that you communicate with a bot, and it starts to pile you with endless sheets of text? In addition, when you go to the FAQ section on the website, you find that the answers are the same as from the dialogue in the virtual assistant.
After this, you probably won't want to communicate with the chatbot because you are wasting your precious time. And a constructive conversation depends on a dialogue with support, even if it is online. Of course, it is not easy to build a full-fledged dialogue with a bot, but it is quite possible to provide its resemblance.
However, often marketing managers forget about the user who gets tired of long answers. Therefore, they do not bring the desired effect because the client can go to the frequently asked questions section and get the same answer. Consequently, you can forget about such a communication scenario.
You may object that specific answers require further disclosure. Therefore, if you want to prevent the virtual assistant from getting a long monologue, take a pause and ask a clarifying question (for example, "Ready to move on?", "Is everything clear?", "There is one more thing you need to know," etc.).
Train the Bot
The chatbot can learn from each dialogue with the client, and it does it quite successfully. For example, one user wants to check the status of an order. Therefore, he asks the chatbot: "Where is my order?" Then, the bot shows the necessary information - the order has been paid/completed, the courier has left, and so on.
At the same time, another client can write to the bot, "Track my package using the number XXXX." The bot will learn to decipher this wording and understand that it is asked the same question.
The learning process can be automatic (using machine learning technology) or done manually. If everything is evident in the first case, how to train a virtual assistant yourself?
When training a bot manually, you specify what a specific question presentation means. This approach is beneficial if the chatbot sees a misspelled question and doesn't understand it. You can also train the bot on different wordings of the same request.
Manual training does not require technical training. A few button presses - and the virtual assistant is trained. The more time you spend training the bot, the better it understands customer questions. Over time, the bot will learn to recognize dozens of ways to ask the same question.
Now let's look at what small businesses need to do when implementing chatbots into their customer service activities to achieve positive results.
Use a Real-life Language
Avoid using formal and "dry" sentences. For example, not every user will understand the phrase "Invalid email address format." Yes, the phrase makes sense, but a real person does not answer that way.
Therefore, use a more real-life language. For example, the sentence mentioned above can be expressed in a slightly different way:
"Oops ?, there is a mistake in the email address. Check it and send the address again."
The same approach applies to the buttons in the chatbot. You can use the standard wording "Submit," "Cancel," "Start," and others. But it is much better to use the text that applies to your target audience:
- "It fits me."
- "I do not like it."
Offer Quick Answers to User Questions
Despite the ability of a virtual assistant to understand human speech, it is essential to offer quick answers that can help during a dialogue. If a chatbot is like a long and empty road that goes far ahead, then quick answer options are signs that lead your client in the right direction.
Imagine a grocery delivery bot asking what a customer wants. If your audience is used to answering differently, you need an online assistant to recognize hundreds of query options and give the correct answer.
The next step is to create a list of quick responses. For example, instead of asking which product category the user wants, offer him answer buttons - "Dairy," "Bakery," "Vegetables," "Fruits," etc. In this case, you will not worry that the bot does not understand the customer, and the customer will be able to get an accurate answer without having to write loads of text.
Test, Monitor, and Test Again
One of the first and most popular bots globally is Alexa from Amazon. Now companies from different fields of business are trying to equal it, from e-commerce and the financial sector to educational projects.
The virtual assistant communicates using a generated voice, but it can also listen and interpret requests in the same way a chatbot responds to typed text. At the same time, some questions can confuse the bot, and it will give an error, or the answer to the question will be wrong.
The same applies to other solutions for creating chatbots. Your main task is to test the bot before launching it and monitor its performance in the future.
Here are our two tips on how to organize testing of an online assistant for any business:
- Monitor the bot after launch. The best solution is to ask the client to rate the bot from 1 to 5. Any score below 5 is an option to make the technology better. Therefore, check the maximum number of bot responses and notice when the virtual assistant did not work as expected. It is also important to constantly train the chatbot on interactions with customers. After all, quick responses to requests and clear answers guarantee customer satisfaction.
- Don't be afraid to take the lead. Are new trends and terms appearing in your area? Did competitors present new products? Make sure the bot knows about it. If the virtual assistant cannot answer questions related to new products, your customers will get frustrated and move to your competitors. You, in turn, will lose a client and money.
These tips will help you test your bot and find its weaknesses. After all, your business's income depends on the effectiveness of the virtual assistant.
Let's sum it up. Chatbots can save time and money, especially for small businesses with limited customer support resources. After the initial setup and training of the virtual assistant, you will see that the number of requests to technical support will decrease significantly.
In addition, bots provide access to an extensive customer database. Usually, small companies cannot collect information independently so that virtual assistance will be helpful. As a result, you will improve your business strategy and increase its efficiency.
Therefore, chatbots are another channel for effective communication with the target audience. Satisfied customers will bring even more profit, and it will allow your company to strengthen its position in the market and increase earnings. All you need to do is follow our advice!
We hope that you found our article helpful. If you have any questions about setting up a chatbot, leave them in the comments below. We will answer them and analyze the most interesting ones in the following articles.
Email marketing requires massive effort and time to create and launch mailing lists. However, you can use a fundamentally different approach: implement an email workflow. It allows you not to worry about what to put in the newsletter for next week. Both beginners and skilled eLearning developers act like this to attract new students and keep in touch with old ones. Even if you have created more than one mailing list, automated emails will strengthen your marketing strategy and bring more responses. Let's figure out the definition of an email workflow and who needs it most of all.
The Concept of an Email Workflow
An email workflow is a series of email messages based on the behavior of potential students or their target actions. For example, you can send letters about signing up for a course, registering for an online school, an abandoned cart, an invitation to a webinar, etc. It will allow you to build communication with users depending on their actions on the online school website.
Of course, it takes more than one day to set up such mailing lists. However, there is a plus: an email workflow works automatically. This is why you can focus more on analyzing business metrics or creating new video classes. In addition, automation gives you a chance to analyze better, improve and refine your communication with your target audience as a whole.
Who Needs an Email Workflow
Automatic emails work effectively in almost any business (especially eLearning); this is their primary advantage. Mailing lists are 100% perfect when customers are offered a complex product that cannot be "touched." And online courses, webinars, or pieces of training are just such things. In addition to eLearning companies, mailing lists are also used by:
- B2B companies;
- CRM systems;
- E-commerce sites;
- service providers;
- news aggregators, etc.
They all work with clients in one way or another. Therefore, it is essential to build high-quality communication through email.
Why You Need to Work With Automatic Mailing Lists
However, there are also objective advantages of creating an email workflow. Let's look at the 4 pros of electronic mailing lists:
- They save a lot of time. You don't have to send out hundreds or more emails yourself. It is enough to gather the mailing list once, and a particular service built into the learning management system will do the rest. As soon as users activate a trigger you chose (visiting the website, registering, subscribing, etc.), the system sends the selected email letter.
- They move leads through the sales funnel model. If you are attracting new students and your profits are not increasing, potential students may be weeded out as they go through the sales funnel. Automatic emails help you to promote each lead smoothly. It will ensure a seamless replenishment of the client base and, accordingly, your income growth.
- They provide a personalized approach to each potential or existing student. Email marketing tools let you send unique emails according to the sales funnel's customer engagement, profile, and position. Therefore, you build long-term relationships with online school students through personalized emails.
- They make your email marketing strategy more robust. Email workflow increases click-to-open and click-through rates and reduces the unsubscribe rates. As a result, you will be able to help your audience 24/7. The main thing is to determine the shortcomings of your marketing strategy and choose the right trigger actions that will launch the mailing list.
Well, we understood the benefits. Now let's move on to the types of automatic letters.
Main Types of Mailing Lists
There are three main types of automated letters:
They allow you to collect leads using a lead magnet registration form in a letter or providing a link to a landing page. But collecting leads alone is not enough to successfully attract customers, and it is crucial for gradually building steady relationships with the audience. Therefore, try to tell potential students about the benefits of your online course from the very first letter, and explain how it will make life better.
Such a mailing list begins with a welcome letter after registering for an online school. Next, learn about the user's interests and provide relevant content in the following email. This approach allows you to educate subscribers, share valuable information and increase the credibility of your educational business.
Email Messages After Purchasing Online Courses
It is vital to follow your leads during the checkout of course purchase. Sending automated messages helps potential students confirm the purchase. You, in turn, will be able to collect feedback from customers. Such mailing lists improve the user experience and generate a brand-loyal audience.
Abandoned Cart Mailing List
There are various reasons why customers stop halfway through a course purchase. The email list helps bring users back to your website and stimulates them to buy your product. Moreover, this approach allows you to increase income and turn subscribers into regular students.
Webinar Invitation Emails
Such a workflow helps attract people to new pieces of training, online courses, and webinars in your online school. In addition, using automatic messages, you can notify students about new lessons. The structure of the letter can be completely different. At the same time, it is enough to develop an email workflow and use it permanently; this approach will save your time and money.
What Other Types of Email Lists Exist
In addition to the types mentioned above, the eLearning creators also use the following types of mailing lists:
- Automatic emails that help to work with leads. They aim to attract new students to your online school. The mailing list is triggered by a specific action - registering in an online school, downloading a lead magnet (e.g., a step-by-step checklist), etc. As soon as the subscriber has activated the trigger, he receives relevant letters that gradually stimulate him to buy an online course or webinar.
- Letters for regular customers. Another good way to increase sales and turn students into genuine brand advocates. You can use such email to offer personalized discounts and make unique offers available only to loyal students.
- Reactivation mailing. Such automated emails work with customer churn. Their main task is to remind your sleepy students about the online school and bring them back. Reactivation emails can be run for early churn (more than one month away from the website) and late churn (if the client has been inactive for 6 months and more).
Setting Up an Email Workflow: Basic Steps
There are three critical steps in creating and launching email lists:
- Set a trigger action to send messages. To do this, define the client action that starts the mailing list and select the preferred trigger.
- Build a new workflow. First, set the starting condition for the mailing list. Next, you need to drag the necessary elements from the menu and join them into a single structure. Add a message template, think about its subject and attach a text file. Further, set a specific time to send email messages to your clients.
- Start a mailing list. Now messages will be sent automatically after the user activates the target action.
How Many Emails You Should Add to the Workflow
It is not easy to give an exact answer to this question. Experts advise using at least 3-5 letters in the mailing list, which will help you get the most out of your messages. However, the structure can be much more significant. It depends on the depth of your sales funnel model and the steps of user decision-making. Therefore, sometimes you need to add up to 12 letters to the email workflow.
Creating a Design of an Email Workflow
We design a letter template as soon as we have created a mailing list and set all preferred settings for sending letters. Here are the top 3 tips for better results:
- Use corporate style. This approach will increase the awareness of your educational business and the brand's credibility.
- Use adaptive email layout. Your message should be equally readable both on a PC and smartphone.
- Use a single structure - letter header, body, and footer.
In the header, place a link to open the letter in a web browser or other technical information, the logo of the online school, and a banner. In addition, there are buttons with links to social networks, information about the company, and an unsubscribe button in the message's footer. Customize the body of the letter as you like.
