Home       27 Key eLearning Content Types: Why 70% of Online Courses Fail Without Them

27 Key eLearning Content Types: Why 70% of Online Courses Fail Without Them

Discover the essential 27 eLearning content types that make or break online courses. Learn why 70% fail and how to succeed.

Creating successful online courses requires more than just transferring traditional content to a digital format; it demands a strategic use of diverse eLearning content types.

Surprisingly, 70% of online courses struggle to achieve their goals, often failing due to lackluster engagement, inadequate content organization, or not addressing various learning preferences. This article emphasizes the indispensable role of varied eLearning content types in the success of online education.

Whether you're crafting your first online course or looking to improve existing ones, this guide offers valuable insights into mixing and matching eLearning content types effectively.

Discover how to sidestep common pitfalls and unlock the potential of online education, making your course not just a statistic but a standout success.

How to Use Different eLearning Content to Make Interactive and Engaging Courses

Incorporating a variety of eLearning content types not only caters to different learning styles but also breaks the monotony, keeping learners motivated and engaged.

To create a dynamic and interactive course, mix and match different content types based on your educational goals, the nature of the material, and your audience's preferences.

Ensure each content type aligns with your learning objectives and fosters an immersive and interactive learning experience.

Best eLearning Content Types for Your Courses

1. Training Video

Training videos serve as a versatile medium, capable of demonstrating step-by-step processes, narrating stories, and depicting complex ideas in a digestible format. These videos can range from simple animated explanations to high-quality productions featuring experts and real-life scenarios. Their audio-visual nature appeals to a broader audience, accommodating different learning styles and enabling learners to see the practical application of concepts. The use of visual cues, subtitles, and narrations can enhance comprehension and cater to a global audience, making training videos a staple in eLearning environments.

2. Slide

Slides, often used in conjunction with other eLearning materials, provide a visual outline or framework of the content being taught. They can include text, images, charts, and hyperlinks to external resources, offering a structured way to absorb information. Effective slide design emphasizes key points, avoids information overload, and uses visual elements to reinforce messages. Slides can also serve as a guide for live presentations or webinars, ensuring a coherent flow of information and facilitating note-taking for learners.

3. Role-playing and Scenario-Based Learning

This interactive eLearning strategy places learners in simulated environments where they must make decisions or solve problems based on the scenarios presented. It's particularly effective in soft skills training, such as negotiation, customer service, or leadership, where learners can practice and observe the consequences of their decisions in a risk-free environment. Scenario-based learning promotes empathy and deeper understanding by allowing learners to 'walk in someone else's shoes' and see the outcomes of different actions.

4. Quizzes

Quizzes provide immediate feedback to learners, reinforcing knowledge and identifying areas that need further review. They can vary in complexity, from simple multiple-choice questions to more elaborate problem-solving exercises. Quizzes can be timed, adding an element of challenge and encouraging learners to think quickly. They also serve as valuable tools for instructors to assess the effectiveness of their teaching and identify topics that may require additional clarification.

5. Podcasts

Podcasts offer a personal and engaging way to deliver content, often featuring discussions, interviews, or narrations. They can be used to explore topics in depth, share expert insights, or provide different perspectives on a subject. Learners can access podcasts at their convenience, making them an excellent resource for continuous learning outside a formal environment. They also cater to auditory learners and offer a change of pace from text-heavy or visual content.

6. Serious Games

Serious games incorporate gaming elements into learning, engaging learners in problem-solving, strategic thinking, and application of knowledge. These games are designed with specific learning outcomes in mind, often simulating real-life scenarios where learners can experiment and observe the results of their decisions. Beyond knowledge acquisition, serious games can enhance cognitive skills, such as memory, attention, and problem-solving, making learning an enjoyable and challenging experience.

7. Interactive Whiteboards

Interactive whiteboards are dynamic tools that allow content to be manipulated, annotated, and shared in real-time, fostering a collaborative and interactive learning environment. They support a variety of media types, including text, images, videos, and interactive applications, enabling educators to present information in a multifaceted way. These whiteboards encourage participation and engagement, making them ideal for group activities, brainstorming sessions, and interactive demonstrations.

