Introductions and Recaps in E-Learning – Making them Effective
Introductions and recaps should be a part of almost all e-learning courses. Sometimes they are forgotten about while at other times they are not given the attention they deserve.
The fact is, introductions and recaps don’t just bookend your main content, and they are not superficial. Instead, they are important parts of your e-learning course for a range of reasons. They help to improve knowledge retention, for example, and they can increase levels of learner satisfaction.
Overall, introductions and recaps help you achieve your training goals.
What is an Introduction in E-Learning and What Should You Include?
An introduction screen comes immediately before the main content begins. This is often straight after the title screen.
The purpose of an introduction is to set up the e-learning course for the learner. It should explain to the learner what the course is about and what they can expect from it.
It should also explain what you expect from the learner in terms of completing the course. This includes the commitment required and the estimated time it will take to complete the course.
The introduction should also include details of what you expect from the learner once they finish the course, i.e. the improvements you expect, the increased level of knowledge you want the learner to achieve, or the behaviour changes you want to occur.
It is also beneficial to outline the benefits of completing the course (for the learner) as well as the reasons for creating the course (for the business). This gives the learner a more rounded view of why they are going through the training.
What Are Recaps in E-Learning and What Should You Include?
Recaps come at the end of your e-learning course. They usually slot in after the main content is but before the start of the course quiz.
Just like with introductions, recaps have several goals and objectives:
- To summarise the content covered in the course and refresh the learner’s memory
- Improve knowledge retention
- Give the learner directions or advice on what to do next
- Explains what is now expected of the learner and why/how they should put the new knowledge into action
The latter is an important point as the best e-learning course recaps turn the end of an e-learning course into the start of a journey for the learner. With this in mind, including a call to action for the learner can be very effective.
Finally, you can use the e-learning course recap section to recommend to the learner the next steps they should take as well as additional reading you recommend so they can go deeper into the topic areas covered.
Tips for Creating Introductions and Recaps in E-Learning
- Think quality rather than quantity – the introduction and recap sections of your e-learning course are not about teaching the learner something new. Instead, you should do this in the main body of the e-learning course. The main aim of introductions and recaps is to facilitate and improve the learner experience. So, you need quality content, not lots of detail.
- Write conversationally – you should present written text in introduction and recap sections in a similar style and tone to the style and tone that a classroom-based trainer would use, i.e. friendly, warm, conversational, and informal.
- Use different forms of media – videos, interesting graphics, and other forms of media can be effective alternatives or enhancements to text in e-learning introductions and recaps.
- Make them interactive – another alternative to standard text is to make your introduction and recap sections interactive. Getting the learner involved always enhances engagement.
- Make them easy to read – the quickest way to put a learner off an e-learning course is to have large blocks of difficult to read text in the introduction. A recap screen presented in a similar way will likely result in the learner skipping through to the quiz without reading the recap, defeating the purpose of having it. So, make introductions and recaps easy to read with concise and short sentences, bullet point lists, and brief paragraphs.
- Lead into your quiz questions – your introduction should naturally flow into the first main content section of the e-learning course without too much effort. The flow from a recap section to a quiz is not as natural, however, so you will need to make sure there is a connection.
- Be positive – stay 100 percent upbeat, positive, and motivational with the text, images, videos, and other content in your introduction and recap sections.
- Keep recaps in-line with your objectives – finally, make sure the content of recap sections is in-line with the learning and business objectives of the course. This will ensure you finish the course in a way that is as positive as possible.
Optimising Introductions and Recap Sections in E-Learning Courses
The main message here is that introductions and recaps should not simply be thrown together as quickly as possible once all the “main” sections are complete. At Capytech, we’ve seen e-learning courses where it is apparent this is what happened, and they are worse for it.
If you spend time optimising introductions and recaps, you will improve your e-learning course which, in turn, will help to improve return on investment.