It is also better to use specific fonts for email newsletters. This is because they are displayed in all browsers and email clients. If you use a different font, the mail app will change it to the default font. And this may not always meet your requirements for a message template.
It is best to use the following fonts in automated letters:
- Arial Black;
- Courier New;
- MS Sans Serif;
- Times New Roman;
- Trebuchet MS;
Use a calm color palette in the email workflow design. It makes letters beautiful and respects the subscriber. However, experts advise highlighting essential elements and action buttons ("Register," "Subscribe," etc.) with bright colors.
5 Rules for an Effective Email Workflow
But how to create a workflow that will attract new students, increase sales and make the brand recognizable? Here are five rules for effective performance:
- Choose the right time to send emails. Remember that it is appropriate to offer helpful content at the beginning of communication with a client. You can gradually offer to buy an online course only when you have built a trustful relationship.
- Take into account the features and activity of the user when creating a mailing list. Therefore, an individual approach is essential here. Pay attention to the actions and reactions of the subscriber (downloading a lead magnet, signing up for a free webinar, comments on social networks, etc.) and give a personalized response.
- Describe complex things in simple words. Users love it a lot.
- Segment your audience and create a unique set of emails for each group. The reason is simple: the same letter does not work well for all subscribers. Educational platforms offer convenient audience segmentation tools that save time and help you set up an effective workflow.
- Politeness and integrity must be your best friends. After all, it is important not to annoy a potential client but to show him the real advantages of educational content.
This is how you will gradually build trustful communication with the students of your online school. By setting up automatic mailing lists just once, you will ensure an increasing student's loyalty and a high level of course sales for many years to come. But remember that every eLearning business is unique in its own way. Therefore, take enough time to test different mailing options to choose the best one for you.
We hope that you found our article helpful. If you have any questions about working with an email workflow for online schools, leave them in the comments below. We will answer them and analyze the best ones in the following articles. Best of luck!
The pandemic has impacted education, and many projects have had to go online to stay afloat. Therefore, every online school owner tries to get the most out of the distance format.
To launch an e-course, you must select a learning management system (LMS). It allows students to acquire new knowledge from any computer, smartphone, or tablet PC. At the same time, the creators of educational content themselves can track students' progress and improve the course.
However, choosing an online learning management system is quite tricky as dozens of all-in-one platforms on the market have similar characteristics. At the same time, choosing the wrong solution can cost time and money.
Let's review common mistakes beginners make when choosing an educational platform and ways to avoid them.
Unrealistic Budget for a Learning Management System
Many online course creators assume that connecting an LMS is the only cost associated with launching an online course. However, there are many more fees. For example, you may be charged for system setup, ongoing maintenance, and timely updates. And these costs add up as your online school grows. Therefore, you need to clearly understand how much you are willing to spend on an educational platform now and in the future.
In addition, you should set a realistic budget for the monthly or yearly maintenance of the learning management system. If this fails, contact the eLearning system provider for pricing information. It is crucial to ensure that the provider distinguishes between mandatory fees and additional costs. For example, LMS creators may offer advanced reporting or service packages. Read the offer and decide what you need and what things you should refuse.
How To Plan a Budget for an Educational Platform
During cost planning, it is worth determining the total cost of your project. It depends on such factors:
- Buying or renting an online learning management system.
- LMS integration with other solutions for your school.
- Refinement of the learning management system (for example, a unique design, custom architecture, and a mobile application).
- Server installation and maintenance fee (if you wish to store student and course data internally).
- Creation of dashboards through third-party solutions (for example, Power BI).
- Course builder (if the platform itself does not provide it).
- Tools for learning design (if not provided in the LMS).
- Equipment for shooting training videos (you need a camera, a microphone, and studio lighting).
- Salary costs for employees (project manager, distance learning system administrator, and content manager).
- Payment for technical support.
If your employees work remotely, they must have enough powerful computers to work on online courses.
It is also essential how quickly you need to complete work on the educational platform and launch an online course. If you're chasing deadlines, the total cost can be simply multiplied by 2.
Underestimating the Importance of an Integrated API
Of course, you have other data processing systems besides the learning management system. You exploit them to upload and store data about employees and students and distribute access to this information.
However, is it convenient for you to bulk transfer data from external systems to LMS? What if the existing format is unsuitable for the standard transfer of information between tables?
It results in additional effort and time spent providing access to data on all e-platforms. Agree, this is a problem. And the huge one.
So make sure your educational platform has an integrated and fully documented API. Creating a fully functional solution may be missing something, but an LMS with a built-in API guarantees flawless operation and fast access to data. Moreover, you will save a lot of time, effort, and money.
Choice of Platform with Limited Functions
Most LMS developers offer a license or subscription on an annual basis. Often, a contract is signed between an online school and LMS developers for at least 2 years.
This approach has significant advantages. Thus, a long-term contract provides a more incredible payback for the project, and you will take this into account when analyzing business processes. First, however, you must be sure that the eLearning solution provider will provide quality support in the future.
The number of students in your courses changes constantly. But it doesn't have to make your education business harder or break your bank because you're outperforming or underperforming vital metrics.
In addition, you need an educational platform that will evolve with you. Yes, it may meet your needs now, but what about next year or 5 years?
Students and businesses are constantly evolving. Therefore, it is imperative to find a solution that will adapt to your needs and develop independently.
We recommend paying attention to all-in-one platforms. They have everything you need to create and manage online courses:
- course builder;
- tools for recording webinars / automatic webinars;
- functionality for creating tests, tasks, polls;
- tools for launching a chain of letters with a built-in constructor;
- a fully functional CRM system designed to connect the sales department;
- simplified landing page builder to quickly build a site dedicated to your course;
- the ability to connect a chatbot.
These advantages allow you to create and launch the first online course in just 30 minutes.
Choosing a System for Teachers, Not Students
Another common mistake is choosing a learning management system for teachers to control the learning process (add users, create and add modules, work with reports, etc.). The logic of such reflections is elementary: if the teacher is comfortable, the platform is suitable. At this moment, no one thinks about the students, but they shouldn't be.
Five seconds is precisely how long a person needs to consider the convenience and usefulness of the website. If they find the page too difficult, they leave it. Already on the main page of the online school, students should see how much they benefit from learning.
In addition, students must quickly understand the LMS. For example, where to enter the username and password, watch educational videos, find out the grade for homework, and the place in the overall rating. If users do not find all this, they will stop learning.
Here is a basic example: Sergei opened an email with an invitation to an introductory web design course. He followed the link and landed on a page with dozens of folders. He will understand where to click to get to the desired course. There are two possible scenarios:
- Sergei will write to support and ask for help.
- Sergei will close the tab and will never revisit this page.
Remember: if the user cannot open the video tutorial in a few clicks, you will lose it. And a project that you have spent a lot of time, effort, and money on will never pay off. Therefore, do your best to ensure that students spend a minimum of time accessing educational materials.
Neglect of Analytics Tools
And now, let's move on to the fifth and final mistake. Many e-course founders underestimate the importance of analytics tools. Most educational platforms offer a built-in analysis panel, and here you can track student progress and identify course problems in a matter of moments.
However, different learning management systems offer different types of reports. Some provide convenient data visualization in graphs and charts, while others are much more limited. It can be a problem for online schools that set high goals and constantly monitor all indicators.
Ideally, analytics tools should be fully aligned with your business goals and tasks. So, they should measure critical indicators related to the productivity and profitability of the eLearning course. Therefore, decide what data you need and how the educational platform should display it - visually or using standard tables. If the LMS developers do not provide clear information about the analytics features, request a detailed report. It will help test all the options and choose the best one qualitatively.
Aspects To Look For When Choosing a Learning Management System
But how to choose the right educational platform so as not to fail? Here are our tips!
- Determine the requirements of your target audience. A detailed analysis of students' needs will help understand their goals. Based on the data obtained, you can create a course structure, develop a mission, and create learning content that will resonate with students. It's also worth analyzing how an LMS will help you achieve your goals as an online learning creator.
- Look for an open and flexible learning management system. Ideally, it should have as many useful features as possible. You can then add other features, depending on your needs. Forget about complex LMS; it won't do you any good. But if you have already spent money on such a system, ask the system developer for help. It will tailor the educational platform to your needs.
- Check out opportunities to test run and collect feedback from the first edition of an online course. These reviews are precious for further development. With their help, you will find weaknesses in marketing, content, and the LMS itself. Therefore, pay due attention to this, as well as to analytics tools.
- Check if connecting additional technical support employees to the CRM is possible. We recommend hiring one or two well-versed employees in the educational platform who can provide frontline assistance (solving technical issues, registering new students, uploading progress reports, etc.). Yes, this will require additional costs. However, these employees will help have steady nerves for the students and keep their desire to pass e-courses.
You will choose the perfect platform to launch an online learning course if you follow these guidelines.
Let's sum it up. You can not choose an educational platform at random. Before choosing an LMS, decide on your needs and skills. You should also carefully consider your current eLearning strategy and goals. All this allows you to significantly limit the list of required functions to reduce the cost of creating courses and not be distracted by excessive functionality. In addition, there is no point in evaluating an online learning management system until you understand its primary value and ways to use it.
We hope you found our article helpful. If you have any questions about working with educational platforms, leave them in the comments below. We will answer your questions and analyze the top ones in the following articles.
Have you ever had the feeling that you are explaining something, but you are not understood? These things happen for a straightforward reason: the wrong approach. The same is true for online learning. Not every online school considers different learning options or chooses a suitable method for their topic. Let's look at one of the ways to make the learning process easier and more precise - multimodal learning.
What Is the Multimodal Learning
Educational experts also call this method "deep learning." It is a strategy based on various tools for learning and perception of information. A learning management system (LMS) often helps with this. The multimodal learning system uses text or voice and other types of content (videos, pictures, audio, and practical tasks). All this increases the effectiveness of learning.
Theory of Multimodality
Multimodality is based on three concepts that must be considered when developing an electronic course.
1. Multiple approach
Using the principles of multimodality in e-learning will show students that you are using the full potential of multimedia. Picture, sound, and visual graphics are just a few tools for creating a course. The theory of multimodal learning also analyzes various types of multimedia in e-learning and their organization in a virtual environment.
2. Cultural formation
According to the theory of multimodality, all the resources used and the means of transmitting information are formed under the cultural influence. Over time, they acquire a specific meaning, constantly changing as social norms and values adjust.
Here is a basic example: people from different countries or communities perceive the same information differently, depending on the socio-cultural code. Therefore, experts recommend considering the features of the target audience's culture when creating an electronic course. As people use the learning resources, they will become more elaborate and comprehensive.
3. Personal meaning
Let's move on to the third and most crucial point. People give their meaning to various online learning resources, and it is expressed in selecting, configuring, and organizing an e-course through a learning management system. The beliefs and norms of society also influence your students. Moreover, some motivational factors have weight (e.g., the interest of relatives and friends in electronic courses). Therefore, the personal preferences of the target audience are one of the most challenging aspects of working on e-learning. After all, you must understand how potential students understand and accept your product.
The VARK Framework
This is a unique framework that is used to categorize teaching methods. It was first proposed by a teacher from New Zealand, Neil Fleming. According to the framework, there are 4 most common online learning methods with high demand. Let's consider them in more detail.
