We've been creating elearning modules for different grade 1-6 subjects (Math and English) for quite some time now. We've also had some kids do beta testing for us on these modules before releasing them. Based on our experience (and feedback from parents and fellow educators) - here are the top 5 things that the Minreeva Team puts into consideration when creating e/m-learning modules specifically for kids.
One of our team's greatest challenges is to turn more technical lessons (like English grammar) into modules children will actually enjoy and appreciate. Based on our experience, the key here is to make the content more "digestible" for the audience. Since we're talking about children ages 5-10, a lot of text just won't cut it. To compensate, we try to be creative as much as we can and we put more pictures instead of text. Do take note though that too many images may distract your learner - so, we try to limit each slide to 5-7 elements at the most.
2. Put interactions on every slide - if possible
Here's another rule of thumb the Minreeva Team follows, if there are very limited interactions in the module - it's time to redo the entire thing. Our rule of thumb is that there should be very limited speaking slides for the Minreeva characters (Tammy, Hope, Chelo, and Carlito), and the slides that show examples of the topic should always have an interaction in them - no matter how simple.
The advantage of eLearning over video is that elearning modules allow you to interact with the characters and the environment. If these interactions are not present in almost-every-slide, then it might be better to have the learners to watch a video on Youtube. Always remember to use the advantage of inserting interactions for your modules - elearning modules lose their purpose if you don't.
3. Make your content conversational
For corporate e-learning, it might be okay to discuss topics in a matter-of-fact manner. As for modules for kids, however, this won't be as effective. Just think of TV shows like Nickelodeon's Bubble Guppies and Dora and Friends or Disney Channel's Little Einsteins. What makes these shows so enjoyable to children? They engage the audience/learners to help the characters on their adventures. The same thing applies when creating modules for children. We need to involve the audience in the experience - have the characters talk to them, ask them questions, or guide them in finding the answers..
4. Write in a style that suits your audience
If you look at the Minreeva modules, you can actually differentiate the speaking/writing style of Grades 1-3 from Grades 4-6. The modules for Grades 1-3 have very few text. For example, a character only says a maximum of 2 short and simple sentences per speech bubble. The reason behind this is that students that fall under those grade levels are just beginning to read - and their vocabulary is quite limited.
On the other hand, modules for Grades 4-6 have a little bit more text on them, and the sentence construction is a little more complex. This is due to that fact that these grade levels can already read more complex words and sentences. One important note: we try to keep everything as simple as possible - and avoid jargon when we can.
5. Use characters, backgrounds, and images that appeal to children
Think of cartoons. Why are cartoons so appealing to children? They are appealing because of their colorful backgrounds, surreal characters, and over-the-top images. Same concept applies elearning modules for kids. Children love to see animation, interactions, and color... just don't overdo it though.
There you go! These are our five tips on how to make your elearning module more appealing to kids. If you have more to share, please let us know through the comments section below. Cheers!