8. PDFs

PDFs offer a reliable and accessible way to distribute text-heavy content, such as articles, reports, and manuals. They maintain the original formatting, ensuring consistency across different devices and platforms. PDFs can include hyperlinks, bookmarks, and interactive elements, enhancing navigation and interactivity. They're ideal for learners who prefer reading and need a portable format that can be accessed across various devices, even without internet connectivity.

9. Infographics

Infographics distill complex information into easy-to-understand visual representations, using a combination of text, images, and data visualization. They're effective for illustrating relationships, processes, or statistics, making information more memorable and engaging. Infographics can serve as standalone learning resources or complement other eLearning materials, providing a quick reference or overview of a topic.

10. Community Boards

Community boards create a virtual space for learners to interact, share resources, ask questions, and support each other. These platforms foster a sense of community and collaboration, extending learning beyond individual study. They can be moderated by instructors or subject matter experts, ensuring that discussions remain productive and focused. Community boards are particularly effective in online and blended learning environments, where face-to-face interaction is limited.

11. Peer Review

Peer review involves learners evaluating each other's work, providing constructive feedback, and learning from their peers' insights. This process encourages critical thinking, self-reflection, and collaborative learning. It can be applied to various types of assignments, including essays, projects, and presentations. Peer review helps learners develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter and improve their communication and evaluative skills.

12. Webinars and Live Sessions

Webinars and live sessions offer real-time interaction between instructors and learners, facilitating discussions, live demonstrations, and immediate feedback. They can be recorded for later access, extending their reach beyond the live event. These sessions can include interactive elements like polls, chats, and Q&A, making them dynamic and engaging. Webinars and live sessions are particularly effective for delivering timely content, expert insights, and fostering a sense of community among learners.

13. Screencasts and Tutorial Videos

Screencasts capture on-screen activity accompanied by voice-over explanations, ideal for demonstrating software use, coding, or any computer-based task. Tutorial videos provide step-by-step instructions or guided tutorials on a wide range of topics. Both formats allow learners to pause, rewind, and review content at their own pace, making them excellent resources for self-directed learning and skill acquisition.

14. Surveys

Surveys collect feedback, opinions, and personal experiences from learners, providing valuable insights for educators and course designers. They can be used to gauge learner satisfaction, understand their preferences, and collect suggestions for improvement. Surveys can range from simple polls to detailed questionnaires, enabling a deeper understanding of the learner's experience and helping tailor future content to meet their needs.

15. Embed Softwares

Embedding software or interactive tools directly within the eLearning platform allows learners to engage with applications in a seamless and integrated manner. This approach provides hands-on experience, reinforcing learning through practice. It's particularly effective for technical or software-related training, where learners can experiment with tools in a safe, controlled environment, enhancing their practical skills and confidence.

16. Checklists

Checklists provide a clear, concise list of tasks or steps that learners need to complete, helping them organize their learning process and track progress. They can be used for project management, procedural training, or ensuring compliance with processes. Checklists offer a sense of accomplishment as learners tick off completed items, promoting motivation and ensuring that no critical steps are overlooked.

17. Case Studies

Case studies present real-world scenarios or problems, challenging learners to apply their knowledge, analyze situations, and propose solutions. They encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and the application of theoretical concepts to practical situations. Case studies can be discussed in group settings, fostering collaborative learning and exposing learners to multiple perspectives and approaches to problem-solving.

18. Reports

Reports offer an in-depth examination of a topic, providing comprehensive information, analysis, and insights. They can be based on research, data analysis, or investigative work, presenting findings in a structured and detailed manner. Reports are valuable for learners seeking to deepen their understanding of a subject, offering a thorough exploration and evidence-based conclusions.

19. GIFs

GIFs are short, looping animations or video clips that can add a visual and often humorous element to learning content. They can be used to illustrate a point, break up text-heavy content, or provide a visual summary of a concept. While not a primary educational tool, GIFs can enhance engagement, add personality to content, and aid in memory retention by associating information with visual cues.

20. Whitepapers

Whitepapers are authoritative and detailed reports focusing on a specific topic, offering solutions, best practices, or new insights. They combine research, expert opinions, and practical advice, providing a deep dive into subjects of interest. Whitepapers are valuable resources for advanced learners, professionals, or anyone seeking comprehensive knowledge and a nuanced understanding of a particular issue or field.