V - Visual
A person perceives the vast majority of information through vision. Therefore, visual aids are essential in online learning. Colorful images, exciting infographics, and other visual forms are assimilated much better than other types of content, and they provide the main effect of electronic courses.
No matter how logical it may sound, it is vital to make sure that you use high-quality visual content (images, design, visual effects, etc.). The same applies to the educational platform: it should be as convenient and attractive as possible for students.
A - Auditory
It includes learning through audio content such as books, podcasts, and other recordings. You can listen to them at any time - during a trip in transport, at lunchtime and before going to bed. This approach is also suitable for learning new knowledge or improving existing skills.
R - Reading / writing
People don't always follow trends blindly. Many students continue to read books and take notes by hand. Therefore, you can refer to paper books during the lessons.
This approach is used to study the most critical points. And its effectiveness is impressive. Scientists have proven that reading books and writing by hand improve information memorization.
K - Kinesthetic
Learning by doing is much more helpful than learning theory. When people have gained knowledge and begin to apply it, they increase their level of work efficiency. At the same time, people gain valuable experience and better understand the content of the information received recently. Therefore, it is imperative to apply the practical strategy in teaching.
The owner of an online school must necessarily understand that students who attend their courses are well-intentioned. They aim to improve and achieve new heights in life, and it can only be achieved when the learning strategy matches their thinking and learning style.
Why You Should Add Elements of Multimodal Learning to Your E-course
Yes, applying one proven tool might be easier for you. However, using multiple approaches at once makes your eLearning more effective. The reason is simple: people with different learning styles will benefit equally from new knowledge.
Not all students learn the same way, so applying a multimodal learning strategy to your online course makes sense. Various training methods allow your learners to assimilate new concepts better and understand what you offer. In addition, the combination of several styles helps your audience to learn at a deeper level. Therefore, a person remembers new data more easily.
In addition, different learning styles increase concentration. The combination of visual, audio, and text content improves learning productivity. For example, if a student does not understand the teacher's story, an addition in a graph or diagram will help him.
The VARK framework provides a complete and engaging learning experience in a virtual environment. It is flexible enough to offer students ways to master skills that suit their unique learning styles. This, in turn, increases interest in the subject.
At the same time, even children can benefit from multimodal learning and express themselves. Researchers from Cisco have proven that students who work with text and images simultaneously achieve better results than those who just read the text. Combined training models are more effective than traditional methods, which are more rigid.
For instance, the standard math classes make many students bored. It is all because they are given a cold theory. It is much better to consolidate the material with the help of interactive multimodal tests with fascinating visuals.
How To Implement a Multimodal Approach to Online Learning
Suppose you believe your online course participants will achieve great results with a multimodal approach. In that case, the virtual learning environment should contain much more than regular video tutorials and Powerpoint presentations. It is necessary to motivate students to analyze information independently. So, they can discuss the lesson's topic with other students and apply personal experience in the learning process. This is the beauty of multimodal learning.
Further, it creates a unique and highly effective online learning environment. Therefore, the creators of eLearning courses should reasonably choose an LMS as a full-fledged educational platform. It should have all the necessary tools for working with the course: a convenient constructor, a checklist for launching the course, a chat for communicating with students, a statistics section with a detailed reporting network, and much more.
Here are 3 ways to apply a multimodal approach to online learning:
Studying in a virtual environment is becoming more and more popular and relevant, and it offers many more opportunities for students than the traditional approach. Virtualization allows you to build a course to do practical work and exchange thoughts in an online environment.
Moreover, virtual classrooms are much easier to manage than traditional ones, and this is where educational platforms with advanced tools for creating courses help. By following specific requirements, you can give students access to knowledge from anywhere in the world.
Online conferences allow students to interact with each other, and this approach brings people together and makes them more open. Moreover, the discussion is an integral part of learning. Indeed, unexpected answers and cool ideas may appear in the dialogue process.
In addition, while taking online courses, you can share your thoughts in the chat. This allows students to express the lesson's topic on their own. However, not always textual discussions can be fascinating. Because students cannot always respond on time, some messages become redundant, and chat becomes boring. It is all because of trying to keep up with what other students said.
It is necessary to interest not only children but also adults. Therefore, it is crucial to add game elements to eLearning courses, and this approach makes the course more complex, more interactive, and fun. Therefore, gamification brings top benefits to both students and creators of online learning.
Using a Multimodal Approach Wisely
However, just because students can use different teaching methods does not mean you should use them all. Recent studies by American scientists show that when creating e-courses, you need to be more careful with multimedia content.
Moreover, students can be distracted from class if the screen is too overloaded with visuals or text. There is an overload of modalities, which significantly harms training effectiveness. As a result, students remember very little new knowledge.
All educational tools should work together. In this way, you will create educational content in which texts, videos, pictures, and interactive elements look appropriate. If multimedia is spread over considerable periods, it will lose its usefulness. Therefore, we recommend using a multimodal approach and helping students use maximum memory and attention, and it allows you to organize the online learning process properly and involve students.
Multimodal learning offers an innovative and diverse approach to creating e-learning courses. And all thanks to technical advancements that increase learning effectiveness - virtualization, video conferencing, gamification, and more. All this makes us think about creating a course of study that fully involves students. Therefore, the multimodal approach is used by many online schools worldwide.
Most students perceive multimodal strategies positively. The reason is simple: this approach allows you to more actively choose your own learning methods and increase motivation to get new knowledge. Further, several learning modes make it possible to create a complete and comprehensive solution for learning new knowledge improving memory and comprehension.
We hope you found our article helpful. If you have any questions about multimodal education, write them in the comments below. We will answer each question, and the top ones will be discussed in the following articles!
Online learning is becoming more and more popular as millions of people seek to learn new skills through the Internet. As a result, more and more e-courses appear on the market. How to stand out if you plan to launch your training or webinar series? The answer is simple: do not make mistakes.
The first mistake is perfectionism. You need to forget about wanting to create the perfect eLearning course. Too much perfection has never led to good results. However, there are more significant mistakes when creating courses, and let's consider them in more detail.
1. There is no well-considered topic, purpose and course structure
If you ignore your target audience, you are making a critical mistake. You will not create a quality online course without a thoughtful approach to potential students. Therefore, such a product can be thrown into the trash.
Before you start working on the course in more detail, start with the basics. First, find out why you decided to create a series of webinars or pieces of training? This will form the primary mission of the course.
In addition, it is vital to understand if your target audience wants to take this course. Naturally, you can line up to your topic, but will potential students have the same intense attraction? At the same time, you should not extend the course to the size of a college program with classes lasting more than 2 hours. In this case, you risk losing all the students. It is better to divide the training material into separate modules or apply micro-learning strategies. The step-by-step presentation of information guarantees a complete learning and correct application of knowledge in practice.
Once you fix this issue, you can pay attention to other details.
2. The course is taking too long
This mistake is related to the previous one. You may definitely want to get the most from the course and offer students the most detailed information. However, quantity does not always mean quality. Therefore, creating an online course lasting hundreds of hours is incredibly wrong.
Now you can easily access knowledge via the Internet, but not everyone has the time to learn.
It is much better to follow the perimeters of text and video content. Texts can be improved in two ways:
- Simple word count is the easiest way to create clear and concise material.
- Usage of unique services that work in real-time and give tips on how to improve your text.
As for video content, the optimal duration of a lesson is up to 10 minutes, which allows students to concentrate as much as possible on the lesson's material.
It is pretty difficult to force someone to study for several months in current conditions. After all, even short courses can be challenging. However, a course with short modules is a great idea. Firstly, it allows you to maintain a stable interest among students. And secondly, short videos can be watched at any convenient time (even during a lunch break at work).
3. There are no metrics to track eLearning performance
Another big mistake is not tracking your online course metrics. Measuring performance is critical to understanding the benefits of the content, and the easiest way to do this is through the feedback form. Educational experts recommend attaching it to your course using special services (for example, Google Forms or Survey Monkey).
The following questions should be added to the form:
- How suitable is the current format of the online course for the student?
- Is the course easy to navigate?
- How easy is it to learn the lessons you offer?
- How does the student evaluate the level of video and graphics?
- What is missing in the e-course, and what seems superfluous?
It is also worth studying critical numbers in an online course. For example, how much time do students spend studying and how often they visit the educational platform. If possible, observe the changes to students after completing the training - how they use new knowledge in practice and how their behavior has changed.
4. You are not proofread texts for the course
The students trust you with their training as specialists. And it would be highly embarrassing for them to notice the incorrect spelling of words and the construction of sentences. Even the slightest mistake will make users doubt the uniqueness of the materials. After all, you not only made mistakes but did not even bother to correct them.
The biggest mistake you can make is to steal educational content blatantly. Therefore, when creating an electronic course, it is better to use anti-plagiarism services to ensure that the texts are original.
Maintaining a professional look and tone of voice for your online course is also crucial. Therefore, reduce text formatting (bold, underlining, italics) and capital letters in posts on social networks to a minimum.
5. Lack of communication with students
Communication with students is the most important part of e-learning. It doesn't matter if you do it online or offline. The teacher's primary role is not to help students learn new topics but to motivate them to develop. The right mentor who helps you focus on learning is 50% of success. And if there is no connection with the teacher, then there is no point in improving yourself. As a result, students will leave your online course.
Provide high-quality feedback on homework and have a one-to-one ratio with all students. If your resources are not enough, hire other teachers who will help the students grow.
6. You placed course materials in the cloud storage
If you place video, audio, and slides in the cloud, they may not display correctly on other devices. It is much better to use trustworthy educational platforms. These universal solutions allow you to conveniently post materials on the Web, while each student will have a separate personal account to access educational content.
However, there are dozens of such platforms, so choosing a convenient and functional solution for creating and launching electronic courses is crucial. You don't need to invent anything else because the developers have already done everything for you.
Use our checklist to choose a perfect website:
- The platform should provide access to a complete set of tools for working on educational content (without hidden fees).
- The website has a functional course builder to create modules, add images and videos, record new lessons, and launch final exams.
- The service offers a convenient chat for communication between students and teachers.
- The platform allows you to create a registration form for the course quickly.
- You can efficiently distribute access rights to the service among inspectors, course facilitators, and other teachers.
- The website offers basic notifications to students about the course they are taking.
Educational platforms end all problems with the technical part of eLearning development. Therefore, you can safely create top-notch content and build communication with listeners.
7. There is no adequate response to criticism
Unfortunately, criticism is inevitable, and no one wants to know that they did not do everything as expected. However, it is imperative to get an adverse reaction from students to make the e-course better.
If you avoid negative feedback and criticism and are unwilling to listen to suggestions for improving the course, you can forget about a practical course. Ignoring the requests of the audience = lack of communication = outflow of students.
It is much better to consider criticism and make the necessary changes. By doing this, you show that you are interested in your students' success and remember their intention to succeed, thereby increasing trust and authority.
How to avoid such mistakes
But there is good news: all the defects can be easily and quickly fixed. Use the following tips to make your course better!
