Today’s designers often find themselves doing more with less. If you’re like me, there are never enough hours in the day to cross everything off of my to-do list. Save yourself time in the e-learning content creation process and take advantage of these three “Must-Haves” to quickly add one of the most important ingredients to your e-learning courseware: learner engagement.


Here’s how you can spice up your e-learning courseware and bring your course to life with three simple must-haves for adding engagement.


Visuals with video

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is priceless. Adding video is an easy way to ensure that learners are actually getting a feel for the key material. Video is also a practical way to communicate significant learning points and procedures for visual learners. It is helpful to provide both written and visual instruction to ensure that content is reaching the broadest audience possible, while hammering home key takeaways.


Depending on your corporate culture, you may want your video to have a more professional feel, or you may want to keep things casual. Whether you enlist the help of videographers or take it upon yourself with a handheld camera, video helps bring both essential information and people to life, while keeping things interesting for learners.


Interact with the course and fellow learners


Read, click, repeat learning is boring. More importantly, it is rarely effective. Keep learners on their toes by using fun, exciting elements that complement the course materials. Many types of e-learning authoring tools make it easy for developers to add simple elements for interactivity among learners to courses.


Depending on your software of choice, you might consider including Flash animations, characters and avatars, games, or social learning opportunities.



  • Flash animation. When you hear the word “interaction,” Flash is likely the element that comes to mind. Building Flash requires some programming knowledge, but there are plenty of options readily available for those who do not know how to code, including free templates you can find on the Internet. Flash animation can provide the kick you need to bring your content to life.
  • Characters. Whether your e-learning software includes a character gallery or you take advantage of stock images from the internet, adding a character to your title can enforce the theme of your presentation, reflect your audience, or simply add a touch of fun. You can even have characters appear at certain times in your title. For example, if you want to encourage a user to learn more, you could have them click on a button to make your character appear with the additional information.
  • Games. Who doesn’t love a good game? According to Ladan Nikravan’s article, “Games Create Learning Through Competition” from Chief Learning Officer, “Games transform learning into a more engaging and collaborative process, enhancing employees’ work performance and driving business results.” Some e-learning authoring tools come pre-equipped with handy, enticing games to help learners understand key objectives. Or, you can create your own games by doing a little research and setting them up within your e-learning software. Whatever the case may be, games are a hot item to include in your training.
  • Social learning. Interactivity is not only about learners interacting with course content, it’s about learners interacting with other learners. Encourage users to participate on company discussion boards, blogs, and so forth to chat about the course objectives, suggestions they may have, or anything else that may support learning retention or build community. Provide a prompt and direct them to the social platform of your choosing.


Social interaction is an important aspect of e-learning because it helps learners build Personal Learning Networks, which can be invaluable to their professional development. As David Kelly notes in his blog post Filtering: A Challenge and Responsibility for Learning Professionals on The Learning Circuits Blog, “Personal Learning Networks are, in many ways, both the past and the future of how people will learn.”


Another simple idea to keep in mind is to keep your navigation and menu open for learners to explore the course, revisit material as necessary and to give them some control. Adding interactive navigation, buttons, and transition can be a great way to boost interactions among learners.  

Graphics with “insightful” gusto


Move away from page-turning presentations and embrace the bold. Using graphics can give courses a jolt of life, while maintaining your organization’s brand, without requiring a lot of extra development effort. A great time to plan out the theme of your presentation, and subsequently the graphics required, is in the storyboarding stage of development. Storyboarding helps developers by providing a visual outline of a course, detailing the information and elements required for each page. At this time, the design and development team can determine the theme of the presentation and the types of graphics desired.


Indeed, dynamic graphics—both interactive and eye-catching—can go a long way when building e-learning courses. Graphics can be set up to display information, zoom in on certain points of an image, or illustrate a point within types of e-learning software. Not only are graphics a functional part of a project, they are an essential “must-have” for great e-learning courses.  


Get cooking


While these must-haves are by no means all encompassing, these ingredients can help provide quick and effective ways to propel your content to the next level and engage your audience by leveraging simple elements. For maximum effectiveness, consider the culture of your organization and the types of e-learning elements that you can incorporate into your courses while staying true to the brand of the company. What kind of engaging content will you create with these must haves for e-learning in mind?