The Rapid Elearning Blog

boring e-learning

One of the top questions about e-learning is how to make boring course content more engaging and interactive. Considering the state of many e-learning courses, it’s a good question. But I’m not sure it’s the right question.

Is Course Content Boring?

I’m not sure the issue is that the content itself is boring as much as the content is meaningless and irrelevant to what the person needs. 

I do a lot of small home projects. Not being the most skilled, I spend a lot of time watching videos and reading articles online to learn what I need to do. As can be expected, the quality of the content varies. However, I don’t view the content as boring.

There is a lot of content not tailored to my specific needs. But that’s OK. I can quickly move on from that. I’m not locked into another twenty minutes of something that is completely meaningless.

What is a Boring Course?

There are boring courses. Much of it is regulatory or compliance training. We’re not going to get rid of it. It’s unavoidable in the world of e-learning. It’s not that the content itself is boring. Instead, it’s a bunch of information mostly disconnected from the learner’s world. 

Another source of boring content is that the course learning objectives are framed around the delivery of the content and not the actions related to it. We present a lot of information, but we don’t show how to apply the information in any meaningful way.

At the crux of it all is that the course content is irrelevant to the learner’s day or job. Thus, it’s meaningless.

I don’t have a job where I’m getting bribed. Yet I’m taking ethics training on not getting bribed. Boring! Put me in a job where I get bribed and then give me training to convince me it’s not worth it. 🙂

How to Avoid Boring Content?

Learning is complex and not just about information. Watching a presentation or e-learning course is just one part of the it. It’s the food we consume. But somewhere in the process it needs to be digested, converted to energy, and used.

In a typical day, people are engaged in all sorts activities. They interact with others and make decisions. A good course considers the real-world application of the content. 

How does the course content impact the interactions with other people? How does the content impact decision-making?

Build the course content in a context that addresses those things. Instead of pushing information without context, craft interactions that simulate real-world decision-making where the content is framed in a meaningful context.

Do that and you won’t have boring courses.


Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

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13 responses to “Help! My E-Learning Course is Boring.”

October 6th, 2020

This is perfect for sharing with SMEs and content teams. I’m sharing this and, more importantly, discussing the implications of it with every team I work with to design E-learning. Thank you, Tom!
p.s. love Dr. Strangecourse

October 6th, 2020


This is a great article. As a new eLearning Manager for a medical society, I’ve started working with MDs who serve as SMEs for CE. I’ve noticed in my short time working and observing current projects that they create the course outlines, objectives, etc, but they don’t use them as a map for what to include in the course. As a result, it seems the audience and the original goal of the course gets lost and it ends up being boring.