Explain the structure of the course to the students
New knowledge is more difficult to understand if you have not told students about the structure of the e-course. Remind your learners regularly of how each stage relates to the end goal. Summarize each topic and module, reflecting on the topics covered and those you will study in the future. It is also worth saying basic and specific terms from your training series. All this will ensure that students understand the educational material and understand you.
Don't forget about consolidation
This has been a problem even during the school years. Remember the situation when the teacher asks, "Is everything clear?" after explaining a new topic, and then they listen to the sound of silence. Students are simply embarrassed to show that they do not fully understand the material, and it needs to be explained again.
The same is true for online courses. Therefore, you need to exploit a completely different approach here. So, to consolidate the theory, you should go to the practical part and analyze a specific example. For example, offer to solve a similar task on your own. You can also change the task's context so that students can remember the theory and find the right solutions. The more practical examples you consider, the more likely you will successfully consolidate knowledge.
Provide students with examples
Learning without a theoretical basis is impossible. However, it is essential to show the students how to apply the knowledge. Let them think of how the theory can help in different situations. If people understand that new information brings complete life changes, they become psychologically satisfied.
Pay attention to tests
Final tests are one of the main parts of the e-course. They allow you to determine how students have learned knowledge and find difficult questions in the educational material. Experts recommend adding midterms after each module and control tasks after a large piece, of course. Choose questions from different topics; it helps students search for the necessary information and create the structure of the answer. At the same time, the solution should not be based entirely on theory but, on the contrary, should make one think outside the box.
Start a test launch
After creating an online course, you need to conduct a trial run. To do this, select a limited audience (up to 50 people). As a result of the "test drive," you will get the first feedback from the students and will be able to use it to fix problems.
These tips will help you avoid mistakes and create a highly effective online course that will benefit people.
Remember, it's completely normal to make mistakes, and the main thing is to find and fix bugs in time. There are no perfect online courses and teachers, as well as students. So don't be afraid to try different formats, collect feedback from your audience, and use quality online tools.
We hope that you find our article helpful. If you have any questions about creating eLearning, leave them in the comments below. We will answer all your questions and analyze the most interesting ones in our following materials. Good luck!
Online learning platforms have been around for decades, but their prosperity has only just begun. The creators of the specific programs are doing their best to ensure that their technologies spread as quickly as possible. This is also facilitated by people's desire for a comfortable and high-tech learning environment. And the online environment is perfect for this, which offers tremendous opportunities and benefits that classical education does not have.
The main advantages of e-learning are mobility and convenience. These factors are critical while technologies are snowballing and people are tied to their smartphones. Therefore, millions of people are gaining knowledge and mastering new skills via the Internet. This is why creators of the courses can attract as many people as possible to the fascinating educational process. Let's look at the top online course management activities available to everyone and help you maximize your results.
Research your target audience and set clear learning goals
It's the first thing to do when creating an online course. Understanding the preferences and needs of the target audience will help determine what content will be most beneficial for students. If you don't, you will be wasting your time and money. You cannot speculate and assess prospects without knowing what skills and experiences potential learners have.
Therefore, to understand how best to present educational content to listeners, it is necessary to analyze the target audience. Otherwise, why would anyone study your subject if they don't know how the information will be helpful?
It is also essential to set specific goals at the start of each e-course. This approach will help students understand the benefits of studying with you and how the knowledge gained will expand their professional competencies. In turn, you will create the most comfortable environment for interacting with students.
Moreover, setting learning objectives adds value to your knowledge and allows you to think through the course structure. We will talk about this a bit later.
The study of the target audience is a crucial base that affects other aspects of the e-learning strategy.
Think carefully about the structure
After you understand the needs of your audience, think about what knowledge they will need the most. It is much better than setting unrealistic goals and endlessly expanding the course. This approach is counterproductive because it is impossible to assimilate a vast amount of information in weeks.
Therefore, it is vital to develop a convenient step-by-step structure, where huge topics are broken into separate blocks. The more step-by-step approach you use, the easier it is for learners to learn. At the same time, don't forget to repeat the material regularly to learn it better. Use different representation options (for example, alternate text + images and video with voice acting). It will allow students to maximize their personal learning needs and simplify their work with information.
Further, consider using causal links as often as possible in the writing process. When students logically link several concepts they encountered during class, they will work with them more effectively. In other words, the clearer and more logical the structure of an online course, the easier the learning itself.
Make courses visually appealing
Attractiveness is one of the synonyms for engagement. After all, engaging e-learning courses often have well-designed visuals. It attracts the attention and interest of potential students who are happy to come to the course to learn something new.
The first thing to remember is that less is more, and there shouldn't be too many elements in the visual. Here are the basic rules to help you create the perfect design:
- Texts should be short
- Use white space to make reading easier
- Pick high-quality images and videos
- Don't use too much animation in your online tests.
You can create an engaging online learning environment if you follow these guidelines. This, in turn, will create and keep your students engaged.
Add some interactivity
Interactive elements are one of the most important factors when creating online courses, and they help students show more interest in the course topic and stay focused throughout the study. All this leads to greater involvement in the educational environment because boredom and loss of concentration are the main enemies of learning.
You can use a variety of ways to design your e-learning strategy, from simple drag-and-drop interactions or animated online quizzes to creating a complete interactive course and virtual classroom environment. Moreover, with the advent of the metaverse, educational platform creators will look to implement this technology for learning.
Remember that your main goal is to engage and retain your target audience. And the more you know about student preferences, the easier it will be for you to find and integrate interactive elements that maximize engagement in the learning process.
Brevity is the soul of wit
Endlessly long lessons only distract students. No one has enough patience and time to devote entirely to learning (especially people with busy work schedules).
Therefore, it is best to keep the training modules short. Ideally, one session should not be longer than 10 minutes. This approach shows students respect for their time and makes interacting with the learning material easier. It is much more comfortable for students to work with small amounts of information than with hours of videos and long texts.
Three rules of brevity:
- We break content into short modules
- We offer blitz polls to test knowledge
- We don't overload the screen with information.
However, successful learning is impossible without an emotional connection. Let's consider this topic in more detail.
Reach out to students' emotions
Emotions enhance long-term memory, and scientists have proven that the emotional component is essential for memorizing information. Therefore, if you strive to consolidate knowledge effectively, create content to evoke emotions in students. If an online course is unresponsive, listeners will not perceive the information as meaningful. Therefore, they will probably forget about everything you taught them.
In other words, an emotion-centered approach is essential to learning. The best way to do this is to share information through stories and examples. This technique is prevalent because it helps focus on the educational process and consolidate knowledge. And this, in turn, is vital for improving long-term memory.
Share valuable knowledge
As we said before, learning content should be both valuable and unique. But why is it so important?
The answer is simple: if the students understand how your knowledge will be helpful, they will learn it better. Therefore, when creating an e-course, focus on appealing to the audience's emotions.
A human-centered approach to the learning process will allow you to implement all the tools for working with students and meeting their needs. And the students themselves will be able to see how new knowledge and skills relate to their experience.
What's more, reaching out to students' emotions is one of the best ways to build and maintain audience engagement. Sharp images, fascinating stories, and a little bit of humor - all this can arouse genuine interest, set a positive motivation for learning, and an emotional connection between students and the teacher.
Leverage students' knowledge and offer them an engaging and meaningful online extremely positive learning experience.
Let students explore the topic on their own
Research is the learning itself. When students get freedom and complete control to learn information, they do it with great interest. Moreover, such an approach could be much more beneficial than expected.
Students do not complete their online courses because there is little room for maneuver. Let's suppose you're watching a movie, miss a critical moment, and can't rewind to watch it again. Another example: you want to understand the meaning of an e-course and cannot find out more about its content until you have passed the training module or section to the end.
Allow students to explore the topic on their own. This will help them independently build their unique learning strategy, understand the context and become more involved in the learning process.
Make your course successful
Pride cannot be a prominent part of the strategy, but it is. Positive student feedback and growing interest in an online course are the leading indicators of valuable knowledge.
When you are genuinely proud of your achievements, you take responsibility for opposing critics of your approach. This means that you:
- did your best to achieve the result.
- paid attention to every detail.
- used all the tools available to create a quality online course.
- were in the students' shoes while working on the course and are happy with their progress.
Positive student response is a significant indicator of success, and this shows that the students enjoyed learning as much as you did the course during the course. And vice versa, a modest response to your creation indicates that you have created a mediocre product. So always ask yourself, "Do I like what I am doing?"
The success of e-learning highly depends on student interest. Robust control, a clear structure, experienced teachers, clear goals, open access to knowledge, and easy navigation through the online platform may increase student engagement and improve the quality of learning.
Moreover, now the creators of e-courses have access to top-notch educational platforms with a wide range of tools. They allow you to launch your first training module with videos, tests, and a unique design in just 30 minutes.
However, learning in a virtual environment requires constant motivation from your audience. So follow our tips for managing online learning, and you will surely enjoy the benefits of helping people.
We hope you find our article helpful. If you have any questions regarding online course management, leave them in the comments below. We will answer them and analyze the most interesting ones in the following materials.
Microlearning has already become a significant trend in e-learning, and many online schools and companies are already using a short content format that has maximum impact. Let's find out what microlearning is and look at 6 inspiring examples of "little by little" learning.
What Is Microlearning
The meaning of microlearning comes from the name itself. This is a format of providing knowledge in small portions - from 2 to 5 minutes. At the same time, classes are organized according to the "1 lesson - 1 topic" format.
E-learning course creators use text, video, and images at the same time. The advantage of the short format is that students focus on the topic as much as possible and quickly learn new knowledge. This is especially important given the tendency of people to clip thinking, which are the peculiarities of perceiving information as a sequence of individual events. Therefore, microlearning guarantees conciseness and specificity, concentrating helpful information.
The secret behind the popularity of microlearning is that even great skills can be mastered with short videos. That is why this format is ideal for those who value their time. And teachers, in turn, catch the trend towards the transition to learning through mobile devices and offer the most suitable conditions for developing skills.
What Is the Primary Purpose of Microlearning
Microlearning attracts students to master a new topic gradually. They do small tasks that relate to the topic of the lesson.
This approach also solves three main tasks:
- It acts as an addition to a broader training course.
- It helps to identify gaps in knowledge and decide which direction to move on.
- It solves specific problems at a particular time (for example, if a person lacks competence in solving a problem).
Therefore, the demand for the short content format is snowballing.
Best Microlearning Examples
There are dozens of successful cases with short format lessons, and they cover a variety of areas and solve global business problems. Let's take a look at 6 of the most exciting examples of microlearning:
Online Learning Solutions from Elucidat
You need to spend a lot of time and effort to put new knowledge into practice. At the same time, it is not necessary to pass a comprehensive training course, because the information received can be forgotten after a few weeks. Instead, it is better to pay attention to the interval learning method and learn gradually.
Elucidat, a cloud platform for creating e-learning courses, has developed a unique solution with great potential. It enables students to master the theory and immediately execute practical tasks to consolidate knowledge. As a result, students are most satisfied with the educational process.
Microtasks gradually develop the abilities and skills of students. And the high adaptability of the online application allows you to track progress and keep users motivated, which is essential for learning success.
