If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you’re at least partly convinced of the value that a well designed learning platform can bring to teaching and learning within school. We all know, however, that convincing every colleague, student and parent of this can feel like an uphill struggle at times.
At Titus Learning, we see e-learning as something which only realises its full potential when all stakeholders are engaged and involved.
With that in mind we’ve put together a few tips on how to make using a learning platform as attractive a prospect as possible, and what you can do to help overcome that initial resistance.
Keep it simple
One common barrier to usage with any new piece of software is if the users feel intimidated, confused or lost when trying to make sense of the interface. It’s important to ensure that using your new VLE is an intuitive and pleasant experience from the start.
If you’re using Moodle, you’ll be able to take advantage of the freedom to customise the user interface extensively and even present different interface designs to specific groups of users.
Make it a pleasant environment to spend time
To some extent, aesthetics and usability go hand in hand when it comes to software design. It’s certainly true that if you’re expecting staff and students to spend an appreciable amount of their time using the VLE it should be pleasant to look at, icons, text and images should be clear, and the interface should present in an adapted yet familiar way across different devices and screen sizes.
It’s worth considering using a professional theme designer to ensure your platform not only looks the part, but that the underlying structure makes life easy for the user.
Listen to your users
There’s a big difference between new users of the platform grumbling about things for the sake of it, and genuine complaints about the functionality or design.
A well designed learning platform should be fluid to some extent, evolving to meet the changing needs of the user base, and to facilitate this it’s a good idea to have a feedback system in place. This could be incorporated into the VLE itself, allowing users to submit feedback on different aspects as they explore the system.
An obvious way to encourage engagement is to recognise and reward it. There are various ways of implementing a reward system into your learning platform, for example an informal prize for the best designed course, or the most course modules completed.
You could also look at Open Badges, which are an online certification and reward system based on the principle of gamification, where users earn achievements for specific tasks or milestones which they can display on their profile page.
Even token reward systems can encourage a healthy amount of curiosity and competition among users and drive engagement, particularly in the introductory phase of adopting a new learning platform.
If you have more specific questions on improving engagement, usability or the design of your learning platform, we’d be happy to share our experience with you – no strings attached! Similarly we’d love to hear your own tips and tricks for keeping users on board with e-learning. Feel free to get in touch using the contact details here.