21. VR and AR Simulations

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) simulations offer immersive experiences that replicate real-world environments or create new, interactive scenarios. VR completely immerses users in a simulated world, while AR overlays digital information onto the real world. These technologies are particularly effective for skills training, safety drills, medical procedures, or any context where experiential learning is beneficial, providing a safe space to practice and learn from mistakes.

22. Self Review

Self-review allows learners to assess their own work, reflecting on their understanding and performance. This introspective process encourages learners to identify their strengths and areas for improvement, fostering a growth mindset and self-directed learning. It can be facilitated through structured reflection prompts, self-assessment quizzes, or journals, enabling learners to take ownership of their learning journey.

23. Dialogue Simulations

Dialogue simulations replicate conversational scenarios, allowing learners to practice communication skills in a controlled environment. These simulations can vary from text-based interactions to more advanced, voice-activated scenarios, providing feedback based on the learner's choices. They're particularly useful for language learning, customer service training, or any context where effective communication is crucial.

24. Articles

Articles provide a narrative or analytical exploration of a topic, blending factual information with insightful commentary. They can cover a wide range of subjects, from scientific research to industry trends, offering depth and context that goes beyond basic facts. Articles support critical thinking, encourage engagement with content, and can be used to introduce new concepts or provide expert perspectives.

25. Learning Path

Learning paths are curated sequences of content or activities designed to guide learners toward achieving specific learning goals or skill sets. They provide a structured approach to learning, allowing individuals to progress at their own pace and build on their knowledge incrementally. Learning paths can be tailored to different skill levels or career goals, offering a personalized learning experience that aligns with the learner's objectives and aspirations.

26. Discussion Forum

Discussion forums are tools where learners can post questions, share insights, and engage in discussions on various topics. These forums promote a sense of community, encourage knowledge sharing, and provide a space for collaborative learning. Moderation and guidance from instructors or subject matter experts can enhance the quality of discussions, ensuring that they remain focused and productive.

27. Group Submission

Group submissions involve collaborative efforts where teams of learners work together to complete and submit a project, report, presentation, or other forms of assignments. This eLearning content type encourages collaboration, communication, and the integration of diverse skills and perspectives. The process encourages each group member to contribute their unique strengths and learn from their peers, fostering a sense of community and shared responsibility. It also allows educators to assess not only the individual's understanding of the material but also their ability to work effectively in a team, critical thinking, and problem-solving in a group context.

What Type of eLearning Content Should You Choose for Different Course Styles?

Choosing the right eLearning content type depends significantly on the objectives and nature of the course.

Here's a list to help you select appropriate eLearning types based on different course categories:

Technical or Skill-Based Courses

  • Training Videos/Screencasts: Ideal for demonstrating software, tools, or technical processes.
  • Simulations: Provide hands-on experience in a controlled, virtual environment.
  • Interactive Whiteboards: Useful for problem-solving and collaborative tasks.
  • Checklists: Guide learners through step-by-step processes or troubleshooting.

Theoretical or Knowledge-Based Courses

  • Articles/PDFs: Offer in-depth exploration of theories or concepts.
  • Whitepapers/Reports: Provide authoritative and comprehensive insights on specific subjects.
  • Podcasts: Can be used for discussions or lectures on theoretical topics.
  • Infographics: Summarize key concepts and data visually for quick comprehension.

Cohort-Based Courses

  • Webinars and Live Sessions: They enable students to participate in lectures, discussions, and group activities, fostering a sense of belonging and community.
  • Peer Review: This encourages students to engage with each other's work, providing feedback and gaining insights from their peers. It's a valuable tool for promoting active learning and critical thinking within the cohort.
  • Group Projects and Collaborative Tasks: Assigning group projects or tasks encourages collaboration among cohort members, allowing them to work together, share knowledge, and develop teamwork skills.

Soft Skills Development

  • Role-playing and Scenario-Based Learning: Effective for practicing communication, leadership, or conflict resolution skills.
  • Dialogue Simulations: Allow learners to practice conversational skills in a simulated environment.
  • Webinars and Live Sessions: Facilitate real-time interaction and feedback.
  • Community Boards/Discussion Forums: Encourage discussion and exchange of ideas.