Easy10 Mobile App for Learning Foreign Languages
One of the most popular niches in microlearning is foreign languages. The demand for learning English, German, French, and other languages remains stable. However, people are looking to get the maximum result in less time.
The Easy 10 app is designed to help users learn foreign languages. All you need is to learn only 10 words or phrases per day to succeed. Therefore, in just one year of study, you can learn 3,650 new words and expressions, from the simplest to vocabulary to the level of IELTS and TOEFL tests! The app is currently available in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, and other languages .
The Easy 10 application has a user-friendly interface - users may exploit cards where the word and its meaning are indicated. Further, students can look at the transcription of words and listen to their pronunciation. At the same time, an intelligent system for repeating the material covered is used. In addition to new words, you will complete tests and tasks to repeat the previous day's words every day. Words that you learn worse will be repeated more often and the time spent is significantly reduced.
You are awarded points for completing tasks, forming an overall rating among other users. You can track your progress on the calendar. Here you can find out how many words you have learned and how many days you have been studying without interruptions.
Thus, the Easy10 application combines the best features of adaptive and microlearning.
Short Q&A Videos For IT Experts From Cisco
Our following example is the case of Cisco, which found a way to help developers by launching a series of TechTalks videos.
This company runs a unique certification program. It allows you to test the knowledge and skills of developers who want to work with Cisco solutions. This uses micro-learning technology to learn all the necessary information to pass the exam.
Why did Cisco decide to do this project? The company's management understands that it is hard for potential users of their products to study extensive material before the exam. And information overload leads to students quickly forgetting almost everything they learned.
Therefore, the company has developed a particular Cisco Learning Network repository with TechTalks videos up to 10 minutes long. Each video addresses a specific concept or concept, and the video series aims to refresh knowledge on the most popular IT topics.
As for now, thousands of people can watch short videos about essential concepts in IT. This eliminates the need to watch long and endless videos because you may find all the information in one video.
Moreover, the content is balanced between attracting attention and keeping the student's interest. Therefore, Cisco's TechTalks videos are used to remind you of essential concepts and mechanics.
Google Manager Training Courses
The global tech giant continues to set trends. Google has created a simple and effective tool for training managers in a safe corporate culture. It extends the scope of traditional learning and offers more in less time.
Google Whisper Courses videos and seminars combine a theoretical and practical approach. In this way, they solve the problem of learning in the classroom and offer managers to gain valuable knowledge and immediately put it into practice.
The structure of the courses is straightforward: e-learning participants receive letters by email. They contain ideas for improving the efficiency of individual processes and the team. They can be voiced during the next team meeting, and you may get a response from your colleagues.
Why was this solution successful? It's all about human psychology, and we often need a little push to put the idea into practice. And in each Google Whisper Courses email, the student receives precise instructions for use and a call to action.
Grovo Microlearning Business Platform
In addition to individual apps, courses, or knowledge bases, there are some full-fledged educational platforms for training employees. One of the most famous is Grovo.
This platform allows teams of any level to grow and develop. Moreover, it facilitates the adaptation of new employees, making it faster and more transparent.
Grovo offers an extensive knowledge base with content on the most in-demand topics (e.g., leadership, business communications, personal growth, customer service, sales, etc.). In total, more than 2,500 positions are available on the website. Employees can view videos and complete interactive tests on the online platform. This approach improves learning and increases motivation to complete the training course.
In addition to using turnkey courses, companies can create their product using templates. All you need is to subscribe to Content Anytime and choose the template you like.
Digital Sales Automation Platform from Cardinal Health
It is also worth analyzing a case from Cardinal Health. Previously, the company's management faced difficulties in implementing solutions for sales automation, which required finding an effective solution.
The Canadian company is a Fortune 14 leader in civil health, and that is why its popularity has skyrocketed and the workload on its employees. Therefore, optimizing costs and automating routine tasks was necessary, especially for training employees and working with clients.
What challenges does Cardinal Health face?
- Sales representatives were highly mobile, but this was a problem for arranging training in the company's office. So, it was not always possible to gather sufficient people to give them new and valuable knowledge.
- A vast number of the same type of requests came to the support service, despite the constant training of employees. The reason for the problem was in the level of knowledge retention. Therefore, responding to repeated requests from customers took a massive amount of time.
- Classes for sales managers focused on the importance of using Salesforce CRM rather than hands-on experience with digital solutions. The theoretical approach is ineffective, so many employees were lost when they started working with CRM.
So Cardinal Health turned to the digital platform Whatfix for help, which offered its technology to improve the training of sales representatives. They were trained in real-time using Whatfix's core technology, Digital Adoption. It consists of interactive step-by-step guides in the learning process, and sales managers perform 1 specific task in 1 session. This approach will reduce the training course duration and increase its effectiveness.
With an improved learning model, employees picked up Salesforce CRM faster. This, in turn, made it possible to process user requests faster. Sales managers could learn in their own style without interrupting their core tasks. Therefore, online learning has brought more benefits than classroom training.
Some Words To Sum Up
Microlearning has become a widespread trend in the world of online education. The innovative strategy fits perfectly into everyday life and brings much more benefit and pleasure than classic courses.
If you plan to use the short format, then look to the top educational platforms to create compelling content. They offer turnkey e-learning solutions that allow you to launch your first course in 30 minutes. A course builder with a step-by-step checklist, branding tools, and video recording instruments are among them.
You should also follow new trends and implement them into your product. Thus, adaptive learning technologies and game mechanics are in the most significant demand. These directions make courses more attractive and practical. As a result, completion of training modules and student satisfaction increase.
We hope you find this article helpful. If you have any questions about microlearning, please leave them in the comments below. We will answer all your questions, and the most interesting ones will be analyzed in detail in our following materials!
The main feature of mobile learning is convenience and acquiring new knowledge anywhere with an Internet connection. According to the author of The Mobile Learning Edge: Tools and Technologies for Developing Your Teams, Harry Woodill, this type of e-learning exempts you from traveling to a specific location. Moreover, this approach takes us back to ancient times, when vital knowledge was passed on by word of mouth. And with the spread of accessible mobile Internet, such learning is increasingly integrated into our lives and can use a variety of memory mechanisms, including long-term ones. We will consider this issue in our material.
What Are the Types of Long-term Memory
Before understanding the benefits of m-learning, you first need to learn more about the 2 main types of long-term memory.
The first type of memory is responsible for storing general information about the world around us, not associated with a person's unique experience. When we try to remember the capital of Germany or who rules the United Kingdom, we are using semantic memory.
Verbal memory is as massive in volume as the knowledge we get, and it allows information to be stored for decades and take it using general concepts. For example, the answer to the question "Who is a lion" would be "a predatory mammal with four legs and a thick mane around its head."
This type of memory is associated with the actual experience, like a trip to the USA, a visit to the theater, or office work. To extract data from episodic memory, a person needs to remember events from the past. So, the word "lion" will be associated with a trip to the zoo or a safari. Therefore, episodic memory covers a specific context, time, and place in which certain events occurred.
In addition, episodic memory allows us to remember different stories, even if we were not directly involved in them. And thanks to emotional assessment and interest in the topic, events remain in memory with all the details.
But there is a nuance: episodic memories are gradually forgotten over time. Such fragile processes can be observed in Riley Anderson, Disney's Inside Out heroine.
Since smartphones significantly impact human life, some researchers suggest that m-learning is more about episodic memory. At the same time, classic electronic courses help to use more verbal memory.
How Does Mobile Learning Activate Episodic Memory
There are three areas in which the impact of mobile learning on episodic memory has been proven. Let's consider them in more detail:
- Practical learning allows you to remember specific information and where it can be used in the future. Thus, memories are formed, connecting new knowledge with work, emotions, and environment images. As a result, triggers appear, thanks to which the student can extract the necessary data from the episodic memory.
- The ability to get vital knowledge anywhere - e.g., on the road, at work, on the couch at home - creates a lot of memories. They link different aspects of life to the topic they are studying. It allows you to improve memorizing and using knowledge in various situations.
- Many memories associated with m-learning, over time, move into a more reliable type of long-term memory called semantic. In other words, the knowledge gained is transformed from memories into permanent knowledge. The effectiveness of this principle was once studied by Professor Martin Conway from the University of London. Together with his colleagues, he studied assimilation and memorization from an academic course in Psychology. Initial research indicated that most of the information was recalled as episodes (for example, data from the experiments of Morris, Bransford, and Franks). However, retesting a couple of months later showed that theoretical information had separated from learning memories. Moreover, it passed into semantic memory among the most successful students and was strengthened there.
All of this proves that m-learning affects episodic memory in one way or another. Information is first recorded regarding specific events, after which it is transferred to the category of general knowledge.
Prospects for Mobile Learning
At the same time, the future for this type of e-learning is more than bright. Mobile devices are so ingrained in our lives that mobility has become a top requirement among millions of students. Online learning using smartphones has enormous potential in many areas (especially foreign languages, personal growth, marketing, and IT).
More and more attention is now being paid to active learning approaches. For example, crowdsourcing is increasingly used in m-learning, which allows you to collect and visualize vast amounts of data thanks to a large army of smartphone and tablet PC users. Moreover, the use of cloud technologies will significantly facilitate the remote management of an online course and access to additional educational resources.
Many schools and universities around the world still prohibit mobile devices during classes. However, this approach will not last long because m-learning can be used for practical purposes (for example, to raise the literacy level and quickly find the necessary information).
5 Ways to Improve Your Education Courses by Using Smartphones
Mobile learning is a highly effective strategy. Therefore, it is crucial not to be angry with students for spending time on smartphones but to find ways to use them in the education process. Games, apps, and internet access are helping students improve their reading skills, explore more deeply, and share their learning experiences. It can be a milestone in the creation of adaptive learning strategies.
Here are 5 ways you can make your online courses even better:
Let Students Do Their Homework on Smartphones
As for now, students store a massive number of apps on their smartphones. Among them are often text editors or video editing programs.
Allow students to complete the assignment on a mobile device, but the finished work must be of high quality and meet all the requirements on one condition.
Therefore, online course participants are more motivated to make presentations, record videos, or create collages on their phones. And often, the result exceeds the expectations of students and teachers. As a result, high marks and pleasure from learning.
Have Students Use Telephones To Prepare for the Next Lesson
This is another way to involve students in the learning process. In one of the classes, you can say that there will be no specific homework. Instead, talk about your plans for the next lesson or the whole week, and ask students to look up initial information on smartphones or tablets. You can even create a specific chat in the messenger app to collect your students.
Of course, they will share memes and news, but at the same time, they will not forget about the primary goal of finding and discussing information for the lesson. If students have found little data, you can evaluate the quality of what has already been found.
Show Them How To Check Facts on Smartphones
The Internet is a vast repository of all kinds of data. Therefore, it can and should be used for research purposes. Let your students forget tons of dust-collecting books and start looking for unfamiliar terms and dates. Moreover, this can be done directly during the lesson (of course, with the teacher's permission).
