This article is a light-hearted take on how to ensure course failure. So, have a read, and make sure you don’t implement any of the ideas listed.

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Plenty has been written about how to ensure course success, and nary a word about failure. So, here it is for you, the ultimate guide to failure on your next project. I recommend that you try to implement at least a few of these tips, and if possible, you should do all.

  1. When someone comes to you asking for an e-learning course, jump right in and develop the course. Don’t waste time asking silly questions about the audience and the goal. The client came to you for a course, right? Give them a course. Fast!
  2. You want learners to be awe-inspired. Impressed. Dazzled. So, make sure to add attractive visuals. Concept art, stock photos, cartoons, GIFs, clip art. And, if you can throw in some 3D there too, why not? You want your learners to look at your course the same way you look at… ice cream! (Now, I didn’t make up that line by myself. Someone else did. Smart guy.)
  3. Do you want learners to sit idle? No! So make your course really interactive. Like, really, really interactive. Some choices include clickable hotspots, drag and drops, interactive timelines, and click and reveals.
  4. Add gamification. Points, badges, leaderboards… don’t worry about whether they fit with the content… basically go berserk. Excitement guaranteed.
  5. You want to include plenty of fun activities as well… jeopardy, hangman, snakes and ladders, trivia quizzes are some go-to options. Don’t forget theme-based activities too. For instance, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. After all, more fun equals more learning.
  6. Add instructions for navigation at every point. Next, Previous, Glossary, Index, even the individual interactions. You don’t want the learners to get lost trying to navigate through the content.
  7. Are you using narration in the course? You should. And you should make it narrate every word on screen. It’s good for learning. It’s even better if you record the narration with a synthetic voice from your computer. Who has the money to pay a real voiceover professional?
  8. Make sure to include everything your SME gives you. If the SME thinks it’s important, it must be. You have no business questioning it.
  9. Lock the navigation. Absolutely. Lock. It. Down. Learners shouldn’t be able to click Next, or any other button on screen, until they’ve finished hearing all the voiceover. If possible, freeze the screen as well, so they can’t open any other applications. Actually, a better idea would be to lock down the learner, but that may not be legal. So be sure to check local laws before proceeding.
  10. Finally, add some simple assessment questions. True or False is a great question type. Don’t bother adding challenging questions. You don’t want learners to feel frustrated.

So, that was a light-hearted take on the things you can do to ensure a perfect fiasco in your next project. I hope you didn’t take it seriously.

On a more sober note, if you do want to get serious about creating a learning solution that leaves a positive impact, that is, if you want your solution to succeed, you want to check out the Serious E-Learning Manifesto, designed by the fine folks at the Internet Time Alliance. And, you should connect with them / follow their work too.

Written by Srividya Kumar, Co-Founder @ Learnnovators

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