What makes a good ending? Here are three ways to create an effective elearning ending

How do you close out an elearning program? An ending can’t be a simple thank you page. Instead, it should be memorable and give learners a recap or provide some next steps. In this article, Li Whybrow explores three ways you can create a more effective ending.

good elearning ending

In the words of Stephen Covey: begin with an end in mind. In terms of elearning design, that means having a direction that guides the structure of your course. Having a clear end in mind can help you visualize an overview of the course before you even begin. Developing a script or storyboard provides a framework for the beginning, the middle and the end of your course, it creates a clear pathway for your learners. Very much like a story. Being clear about your objectives and the outcomes to be achieved will drive your ending.

Let’s look at three ways you can create an effective ending:

1. Set a ‘real world’ challenge

If your elearning has included a scenario or case study, try to bring it to a conclusion with a ‘real’ problem for the learners to solve. This can be done in a multiple-choice format. You can position the results in relation to the original learning goal, using the final screen to recap on the original goal and to report on how well the learner has done.

Here’s a quick example to show you what I mean:

1_reflect_on_original_goals

Another effective technique is to end your elearning course with a call to action. Design activities that learners can do offline using the information and skills they’ve taken from the course. Encourage them to apply these skills in their everyday work or function.

Here’s a good example of a call to action:

3_comparison and social links

Key points to remember:

  • If the elearning course has involved systems training, invite the learners to move on to apply what they’ve practiced using the real system.
  • Include a ‘next steps’ or ‘to do’ list that learners can download, work on and take with them. This could involve a template for a personal development plan, or for SMART goals.
  • Create a screen summarizing key learning points, possibly from a scenario or case study, and ask learners to draw parallels with their own context. For example, invite them to rank points in order of relevance to their own role. This will help them to reflect on key learning points and this will improve retention.
  • End with a task that reinforces the key learning points and rewards learners with personalized feedback and possibly lets them compare their results with others’. For example, by using a poll or quiz screen, you can design a task like the one shown below. Including a ‘share this’ function can also cement engagement by allowing learners to share their results and see how others performed.

2. Personalize the learning

Everything is more memorable if it relates directly to you and your personal context. The same is true of elearning courses. At the start of a course, it’s a good idea to let learners choose their own pathways through the material, especially if the course is aimed at a range of learners where not all of the content is relevant to everyone. The same principle is true for good endings. Consider designing the end of your course so that it speaks to the individual.

For example, if your course contains an assessment or quiz, the summary screen could show the learner’s score and provide some advice about next steps. Are there more topics they should revisit if they scored low on certain questions, or is there a way to improve their score and retry the assessment?

I particularly like this example below that provides a link to a take-away summary document. This gives the learner something tangible that recognizes his or her achievement.

4_recap

Key points to remember:

  • Design courses that are personalized to individual learners.
  • Let users choose their pathways so they can focus on learning what is relevant to them.
  • Provide a personalized takeaway document that highlights scores and key points the learner needs to work on.

3. Link to further support and/or resources

An elearning module is often part of a blended learning experience. The end of a module is a great opportunity to point to further learning opportunities and to encourage the learner to act on what they have learned. Think of the final screen as a launch pad to go and do something else.

The example course below demonstrates how you can present personalized results, using badges to indicate the tasks or topics that this learner has completed successfully. I also like how the final screen links to further learning resources.

2_recap and resources

Key points to remember:

  • Provide a link to post-course information.
  • Point learners to additional resources such as job aids, links to helpful websites, or a list of key contacts.
  • Give learners any follow-up information, for example, if a certificate is available.

Final thoughts

Every good story needs a good ending. Your elearning program is no different. Good endings offer a resolution, provide a reward, and stand out from the crowd.

  • A good resolution makes the learner feel like they’ve completed the journey. You can go back to your course objectives and summarize how the journey has achieved these.
  • A reward gives your learners a pat on the back and feedback on how they’ve done. This may come in the form of a certificate or badge, and advice be accompanied by some next steps and how to continue improving.
  • A memorable elearning program stands out by being creative. The last screen should break the mold and do something different like this fun example.

Try something different like this fun example:

gangster ending

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