Create Online Courses Using the 8 Laws of Learning

Why are some online courses more effective than others? Do you have problems getting your participants’ attention, motivating them, guiding them to discovery, or helping them achieve learning goals? Like the typical classroom setting, online courses need to engage learners in every learning experience effectively. The ultimate purpose of learning is to create a change in the learners’ lives, which is also true with eLearning.

It’s time for you to create online courses with these 8 Laws of Learning in mind.

Key Points

  • The Law of Readiness is a law that states that learning is dependent upon the learner’s willingness to act, which facilitates the strengthening of the bond between stimulus and response
  • Learning continues when practice happens.
  • Responses that produce a pleasing effect become more likely to occur again and reactions that have a discomforting effect become less likely to happen again.
  • The introduction of your course or each unit must captivate the learners’ interest right in the first sentence.
  • The conclusion part is as crucial as the introduction.
  • Even if the lessons are brief, you still need to make them substantial.
  • Employees enroll in online courses because of two reasons: extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

1. Law of Readiness

The Law of Readiness is a law which states that learning is dependent upon the learner’s willingness to act, which facilitates the strengthening of the bond between stimulus and response (Oxford).

This law can also be called the law of motivation or eagerness. You can’t force someone to learn. If one is not ready to learn, everything will turn to waste, even how excellent your preparation is. So, what do you need to do?

Motivate them. Inspire them. Entice them. Tickle their minds.

The best way to motivate adult learners is through intrinsic motivation; that’s why you need to give a short overview of how the course will help them in the long run.

It is also helpful to put key points and lesson objectives at the beginning of each course. Connect the lessons or units to something familiar with them. Also, you can activate their prior knowledge on the topic by asking relevant questions or using visuals.

2. Law of Exercise

The adage “Practice makes perfect” is also applicable in learning. That means, the more that an act is repeated, the more it is retained in one’s mind. Learning continues when practice happens (Wikipedia).

For young learners, we use drills to help them master a learning competency. However, that is not always the case for adult learners. So, there are some techniques to let adult learners respond to rote learning.

One way to incorporate the Law of Exercise in online course creation is to have the same structure for each unit to let corporate learners feel familiar. Another, provide case studies or simulations for them to exercise what they have learned.

3. Law of Effect

According to Thorndike’s Law of Effect, responses that produce a pleasing effect become more likely to occur again and reactions that have a discomforting effect become less likely to happen again.

So, how will you give your corporate learners a pleasing eLearning experience? Create online courses that cater to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Include worksheets, visuals, audios, videos, simulations, case studies, and discussions.

When having video discussions or sessions, use uplifting words and, if possible, crack jokes, make them laugh or smile. Remember, boring classes, whether online or offline, will not do you any good.

Rewards can also do the trick. Give tips at the end of each course; it can be free and downloadable copies of the lessons or printable handouts and worksheets. Everybody loves free items!

You can also use gamification for your young adult learners. They will surely love learning while going up the scoreboards.

4. Law of Primacy

First impressions last (most of the time); that’s why create a positive first impression by having an enthusiastic tone. The introduction of your course or each unit must captivate the learners’ interest right in the first sentence. Give them an overview and use attention-getting lesson titles.

Do you know that according to studies, adults can only have a 20-minute attention span? This is also the reason why TedTalks are usually 18-20 minutes long.

5. Law of Recency

The conclusion part is as crucial as the introduction. If a good introduction catches your learners’ attention and motivates them to continue with the course, a good conclusion will leave a mark in your learners’ minds.

Here are some points to consider when writing the conclusion:

  • Were the objectives met?
  • Did you put the pieces of the puzzle into one great picture?
  • Were the critical points pulled together?
  • What will the learners achieve from the course?

6. Law of Intensity

The law of intensity states that if the experience is real, the more likely that learning will take place. Moreover, a clear and exciting learning experience teaches more than a dull one.

What does this mean? You need to design an eLearning experience that keeps your learners motivated and engaged from the start to the end. Use different strategies like these 8 Laws of Learning, and don’t forget to make it learner-centered, too. Create online courses that are all about the learners – how they will enrich their knowledge and skills in the most satisfying learning experience. Use real-life experiences to create connections. The learners must see the need of each lesson to their contexts.

7. Law of Independence

According to surveys, 58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace. They want training that they can take with them whenever and wherever they like without sacrificing their productivities.

On the other hand, employees only have an average of 24 minutes per week to spend on learning.

Therefore, you need to create eLearning materials into smaller chunks of about 5-10 minutes daily. But there’s a warning sign here! Even if the lessons are brief, you still need to make them substantial.

Be sure that the learners have something new added to their vault of knowledge or skill at each chunk’s end.

8. Law of Necessity

Employees enroll in online courses because of two reasons: extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation happens when the company requires or rewards them, while intrinsic motivation occurs when the employee sees a personal need for upskilling or reskilling. Whatever the case may be, the participant must know the obligation to take the course.

Therefore, set a clear goal for the course and grow their interest with a great course teaser.

Change is the end result of all true learning. – Leo Buscaglia

These 8 Laws of Learning will help you create excellent online courses that can change everyone who enrolls. Study them; use them; innovate with them.

Welcome to EdTech Club

Instructional Design and Technology Certificate

Learn to design and implement effective learning experiences on digital platforms through an understanding of instructional design principles, technology, and application.
Advance My Career Now Audit the Program for Free

Watch: What Instructional Design is and Why We Need It?