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20 types of content that can be used in eLearning

You need to create an online course? Here are 20 ideas of content to include in your course.

Do you need to create an online course and you are running out of ideas about materials to include? Do you have the feeling that your course is boring or the same as many other existing courses?

When creating an eLearning course, you have the possibility to include a wide variety of content. In this article we will give you 20 content ideas that you can use to make your course more interesting.

1. Slide

Slide based courses are what most people think of when talking about eLearning. Such courses often look similar to PowerPoint presentations, are easy to create and ideal for arranging information in a style familiar to most people.

2. Photographs and images

A relevant and memorable image is a powerful didactic tool that can be used to capture the learner's attention, promote understanding of intangible phenomena, inform, diagram complex concepts, foster memory, etc. But not only that: images can be used to enhance the appearance of the course, helping to engage users more.

3. Charts and tables

Tables, diagrams and graphs help to make confusing data clearer to students and to explain complex relationships. For instance, flow charts are particularly useful to visualise a multi-step process or a series of conditional outcomes; pie charts present statistical data and percentages; vertical bar charts are useful to show changes over time or to compare different categories.

4. Infographics

If you are a regular Internet user, then you will know that infographics are very popular online. This success is due to the fact that infographics are not only extraordinarily interesting, but also provide a visually appealing way to present complex information and keep learners hooked. In other words, infographics help to enliven content. Moreover, they can be used for different purposes: showing statistics, telling a story, explaining complex analytical reports, making lists, etc.

5. Screenshots and screencasts

Screenshots and screencasts are particularly useful in courses dedicated to the use of software and applications, as they allow students to be shown the real environment in which they will have to operate. In addition, these images can be made more effective by adding text blocks and arrows to explain terms or underline relationships between various elements on the screen.

6. Guides

When learning something new, guides can be useful to gather detailed information on a particular topic. They can also be consulted after the training is complete, providing a valuable document for learners.

7. Checklists

Checklists are extremely versatile tools in eLearning. You can ensure that your learners have fully understood the course content by asking them to complete a checklist at the end of the course, or you can use them to provide learners with a list of things to do within specific procedures.

8. E-book

This type of content is a very simple and versatile way to share information such as operating procedures, step-by-step processes and manuals. The e-book is a good option if you have Word or PDF material that is underused or simply not available to learners in an easy-to-access and consumable format.

9. Glossaries

Glossaries allow you to offer your students a list of less common vocabulary used in the course, with an explanation. In addition, you can ensure that whenever a complex term or acronym appears in the course, it is linked to its definition in the glossary.

10. Articles

Articles are a good type of content to include in an online course. They can be rich in in-depth information and include links to other (online) resources or references to additional resources (print format), as well as images, graphs, tables, etc.

11. Interviews

Whether in video or text format, interviews can offer your students new points of view and make the course more dynamic.

12. Dialogues

Dialogues allow you to simulate a real-world conversation. Good dialogue simulations tend to use branching scenarios where each decision made by a user has consequences that affect the results and subsequent stages of the simulation.

13. Case studies

Examples are extremely useful from a teaching point of view and what better tool than case studies? They allow the creation of a simulation context in which students use the knowledge and skills acquired during training to 'solve the case', i.e. make correct and/or reasonable decisions.

14. Podcasts

Podcasts have become popular to the point of becoming a form of media familiar to most. They are already used in various business areas and are a convenient tool also in the field of training. They are also extremely versatile because they are mobile and available 24/7. This means that the user can listen to them at any time, even while working. Read also " How to create podcasts for online courses".

15. Role-playing games

The objective of role-playing games is to recreate, in a realistic way and in a pleasant context, a professional situation in which the user has to play a specific role. Role play therefore involves verbal and behavioural interaction between two or more participants. For example, in sales training, learners can play themselves in the role of a salesperson in order to learn how to handle customers' questions and objections.

16. Gamification

Gamification is gaining more and more popularity. Creating a fun training environment with leaderboards, badges and game-like learning modules can facilitate learning.

17. AR and VR simulations

Virtual and augmented reality are new and effective ways to give learners a real-life experience in which they can practice how best to react in certain situations. They can be used both to simulate human interactions (e.g. with customers) and to conduct practical training on the use of specific equipment or emergency management.

18. Video

Video is a format familiar to almost all users and suits the learning preferences of most learners. The success of platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo shows that people today feel more comfortable consuming content through video than through text.

In addition, video helps to make the course more interesting: moving images make for boring content. Videos give you the opportunity to present content in an engaging way, using real-life stories and scenarios.

19. Interactive videos

Technology today encourages interaction with videos by giving users the ability to click, drag, scroll and complete actions. This type of video is particularly effective in education, especially in the case of long videos that could be boring.

20. Quizzes

Quizzes are an essential component of most eLearning courses as they allow to keep track of learners' knowledge and ensure that learning objectives are met. They are also a fun and interactive way to break down the content into training modules and provide a natural break point between the main topics that will give learners a sense of progression within the course.

How and when you use quizzes will depend on the type of course you are building and whether it is formal or informal, accredited or not, and a number of other factors.

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