10 Characteristics of a Great Online Learning Center

February 1, 2017 Julee Ho

online learning center

An online learning center serves to train and educate a company’s most valuable assets — their employees, channel partners and customers. As anyone who has developed a training center will tell you, the number one goal of this effort is to get people utilizing training materials. However, users will not be keen to do so if the learning experience is hard to navigate or includes low-quality content. 

In the past few years, my team has helped some of the world’s most innovative brands (Uber, Shopify, Airbnb, and The Economist) with developing their online learning centers. Below you’ll find a collection of the 10 common characteristics we see our most successful customers focusing their efforts on. 

10 Characteristics of Exceptional Online Learning Centers

1. Tailors content to the target audience

Understanding your target learner persona is what differentiates a substandard online learning center from a great online learning center. The training materials should use the learner’s language and jargon, and include examples that are meaningful and relevant to them. When the content truly speaks to the learner, they’ll feel more connected to the experience and continue engaging with it.

Related reading: The On-Demand Training Framework

2. Leverages a micro-learning approach 

Training content should be formatted and delivered in a micro-learning approach. This is also known as the chunking method, where learning is divided into smaller segments. Chunking or micro-learning helps to prevent cognitive overload and delivers instruction in brief intervals. This allows learners to properly complete and absorb the material, then return later and quickly pick up where they left off. Since we tend to also have decreased attention spans, this enables learners to better process and retain information in bits and pieces. 

Related reading: Use Microlearning for External Training Programs They Won’t Forget

3. Offers easy access 

Providing easy access to the online learning center should be the focus when launching since you want to ensure your target audience can find the content. For example, you can embed the link to your learning center on the main page of your website, product, or app. Also be sure to effectively promote the content to your target audience using methods such as emails, texts, blog posts, and social media. 

Related reading: How Companies in the On-Demand Economy are Embedding Provider Training into Their Platforms

4. Delivers content in a sleek and modern UI

Standout online training centers put learners first, with clean designs that limit distractions and promote focus. Additionally, they place content at center stage so it’s easy to consume. The overall navigation should be seamless so users at any technical level can find their way around without friction. 

Related reading: Create Online Courses That Engage With These 7 Tips

5. Offers content that is practical and actionable 

Creating content that is practical and actionable makes learning more engaging and helps with knowledge transfer. Be sure to provide learners with content that focuses on these goals. This way each and every learner is able to glean real-world knowledge and skills from the content.

Free course: How to Master the Art of Training Content Creation

6. Integrates multimedia

Integrating multimedia means utilizing images, video, audio, and other content formats to keep things interesting. When planning content formats, consider the topics covered in your courses and the preferences of your learner personas. Leveraging appropriate content formats can help with comprehension, retention, and engagement. 

7. Assesses learners in a meaningful way

What is the point of the training if at the end of it the user didn’t learn anything? Online learning assessments should be conducted in the form of quizzes, tests, projects, writing assignments, games, etc. to test their knowledge post-course. The training should ask real-world questions that require learners to apply the knowledge gleaned in the courses. Testing them on what they know after the course can provide you with data and information revealing any gaps in the content. 

Related reading: Online Learning Assessment Made Easy

8. Promotes a sense of community

Having discussion boards is a way to build an online community and encourage learners to collaborate with one another. This also allows them to pose questions, find answers, and make connections with peers. 

Related reading: Putting Isolation in it’s Place - Interactivity in Self-Paced eLearning

9. Collects learner feedback

One way to continuously improve your training hub is to issue learner surveys. This shows users that you value their feedback and opinion. You can then leverage this feedback to improve your curriculum. This allows you to evaluate if the course should be structured or formatted in a different way for maximum engagement. 

10. Prioritizes flexibility 

This is done by allowing learners to access content on their own schedule, at their own pace, and on any device. Offering 24/7, cross-device access meets the demands of modern learners and ensures training is both convenient and remains a priority.

Creating a learning center which exhibits the 10 characteristics listed above enables learners to engage with actionable training when and where it’s convenient for them. Thus making their overall experience a positive one. This ensures learners will revisit your training hub time and time again.

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