Teach To Convert Speech to Text and Vice Versa
Teachers want students to read more and take notes, but not everyone feels confident about these questions. This is where converting speech to text and vice versa can come in handy. Many apps allow you to take notes using voice input, and this approach provides greater self-confidence among those students who are more accustomed to perceiving and reproducing information orally.
But even this approach has its drawbacks. For example, students still need to proofread the text for errors, edit it and format it to deliver the task to the teacher. But even this allows for high-quality learning through the use of adaptive methods.
Journalists and executives of large companies actively use Speech-to-text conversion. So why not take advantage of the free tools for regular students too?
Encourage the Use of Translation Software
Such tools are simply irreplaceable for those who study foreign languages. Online course instructors can improve the quality of learning and motivate students to use translation apps and mobile dictionaries. This approach has two main advantages:
- the ability to find quality materials for the lesson.
- the benefit of drawing up a strategy for working with complex texts in the future.
Let's sum up everything. Many educators believe that smartphones and learning are incompatible, as they distract from the educational process. However, mobile devices can be precious when used correctly.
Of course, as with any other technology, it needs the proper motivation for the presenters and owners of e-courses. They should discuss the issue of using smart devices with their learners.
In any case, smartphones are the main gate to the whole world of knowledge. And if used correctly, they can improve the quality of online learning.
Soon, mobile courses will continue to develop context-sensitive technologies that leverage student preferences to access the right resources at the right time.
When it comes to the impact on long-term memory, there is no doubt about the effectiveness of mobile learning. There are three main benefits of m-learning:
- The student remembers how and where they used the acquired knowledge, making it much easier to retrieve information from memory if needed.
- The ability to learn anywhere improves data retention.
- Many episodic memories form the basis of verbal memory, which is a system of general knowledge about the world around us.
We hope you find our article helpful. If you still have questions about mobile learning, leave them in the comments below. We will answer them and analyze the most interesting ones in the following materials.
When designing an e-course, it is crucial to understand that students will learn and remember the information to use in the future. The training course creator should be aware of different training technologies and use the essential principles of working with information (for example, presenting and structuring data). Meanwhile, it is imperative not to overdo your content delivery, especially if you are interested in your students' high performance. After all, if you overload students with information, they won't master the knowledge (which means they will not receive the expected benefit from online education).
Let's look at some critical aspects of content creation for online courses and understand when less is more.
Why Are Students Not Always Able To Remember What They Have Learned Previously
Lila Dawachi, director of the Center for Learning, Memory, and Emotion at NYU, said people experience coherence while learning. It is achieved by combining your content with the so-called "golden thread" - a central theme. This connecting link ensures the high assimilability of knowledge, and it helps the brain organize new information into so-called "schemas." Cognitive structures or concepts help organize and interpret information. If students are familiar with a specific concept, it will be much easier to learn new information.
If you remove the "golden thread" from your e-learning content, the brain will learn new information as separate elements. This is comparable to what popcorn looks like. New cores are scattered all over the place, making it difficult to assemble into a whole. Therefore, it is vital to use two types of schemas that help retain and recall learned information - the structure of educational content and the content itself.
The organizational structure can be different. For example, you can break an online course into separate parts. But if your task is to create a short instructional video, use three key questions:
- What should students learn?
- Why is it important?
- What needs to be done to learn?
When it comes to content, it's better to use the "less is more" method. It is much better to focus on a few critical concepts than to spread the students' attention over the many concepts that need to be learned. And don't forget about the unifying element that should connect all the pieces of educational content (for example, a specific metaphor or mnemonic device). After all, thanks to the "golden thread," students will be able to remember what they learned earlier quickly and better.
What Impacts the Learning
The two most essential aspects of mastering new knowledge are thinking and attention. Also, the success of online learning depends on executive functions (e.g., ability to make plans, set specific goals, make decisions, evaluate progress and prevent harmful actions).
Thinking depends on working (short-term) memory, which is the amount of information a student can remember at a specific moment. The volume of working memory expands at primary school age, so children are trained with tasks for mental processing of information (finding a picture that fits the meaning, oral counting, learning the alphabet, etc.)
Attention is a resource as limited as working memory, and it is tough to focus on several things simultaneously. Moreover, stress and fatigue affect the ability to retain new knowledge in working memory and concentration. Therefore, it is crucial to study the following question.
Why You Shouldn't Overload Your Students With Information
According to cognitive load theory, the human brain stores information in "schemas," which are unique structures that allow you to solve problems and think. Also, they make it possible to perceive the various elements within the lesson as a whole. As a result, schemas form our knowledge base.
For the student to successfully master the new knowledge, it is necessary to change the structure of the schema. Then a person will understand the information, process the received data in the working memory, and fix them in the long term. This allows you to build on the knowledge gained in the future and expand your competencies in many areas.
What happens if you grant learners too much information? Most likely, they will make too many mistakes and will not fully immerse themselves in the online course topic, which is called cognitive overload. Students will lose the motivation to work further and stop studying in the future.
If you don't change the structure of the cognitive schema of the students, they will not process the e-course material. Therefore, content needs to be crafted to reduce the risk of cognitive overload. This approach will also allow students to quickly and efficiently assimilate new knowledge to use it in their work.
Types of Cognitive Load
Есть три типа когнитивной нагрузки, которые напрямую влияют на онлайн обучение:
- Inner. It is considered as the level of complexity of tasks or educational material. Some topics are more complicated to understand than others. Complex tasks are more likely to cause internal cognitive overload.
- Outer. This type of load includes extraneous actions or elements that make students think (for example, complex graphs). They can be removed from the e-course without much difficulty.
- Reasonable. It allows students to concentrate on the lesson's topic and successfully enhance the knowledge base.
Any online course needs to be developed to dominate the latter type of cognitive load, as it is most effective.
How to Apply a Less Is More Approach to Online Courses
At first glance, this conjecture may seem illogical, but it determines the training courses' involvement and completeness. How do you get more value from less content?
First, stop asking yourself, "What else can you add to the course?" Instead, ask yourself the following questions:
- If students can only remember three concepts after an online course, which ones are essential? How can I explain their importance?
- How will students apply the gained knowledge in their work?
- How can I help them to learn?
- How can I distribute the workload so that students spend a minimum of time?
- Can I host online workshops to review homework and summarize the e-course?
- How can I test training videos to ensure that students effectively understand what they learn?
Research has shown that learning is assimilated better when classes are spread over time. Agree, students will like to study for 1 hour for five days, more than 2.5 hours for two days, and this approach allows the brain to structure the information it receives faster.
5 Ways to Make Online Course Easy for Students
If you want to reduce the cognitive load on your students, here are some tips!
Keep It Simple
Yes, writing short and succinctly is much more complicated than stretching one paragraph to fill the entire page or 10 minutes of video. However, short videos and texts reduce the cognitive load, and lengthy explanations consume vast amounts of short-term memory. Therefore, leave only the information that deserves attention in your online course and helps explain the topic.
According to a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, 500-word readers are the best at remembering and conveying information. At the same time, those participants who read the text without a summary at the end showed the lowest results.
Apply Different Techniques
When people know that there will be practice after theoretical knowledge, they take the learning process seriously.
One of the most popular methods is the "request method." Explain the concept to students, and then invite them to reflect on what they have learned. For example, think up and write one or two sentences using a new term.
Studies have shown that such tasks to work out the assimilated knowledge increase learning effectiveness.
Divide the Course Into Separate Parts
It is probably the easiest way to reduce student workload. In this case, they will move on to a new lesson only when they have fully mastered the material of the current lesson. This will allow learners not to overload short-term memory and fix information in the long term.
Remove Unnecessary Information
It is also vital to remove information buzz from e-learning which makes the course more complicated. This can be a complex course interface, an overloaded video design, or instructions that are difficult to understand. All extraneous details should not draw attention to themselves to not clutter up the working memory.
Therefore, it is necessary to remove irrelevant information, unnecessary visual elements and leave what is needed to work with the topic of the course. The main goal is to focus students' attention on the educational material.
Include Additional Materials
Additional materials can significantly ease short-term memory. Moreover, they can be used directly in the learning process to increase effectiveness. The most common elements used in online courses are:
- step-by-step instructions for completing complex tasks;
- detailed problem analysis as an example;
- the vocabulary of new terminology that is used during the course;
- schematic maps that show the link between individual concepts.
All of these materials can make the learning experience better for students.
Work on your cognitive load if you want to launch the most practical and effective online course. After all, if students work with a massive array of unnecessary information, they will make many mistakes and will not fully assimilate new knowledge.
If you need to add more content to your course, remember how you are preparing for a long trip. Most likely, you are not trying to fit the entire wardrobe in a suitcase but take only the most necessary things. It works the same with online learning; choose the essential elements to help students succeed.
Your listeners trust you to work on something exciting and useful for them in the near future. And if you adhere to the principle of "less is more," then your course will benefit from using scientifically proven methods of memorizing.
We hope this article was helpful to you. If you still have questions about creating content for online courses, leave them in the comments. We will answer them and analyze the most interesting ones in the following articles!
A business simulation is considered an online or offline business game based on a given topic. However, in this article, we will consider the first option since it simulates the actual internal processes of the company. An online simulation shows in detail, for example, the business model of a grocery store or metallurgical plant with tendering and two-stage production. Let's take a closer look at this concept.
What Is a Business Simulation
Business simulation is a game as close as possible to actual business conditions. It was first used by the Swedish company CELEMI in the early 1990s, after which such games quickly became popular worldwide. Moreover, over time, simulations quickly went out of business and were adopted by many universities.
So, business simulations are actively used during seminars in American institutions. Some games require such a level of training that teachers with a Ph.D. degree are involved.
In the CIS, business simulations appeared at the beginning of the 2000s. Initially, they were used by foreign companies for corporate training of employees, but very quickly, this approach was adopted by local businesses.
During the business simulation, its participants try to work with the tools based on the legend made by the presenter. By operating in "laboratory conditions," employees reduce the chance of errors in fundamental business processes.
Why Companies Use Business Simulations
There are two main reasons business simulations have become popular in corporate and academic training.
They Allow You To Assess the Knowledge of the Participants
For example, let's take a simulation of a grocery store where the user acts as a director. During the game, the participant performs tasks for analyzing the situation and setting priority tasks. After completing all the mini-games, the results are displayed on the screen. The most critical metrics are average bill, margin, write-off amount, turnover, and service level.
They Allow You To Teach Without Risks
The virtual environment allows learners to master skills that will be useful when performing real-life tasks. So, when taking part in the business simulation, students learn:
- to decide regarding business process management;
- to manage the company's employees;
- to engage strategic thinking;
- to implement specific tasks (e.g., hiring new employees);
- to develop relationships with clients and partners.
All these benefits make business simulators an excellent learning tool.
How Business Simulation Works
First, all teams can access an online panel containing data about the company (history, business direction, and financial indicators). The list of metrics includes data on cash flow, number of employees, current morale, and more. The nature of the metrics depends on the aim of the simulation - developing human resources, improving marketing strategy, financial management, and so on.
Business Simulation Rules
The main goal is to boost a virtual company following the established winning criteria and get the highest number for all metrics. The team that takes the highest place wins.
Each team starts with the same numbers. Participants also get access to the rating, where they can determine themselves from other parties and evaluate the effectiveness of all decisions.
