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10 common LMS content mistakes and how to fix them


10 common LMS content mistakes

Have you ever been excited about a new course you created, only for the analysis to show it didn’t resonate with your learners? Perhaps you’re not seeing your learners put what they’ve learned into practice. There are many reasons course content might fall flatter than expected. That’s why in this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of the common LMS content mistakes and how to fix them.

10 common LMS content mistakes

1. Not knowing your audience

Knowing your audience is more than knowing their name, age, experience, and education. It’s also about knowing what makes them tick. By taking the time to understand your audience, you can figure out what:

  • motivates your learners
  • gets them excited to learn
  • drains them and could pose a barrier to learning
  • accessibility considerations are needed.

Understanding these core areas enables you to present course content using effective strategies and tools. As we highlighted in our previous blog post, great content, at its core, should focus on your learners – check it out to learn more about putting your learner at the heart of your course.

2. Ineffective learning objectives

If you asked your learners what the point of a course was, they should be able to articulate it – and this should reflect the learning objectives you set when designing the course. As instructional designers, when you’re familiar with your organisation and the content, ensure you review the clarity of your learning objectives. Learning objectives are critical for creating an engaging and focused learning environment – they provide learners with an understanding of the value of the course.

Good learning objectives must be concise and measurable. You can use frameworks such as SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) or the ABCD Model to set yours. In general, a good rule of thumb is two to four learning objectives for every 30 minutes of eLearning.

3. Not adapting course length to the content

Where there is a lot of content to cover in a course, it can be tempting to include every element. However, this makes it hard for learners to identify the key learning points and can result in ineffective learning. Take the time to identify and trim courses to the core content - this focus should strengthen the content you’re delivering.

If you’re still struggling to trim your content back, consider looking at it with a nice-to-know filter. You can also provide links at the end for learners to choose to read versus being part of the core content if it sits in the ‘nice to know’ filter. If you’re unsure of where to start, keep asking yourself ‘What does a learner need to know on day one to be effective in this area’?

Microlearning is also a great way to maintain focus on the core topic areas. It is an LMS content methodology that succinctly covers a specific topic area and provides value in small bite-sized lessons. Learn more about microlearning versus traditional eLearning in this blog post.

4. Readability issues

Not every learner knows if they're having trouble reading content or, they may even internalise the struggle without asking for help. To support learners proactively, consider the readability and typography of fonts used in course content.

Typography covers the placement of the letters, including the gaps between them. Some font typography can also impact readability. For example, a crowded and cursive font can make it harder for those with dyslexia to read. Familiarise yourself with dyslexia-friendly fonts and improve readability for everyone.

Sentence length can also make a huge difference in readability. Try to keep sentences under 20 words. Consider rewording, condensing complex sentences, or splitting them into a few sentences.

Another readability consideration is font size. Font size can impact learners with low vision, a visual impairment, or even someone with a cracked screen. To improve readability, have a consistent text layout. For example, if your text is left-hand aligned, follow the same styling and layout for each section. Learn more about improving readability.

5. Poor navigation

Unclear navigation or structure in a course takes the learner out of their workflow and creates a frustration point. Your learner shouldn't be trying to figure out how to take a quiz, find the next page, or submit an answer. So, combat this with clear and consistent phrasing and formatting around navigational cues so navigating is intuitive. For example, 'Start quiz', 'Next question', or 'Back'. Additionally, to reduce cognitive load, ensure your course content has consistent placement of navigation links. For instance, if you establish the pattern of 'Next question' always being on the bottom right-hand side of the page.

6. Not focusing on accessibility

Each learner should have equal access to the same information. We've already touched on some aspects that improve accessibility, such as typography, sentence length, and decreasing cognitive load. But, there are plenty of other ways to easily make your content more accessible. Start by getting familiar with WCAG and ensuring the proper labels are used in HTML to be compatible with assistive technologies.

You can also consider partnering with an Accessibility Specialist if you don't have the in-house expertise to provide guidance on creating accessible content.

7. Rigid course progression

We all learn at our own pace, and there will be concepts some learners pick up faster than others. So, when a learner’s course progress is limited to a linear structure, it also limits them from being able to pause, revisit, and reflect on concepts as they build their understanding. Learners need the flexibility to review and progress content as needed - to own their learning journey.

If you're concerned about learners skipping ahead or finding the answers, incorporate assessments or quizzes – these can help learners demonstrate their understanding of key concepts before advancing.

8. Not proofing content

If your learners aren't engaging with your content, review what you have with a fresh perspective. Are there broken links or spelling mistakes? Areas where the content doesn't make sense? When there's time pressure to push content out, it can be tempting to skip a final proofread. However, when learners encounter inconsistencies or errors, it can be distracting.

When editing or creating LMS content, implement a Quality Assurance (QA) process so details aren't missed. If you don't have the resources for QA, ensure you set aside time to check links work and get someone else to review your content. When new content is added to a course, set aside time to test it before it goes live.

9. Not testing your courses

Testing your course is key to identifying common LMS content mistakes. One option is to ask a small group to complete the course without prior knowledge of your methodology. Essentially, if they can easily navigate and complete your course, you’re probably on the right track. Equally, ask them for direct feedback. Feedback will help you gain insight into where the gaps are and what is working.

There are some manual ways you can test your content before testing it on others, including:

  • check that the course works
  • review who can access the course
  • confirm the eLearning module launches
  • check the links work
  • confirm videos load correctly.

10. Always doing what you have always done

ELearning is always evolving, so it’s important to be on top of current trends, tools, and approaches to eLearning content. You don’t have to action every trend or tool to best support your learners but also don’t get stuck in tradition. Consider how you can use tools to automate your work, so you can focus on developing your content. Does your LMS have built-in AI capabilities you can utilise? Perhaps there are new LMS content types you’re unaware of. If you don’t already, take the time to read blogs from your LMS provider to be across updates.

LMS content support

When reviewing what your LMS should contain, focus on your foundations. Start small and check what the low-hanging fruit is. What could you implement in an afternoon? Once you have a few quick wins under your belt, plan out how you'll tackle larger opportunities. If you don’t have the resources to fine-tune your content, work with a proven LMS partner who can bring your content to the next level. At Catalyst, our instructional designers work alongside you to understand your learners and their needs to deliver tailored content that facilitates learner success. Contact our team today to learn more about content development for your LMS.