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How we use novelty to make eLearning engaging and memorable

Learner motivation and long term information retention are two of the fundamentals of eLearning.

One key factor our instructional designers consider to ensure learners stay motivated and that information is transferred from short term to long term memory is novelty.

Research shows that novel experiences have an increased effect on the brain compared to familiar experiences, making them far more memorable.

Take for example your morning commute to work. How many times have you arrived with no memory whatsoever of the journey?

Yet, if something unusual happened one day – like being bought a coffee by a stranger – you would definitely remember it.


This is because the novelty of the experience causes the brain to produce more dopamine – the signal that it’s time to start paying attention!

If we gave our full attention to everything little thing we encountered daily, we’d be overwhelmed, so this process allows the brain to decide what is worthy of our extra consideration and energy.

Other effects of dopamine release in novel situations include motivating people to seek new, potentially rewarding stimulus, and an increased capacity for creating new connections between neurons – which is what happens when information is committed to long term memory.

When we apply this knowledge to eLearning, creating novel experiences is essential for motivating and engaging learners.

How we create novel eLearning

When designing eLearning, we break down courses into short sections, each with a unique subject, look and feel, and ending with an assessment.

As well as testing knowledge, this also gives us the chance to say “well done!” to the learner.

In other words, the learner experiences a novel environment, and is rewarded for their endeavour – so is motivated to continue learning.

Adapt benefits

We now use the Adapt Framework to produce the fully responsive, beautifully designed off-the-shelf eLearning courses which make up our eLearning suites, and are in the process of redesigning our entire portfolio.

There are immediate benefits: refreshed courses all have brand new designs and content, and fully updated learning outcomes. There are also plenty of other advantages from using Adapt to create motivating and memorable eLearning.

  • Since Adapt courses are multi-device compatible, learners can access them in new environments – no more sitting in a stuffy office, trying to concentrate.
  • Adapt courses are built with modular, fully customisable elements, allowing us to randomise questions, change elements such as text, graphics or video, rearrange content, and add brand new modules. Keeping content fresh has never been easier.
  • Adapt enables us to make more diverse, novel and memorable eLearning experiences for your learners.

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