Participants solve the tasks by a given set of parameters - the final price, the volume of goods sold or produced, the number of attracted customers, gross profit, etc. Each specific task has a deadline, before which data must be entered into the control panel. If the team loses the time to decide, access to the control panel is automatically disabled.
After the deadline, the moderator starts the simulation through a particular teacher tool.
Business Modeling Algorithm
Special software is used for business games called an algorithm. It combines the decisions of all participants and uses the data embedded in the script. For instance, if customers are sensitive to changes in the price of a specific item and all parties decide to raise prices, then market demand will fall.
The program creates new market situations automatically. The forecast is calculated according to the T+1 scheme (i.e., one year ahead from the moment of making the decision). After that, a simulation starts, which all participants in the game can access. Based on the findings, they track the effects of earlier decisions and do new tasks.
Business simulation works according to the following algorithm:
- Teams receive data for starting metrics, competitor information, and end goals in the dashboard. The participants then begin a brainstorming session to discuss the strategy and action plan. They can also seek help from teachers.
- Participants turn the strategy into ready-made solutions, considering the specified indicators (prices, the number of goods sold, gross profit, etc.). and the game's goals. The team must make and commit decisions before the end of the deadline.
- When the deadline expires, the system locks access to the control panel and starts the simulation.
- Teams gain access again, analyze the simulation results, and begin another brainstorming session.
In general, each game has 3 to 7 rounds of simulation.
How Students Learn by Practicing
One of the main benefits of business simulators is practical skills training and theory development.
First, teams use loads of data about clients, employees, price sensitivity, and many more. This is necessary for the decisions made to meet the target audience's needs. For instance, if the audience is technologically sensitive, investment in research and development will stimulate demand for the product.
Second, participants must develop an analytical view of competitors. After all, it is quite possible that competitors better understand the target audience's needs and make a better offer. Therefore, the dashboard also reflects the performance of other teams, which helps to correct decisions.
Pros and Cons of Business Simulations
Online games like this have many advantages:
- A low level of resistance from teams. During the business simulation, participants independently conclude and gain valuable practical experience. It can be transferred to actual business processes and improved.
- The participants in the game can see the internal processes from different angles. They also learn to consider not one factor but a whole system that affects decision-making.
- Employees of different departments and different levels of training can participate in the simulation. This allows the exchange of experience and improved communication between departments.
- Using a virtual environment reduces risks to zero. The reason is simple: mistakes don't affect real business. Teams can use a variety of tactics, track the results of decisions made, and draw conclusions quickly.
- Business simulators collect user data that can help identify knowledge gaps in participants. In addition to studying the information received, some games provide complete recommendations for further development.
- The business simulator engages users as much as possible in the game process and motivates them to complete practical training. The point is that business simulations are unique and developed individually for each company. It allows you to fully imitate the familiar corporate environment, where employees can benefit. This is why the motivation grows.
However, such games also have disadvantages:
- Developing a full-fledged business simulation requires more time and money than classic online courses.
The game scenario affects the cost of the project and the timing of the work. To do this, you need to research the client's tasks, the customer company, and its business processes. The data obtained becomes the basis for future simulation.
After that, as the primary information was prepared, it is necessary to draw up a technical requirement. It needs to specify the business simulator's target audience and a list of skills for assessment or development. Also, technical restrictions are indicated in terms of reference (for example, supported devices for running the business game).
When ToRs are ready, you need to develop the game's concept. A separate document must contain the following data:
- main screens of the simulator;
- testing mechanics;
- criteria for accessing the participants' progress;
- game mechanics;
- main game cycle;
- main training cycle;
- user engagement tools.
The final stage of work is the implementation of the project. Here you need to correctly estimate the timing of the work, write the code, develop the design and prepare texts for the simulator. To create a top-notch business game, you need a large team of specialists and several months of work (taking into account all rounds of approval).
2. The Simulator Is Not Suitable for All Types of Business
Business simulation is an excellent solution for a large company that constantly trains new and experienced employees. As for small businesses, it is better to use other formats. For example, online courses on an educational platform. It is pretty easy to create them because a convenient course builder and great branding opportunities come at the business owner's service. This is why you can launch the first module in just 30 minutes.
Who Can Use Simulators For Business Games
These tools are used in training programs in large companies, universities, business schools, and special programs for training executives (for example, EMBA).
The main benefit of business simulators is the high level of interaction between the participants. Each team wants to learn more about the simulation's logic and the target audience and find a way to win! This is where curiosity meets the desire to overtake competitors. It allows one to get valuable knowledge of business management methods. Plus, all participants have fun when developing a virtual company.
When conducting the brainstorming session, moderators answer the teams' questions and help them explain their own decision. Another person is also involved in business games - a facilitator, and its task is to guide the participants towards the correct solution through leading and sometimes entirely surprising questions. As a result, employee training depends on the employees themselves.
In addition to the practical part, moderators can conduct theoretical sessions after each simulation round. This allows for a clear connection between simulation and the overall training program. During classes, the teacher can show videos or give theoretical material related to the context of the business simulator and lead discussions about the decisions made.
Each player learns from their own experience, which positively affects the assimilation of knowledge. Moreover, participants gain a much more valuable skill - analyzing customer data, evaluating products, and positioning the business. These things are vital for a company that seeks to gain and maintain a leading position in the market.
Another strength of business modeling is flexibility. The experts recommend using a 2-hour block to discuss and make decisions for each simulation round. But this is not necessary because decisions can be made at any time during the day. Some businesses organize sessions once a week, while others - several times a day. Here everyone can establish their own rules of the game.
We hope you found our article helpful. If you have any questions regarding the development and running of business simulations, leave them in the comments below this material. We will answer them and analyze the most interesting ones in the following articles!
Digital content plays a huge role in online learning now. Over the many years in the e-learning sphere, it has become even more perfect, colorful, and adapted for different screens (PCs, smartphones, tablets). Moreover, full-fledged educational platforms have significantly improved the user experience when taking online courses and the availability of e-learning. This has dramatically influenced the definition and genre diversity of educational content.
Multimedia is one of the most powerful tools for engaging students in online courses. It helps keep students interested and motivated and can also be a valuable way to provide extra information or clarification. Therefore, such content can help make online courses more fun and exciting.
Let's look at the top techniques for using multimedia content in online courses that optimize learning efficiency and make courses visually appealing.
Why Include Multimedia in Your Online Course
It is not surprising that multimedia elements are one of the main types of content in online learning. They allow you to familiarize learners with the material in full detail and immerse them in the educational process. Moreover, a person perceives 95% of the information presented in an engaging format (for comparison, the percentage of memorizing information from a text is 10%).
For example, different types of content are most effective when used for the following purposes:
- To create a model of behavioral or interpersonal skills.
- To show good and bad examples of performing tasks.
- To highlight the importance of a particular concept or point of view.
- When more engagement is needed than pictures or text can provide.
Most of all, interest is caused by interactive elements that reach the audience directly. It allows the student to turn from a passive listener into an active participant in the educational process.
How To Choose Content for an E-course
Millions of people worldwide have access to a wide variety of media tools. They not only increase engagement but also make e-learning courses more effective. Creators of training videos and seminars can add different types of visuals - from Motion Design to interactive presentations. Beautiful and engaging elements can be outstanding if you adhere to specific rules. Let's consider the main rules for selecting multimedia content for e-courses.
Use the Total Potential of Multimedia To Maximize Student Engagement
Diversity plays a vital role in getting new knowledge. Therefore, be sure to choose several types of multimedia elements at once for your online course, and this allows a wide variety of student needs to be met.
For example, those who perceive information better through hearing will significantly benefit from audio recordings (e.g., lectures and background music). At the same time, visual lovers will appreciate interactive games and videos in which you have to answer the lecturer's questions by choosing the correct answer. However, don't overdo it with the selection of components. After all, multimedia materials should follow the main content, improve the perception of information, and not become a top point of the program.
Thus, educational platforms offer convenient tools for working with multimedia. You can easily add images, video, and audio to training modules.
Choose Relevant Images That Are Not Copyrighted
Images that represent learning material or relate to the topic of an online course also play a significant role. High-quality pictures can interest students and make modules visually attractive.
When looking for new images, you should pay attention to those not protected by copyright. In this case, you will not be faced with the need to pay royalties.
It is also worth noting that learning modules shouldn't be too cluttered with images. Otherwise, students will be distracted from the lesson material. Pay attention to images that reflect the essence of the material. For example, you can add photos of sales areas in interactive scenarios, increasing learning and making the e-course more valuable.
Popular services, Depositphotos and Shutterstock, often provide stock images. However, high-quality photos are also available on free photo websites (like Pixabay or Unsplash).
Offer Photos To Explain Difficult Points
If you need to present a rather complex topic, offer photos to illustrate the lesson's material. For example, you can show diagrams about algorithms of internal computing processes or a drawing of a specific mechanism. If you cannot use full-fledged images, translate them into another visual representation (diagram or flowchart) or create a text description.
In terms of usage rights requirements, be sure to use non-copyright photos. In this case, you will not face legal problems and the need to pay royalties.
Use Videos for Lectures, Training, and Seminars
No online course is fun without videos. Video tutorials with a remote teacher and even a course author will be a great addition to your e-course. Students will be more interested in seeing a living person than constantly changing pictures and diagrams. Therefore, such content will benefit both listeners and the owner of the educational platform.
By integrating video into online training, you can:
- get immediate feedback on how much you engage students in the learning process and keep their attention;
- better evaluate whether they have learned the information or not;
- follow the lesson immediately if they have trouble understanding any part of your material.
It is best to conduct video tutorials in real-time. Moreover, they can also be saved to a recording for later use. For example, you can create a short introduction video and use it repeatedly to attract new listeners.
Further, you can make videos more interesting and interactive thanks to new technologies. They increase student engagement and course completion rates.
Make Educational Content Easier To Read With Slideshows
Slideshows have been used for decades in classical education. Therefore, they quickly found their place in online courses in more advanced and exciting forms. Slideshows allow you to integrate quite a few interesting elements without distracting students. As a result, you will receive an interactive course that will relieve students of cognitive overload. The reason is quite simple: the listener can fully understand the material on one slide before moving on to the next.
Use Sound To Offer More Interactive Experience
Like visuals, sound plays a huge role in eLearning creation. Audio recordings of lessons or even background music increase the interactivity and attractiveness of e-learning. Thus, students find themselves more involved in the learning process, especially for background sounds related to the lesson material and sound scenarios.
Of course, such content should be of high quality. So it's better to spare your money for professional voice recording. Also, look out for background music on free sites (e.g., Bensound, MixKit, SoundCloud) where thousands of excellent quality tracks are available. Another good place to look for music scores is the YouTube Audio Library.
However, don't use audio recordings throughout the entire lesson. So, students get tired over time and become distracted from the lesson. Plus, you probably don't want to retell all of the material orally.
Integrate AR, VR, Simulation, and Gamification
New technologies make life easier for ordinary people and owners of educational platforms. Augmented reality, 3D and 4D graphics, and VR technology make learning more exciting and fun. In addition, e-learning creators are increasingly focusing on game mechanics, rating systems, and multimedia content modeling.