Compliance or Policy Training

  • Quizzes: Ensure understanding and retention of important regulations or policies.
  • Videos/Infographics: Provide engaging overviews of compliance requirements.
  • Case Studies: Illustrate real-world applications and implications of policies.

Language Learning

  • Dialogue Simulations/Podcasts: Great for auditory learning and practicing pronunciation.
  • Interactive Games: Engage learners in vocabulary and grammar exercises.
  • Role-playing: Helps practice conversational skills in a safe environment.

Professional Development and Leadership

  • Webinars and Live Sessions: Offer real-time interaction with experts and leaders.
  • Case Studies: Analyze leadership scenarios and decision-making.
  • Learning Paths: Structure a progression of skills and knowledge for career advancement.

Academic Courses

  • Articles/Whitepapers: Provide scholarly insights and research findings.
  • Discussion Forums: Encourage scholarly debate and discussion.
  • Webinars: Facilitate lectures and guest speaker sessions.

Onboarding and Induction Training

  • Checklists: Guide new employees through processes and protocols.
  • Training Videos: Introduce company culture and expectations.
  • Interactive Whiteboards: Facilitate collaborative introductions and team-building exercises.

Creating Interactive Courses with a Mix of Content Using Teachfloor

When it comes to creating engaging and effective eLearning content, Teachfloor offers a comprehensive solution that addresses the diverse needs of modern learners.

With its user-friendly interface, robust feature set, and extensive customization options, Teachfloor empowers educators to design interactive and immersive learning experiences that captivate learners and drive meaningful outcomes.

From multimedia-rich lessons and interactive activities to social learning tools and collaborative features, Teachfloor provides the tools and resources necessary to create dynamic eLearning content that resonates with learners and facilitates deeper understanding and retention.

Whether you're a seasoned educator or new to online course creation, Teachfloor's intuitive platform makes it easy to design and deliver high-quality eLearning content that engages, motivates, and inspires learners to succeed.


In conclusion, understanding and implementing the right mix of eLearning content types can significantly enhance the effectiveness and engagement of your online courses. Whether you're teaching technical skills, theoretical knowledge, soft skills, or any other subject, the key is to align your content choices with the course objectives and the learners' needs.

By diversifying your content types—from interactive simulations to in-depth articles, from engaging videos to dynamic discussion forums—you cater to various learning styles, maintain learner interest, and promote deeper understanding. Remember, the ultimate goal is not just to disseminate information but to create an enriching, interactive, and impactful learning experience that resonates with learners and drives their success.

As you design your courses, consider the diverse eLearning content types explored in this article and how they can best serve your educational objectives and your learners' journey toward knowledge and skill acquisition.

Further reading

Online Teaching

Quiz vs Test vs Exam: The Surprising Differences You Never Knew

Unveil the distinct roles and impacts of quizzes, tests, and exams in the educational journey. This article breaks down misconceptions and highlights how each tool shapes learning outcomes. A must-read for educators and learners seeking deeper insights.

Online Teaching

How to Create a Training Module Using Teachfloor: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a training module without guidance isn't leading you to success. This article will lead you to the right path for successful training design!

Online Teaching

7 Biggest Challenges with Online Learning (And How to Overcome Them)

Online learning conquered the world of education in the past two years. There are benefits and challenges that we should be grateful for and need to work on. Today, we will talk about the biggest challenges with online learning. Plus tips and tactics on how to overcome them.

Online Teaching

How to Start An Online Live Academy in 2024

Don’t know where & how to start your online live academy? I’ve shared the nitty-gritty aspect of launching an online academy and why you should launch it this 2024.

Online Teaching

Quick tips to presell an online course - The ultimate guide

Want to know the secrets on how to successfully presell an online course? We have you covered in this guide with quick and easy expert tips.

Online Teaching

How to Set Up a Virtual Classroom: The Ultimate Guide

A virtual classroom is no new concept. It will drive revenue of $9515.2M by 2025. It will stick even after COVID. Learn how to set it up!