At Darlo Digital, one of the questions we commonly face from our clients is “How much content do students consume?” It’s easy to understand why you need to know this. If you’re going to the effort of creating an eLearning package, you want to know the training will translate to real-life results.
Much of the current research revolving around student engagement in online courses comes from Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOCs are small learning packages provided by universities that want to extend their content to students around the world. Most notably, a study published in the British Journal of Educational Technology dug deep into this topic. The findings came from examining previously published studies and assessing the behaviours of those using MOOCs. By looking further into the results, we can answer your question about how much content your students consume.
More content is consumed when students are part of a network
All of the studies into online learning come together to produce one unsettling theory: students are more likely to drop out when they feel isolated. Whether this affects the amount of content your trainees consume depends on several factors:
- Are they part of the same workplace? Or, are multiple individuals in your workplace taking the same course? If so, the social element will help them continue with their studies enthusiastically.
- Do you provide a forum that could act as a social network? At Darlo Digital, we can help you find ways to make it easier for students to interact.
When students can discuss a training package together, they feel more engaged. Discussing a package also suggests that they’re absorbing, using, and analysing the content. Although it’s difficult to quantify how much, if it makes its way into workplace conversations, it’s likely having the desired effect.
Poor time-management can act as a barrier to content absorption
As the study into MOOCs reveals, being able to learn at a distance comes with the advantage of flexibility. However, when students don’t have anyone around the motivate them, they struggle to manage their own time. As a result, they may rush through their work. Naturally, this means they’re not absorbing as much content as they should.
How can you overcome this? Resist the urge to leave your trainees to handle a learning package alone. Create live seminars, Skype calls, and ongoing forum discussions. When they feel a sense of unity with their peers who are trying to make the most of the information they receive, they’re more likely to retain the information.
In some cases, you need to make sure trainees aren’t left behind
Another challenge to content absorption and completion is feeling alienated. While creating online forums and social networks results in discussion, some students may feel overpowered. Without intending to, the more confident members of your course participants will make less forward individuals feel unable to speak up.
If possible, designate a course leader who can spot the participants who are not engaging. If it’s the case that they’re feeling under-confident, positive feedback will help. While it isn’t always the case that not participating in forums means someone isn’t absorbing content, unhappy students aren’t motivated students. When they have the confidence to discuss opinions, the discussions that take place leave a lasting impression that aids the learning process.
Although it’s difficult to estimate just how much content your trainees will absorb, we can suggest ways to increase information retention. At Darlo Digital, we also work hard to make sure our learning platforms make all of the above achievable. To find out more, contact a member of our team to discuss your course’s needs.