All of these approaches make learning a fun adventure where people learn as they play and play as they learn. In addition, innovative methods ensure that students are fully engaged in the learning process and retain them for as long as possible.
Consider Technical Limitations When Integrating Multimedia Content
Another vital factor to consider when using multimedia content is technical limitations and student requirements. Here is a list of questions to be answered:
- Will students take the course separately, or will they be trained on the job?
- What is the level of technical training of the target audience? Will students be able to work correctly with multimedia elements?
After answering these questions, you can add pictures, video, and sound per the requirements of the educational platform and students. This is why the high-quality functionality of the e-learning platform will allow you to adapt the content to the needs of students.
What Is the Recommended Duration of Multimedia Content
Online course creators always try to make learning as exciting and fun as possible. Therefore, they are increasingly exploring the potential of multimedia in e-learning. There are several key points regarding the length of the content.
- Almost all designers and methodologists agree that short training modules are more popular and effective. The reason is simple: the trainees are motivated to complete the training. Therefore, the optimal duration of a video course is from 15 to 30 minutes. This number is based on the results of the psychological research of students.
- There is also an opinion that it is necessary to use several interactive materials simultaneously for more excellent attractiveness in an electronic course. Interactive charts, videos, tests, and assignments have the highest engagement rates. In addition, it is necessary to answer the questions "What do the students need to know?" and "What is the best and most effective way to explain the topic of the course?"
Therefore, breaking a 45-minute video into two 30-minute training modules is much easier. At the same time, it is crucial to correctly divide the video into segments that attract the most attention and provide deep immersion in the topic of the e-course. This will allow students to draw the correct conclusions.
As you can see, there are significant benefits to using multimedia content in online learning. It allows you to expand the functionality and increase the value of knowledge, and multimedia can also boost course completion and student engagement rates.
Whichever media you choose in your course, be sure to provide students with easy access to them. One way to do this is to place the multimedia resources in a separate location so that students don't have to search for them every time they want to revisit the material. You also need to decide what type of content is best for your material. You can easily integrate multimedia with your online courses with these nuances in mind.
We hope this article was helpful to you. If you still have questions about integrating multimedia in e-learning, leave them in the comments below. We will definitely answer them, and we will consider the most interesting ones in our following articles!
The cost of creating an electronic course depends on its complexity. If the project is simple, then $1,000 will be enough for it. But if you need a full-scale course with graphics and complex gamification, then such a product will cost dozens of thousands. In any case, it takes a little time to understand your needs and accurately calculate the costs of developing an online course. Let's look at the aspects to look out for when planning a budget.
What Things To Consider at the Very Beginning
First of all, you need to answer four sets of questions:
- What is the target audience of the online course? Are you creating lessons for beginners or skilled learners? Do these people know the subject? What will be new for them in your course?
- Why should they take online training? What problems will the electronic course solve?
- What are the primary purpose and key benefits of the course? What should listeners learn, and how will it improve their lives in the future?
- How to understand that the business has achieved its goals? What instruments will be used to measure this?
The answers will help you determine if you need to use interactive elements, game mechanics, professional voiceover, and animation in the course. By formulating a more precise course objective, you can better identify the resources needed and choose the course type.
There are three main types of online courses:
- Informational. These are traditional courses with slides. Their main goal is to deliver specific information to students. Moreover, it's suitable for online courses that require a lot of theory. In this case, you don't need to add some interactivity and gamification. It's much more critical to take some time to prepare the text and graphics of the class.
- Motivational. Their purpose is to induce specific actions. For example, a person has significant problems with time planning, and an urgent project needs to be completed by the end of the week. Motivational courses use both theoretical and practical lessons. Therefore, it's necessary to develop various games and tests for students.
- Training videos. In this case, we are talking about full-fledged training of specific skills. An online training course has a minimum of theory and a maximum of practice. Ideally, it should have a clear plot with a specific story. It will entertain the audience as much as possible.
Once you have decided on the type of course, you will better understand the scope of your online learning experience. After that, you can start planning your budget. If you chose a developer from your team, you could use the following formula for calculating:
(Cost per hour of developer's work) * (Overall time spent in hours) + (Cost per hour of work of an expert) * (Overall time spent in hours) = Cost of developing an online course
However, if you have conceived a complex project or don't have time to complete it, you will have to turn to freelancers for help. In this article, we will analyze every detail of e-learning development and estimate the cost of the work of professionals. We use data on prices from the Tagline digital agency (for the Russian market) and the Upwork freelancing platform (abroad).
Online learning development consists of four stages: scriptwriting, design creation, page making, and testing. Let's consider each level in more detail.
It's an essential part of the development of motivational courses as well as pieces of training. A well-crafted course makes it easier to cover complex topics and excites listeners.
In this case, you don't need the script if your task is to deliver a cold theory. For example, a short microlearning video covers one topic in 8-10 minutes. Therefore, thinking over the characters is not needed.
In e-learning, a particular specialist is responsible for creating a script - a methodologist. He is competent in developing a curriculum and puts teaching elements and principles of pedagogical design in the plot. The reason is simple: the plot should be fun and useful.
The work of a scriptwriter-methodologist from the CIS will cost at least 30,000 rubles. For this money, you will receive a script for a short online course that meets all the methodological recommendations.
A foreign specialist with Upwork will ask for at least $50 per hour of work. Therefore, a simple script with a linear plot, which will be written in 20 hours, will cost from $1000.
How To Save Money on the Script
The first option is to create the script independently or just find suitable material on the course subject. The less time a methodologist spends collecting data and writing a script, the more money will be saved.
You can also use ready-made content as a learning base (e.g., articles, videos, presentations, etc.). Complex tutorials will also be helpful, but they have to be adjusted to suit your course's needs. Therefore, in this case, you won't be able to get a discount.
A freelance designer from the CIS takes about 1800 rubles per hour of work, and a similar specialist from the United States will require a payment of $ 40 per hour. It will take about five hours to design pages or slides according to corporate style — pictures, text, and infographics.
You also need to pay due attention to the characters and locations accompanying students throughout the course, and it takes 3-5 days to draw them.
In general, the minimum budget for a designer from the CIS is 30 thousand rubles (or $1000 for a freelancer from Upwork).
Therefore, it's better to get an expensive design for materials that should form a positive opinion about the company offering online training.
How To Save Money on the Design
There are hundreds of eLearning templates available on the internet. Often, you can find free samples on the Dribbble and Behance platforms.
The templates for presentations are available on the official page of Microsoft and aggregator websites (PoweredTemplates, Slidesgo, SlidesMania, and others).
In addition, educational platforms offer comprehensive solutions for creating online course designs. A convenient constructor holds hundreds of styles, icons, and photos to create a top-notch design for online training.
Often, designers don't just send the rendered images but also make the pages or slides independently. So, the layout designer sets up navigation, adds buttons for navigating between pages, an interactive menu (if necessary), and practical tasks (for example, quizzes, games, etc.).
For an hour of work, a layout designer from the CIS asks for about 2,000 rubles. The short course with a final test of 25 questions in the last lesson will take about 5 hours of work. Total: 2,000*5 = 10,000 rubles is the minimum amount you need to spend on the layout of the electronic course.
Now let's calculate the budget for the Upwork layout designer. The minimum rate is $60. Therefore, a short course with a final test will be typeset in 5 hours and cost 60*5 = $300.
However, this number can be higher if it's necessary to create a simulation of computer programs, interactive simulators for sales managers, or a full-fledged multi-level game. Such activities require more time to develop. In this case, the hourly rate of a layout designer with programming skills will be higher - from 3,500 rubles (or $80/h for a specialist with Upwork).
How To Save Money on the Page Making
It's a great idea to develop a universal template for creating new e-courses in the future. It will save money for the further development of online learning and maintain the same style of all materials.
The final step of work is the pilot launch of the online course. It's a kind of rehearsal for a full-fledged start of the educational business. For testing, a small group of students is selected. At the end of the training, they leave feedback on possible mistakes and improve the course. The best way to do this is filling a questionnaire, which consists of five points:
- Tips for improving the course. How convenient is the educational platform? What features need to be added or changed?
- The usefulness of the e-course. What new knowledge and skills did you gain after completing the course? What information will be most useful in the future?
- Illustrations and photos. Does the graphics help you learn the topic faster?
- Content presentation logic. How is the teaching material presented consistently? Are there grammatical errors and other faults?
- Practical tasks. Here students describe their experience in solving tests, and for example, how well the assignments correspond to actual work experience.
As for the budget, its minimum amount is 20 thousand rubles (or $500 for a QA specialist from the US). Moreover, this money is not for testing itself but for correcting possible errors.
Example of Calculating the Cost of the Course
To do this, we will choose an average 1-hour soft-skills course (about 70 presentation slides). It's necessary to involve to work:
- methodologist (total time - 90 hours)
- designer (total time - 90 hours)
- developer (total time - 50 hours)
- QA tester (total time - 20 hours)
- manager (total time - 70 hours)
The total time spent on the development, editing, and approval of the project is 320 hours.
This is an example of calculating the course cost for freelancers from Russian and American freelancing platforms. The average rate for a specialist from the CIS is 1600 rubles per hour and $45 for a US-based freelancer:
If you want to add more interactive elements to your course, you should consider the additional development costs:
Narrator's work from 600 rubles for 1 minute of reading (from $100 for Upwork)
Voiceover helps make the course more lively, and the students will understand the topic of the course faster. Also, the translation of the text into audio format relieves the learning a little. You can save money if you do the voiceover dubbing of the lessons yourself.
Shooting a video - from 3000 rubles (from $150 for Upwork)
The videos help explain some of the complex aspects and processes. They are mandatory when teaching design, programming, or project management.
The average price for an operator from the CIS starts from 1800 rubles per hour ($50 for a US-based specialist). After that, you get high-quality footage (Full HD or 4K). Next, you need to involve an editor who will create a full-fledged video with effects. An hour of work for this specialist will cost at least 1200 rubles, and a similar editor from the United States will ask for $50.
Motion Design - from 18,000 rubles (from $1,500 for Upwork)
Motion Design is creating animated graphics and visual effects. It uses three channels of information perception at once - picture, text, and sound. Therefore, students will be able to work with the material more straightforwardly.
Visual effects are often used in image courses (for example, introductory classes on a broad topic or materials on working with specific products).
As for the price, one minute of finished animation will cost $600.
You can also add other options to your expenses (e.g., professional photography and translation services into foreign languages). Remember: all features need to meet your business demands.
Checklist: How Not To Overpay for the Course
- Provide the specialist with the complete source pack before starting work. Then the expert will estimate the volume of work correctly and name the final cost of services.
- Organize all materials. It will reduce the time spent by the methodologists who develop the script for your future course.
- Set clear goals and objectives for e-learning. It will reduce the number of edits along the way.
- Coordinate the staff who will agree on the course. Ideally, your employees should see each other's revisions and submit all comments in one document.
We hope you found our article helpful. If you have any questions about calculating the budget of the e-course, leave them in the comments below. We will be happy to answer them. See you in the following articles!