Powerful ways to simplify the elearning design process

Now, I must start this blog with a caveat, there is no quick fix to simplify the elearning design process. I don’t have an elusive ‘magic bullet’ that is going to suddenly transport us to some tropical isle, sipping a cocktail, while effortlessly cranking out elearning modules with awe-inspiring speed and accuracy.

But there are some things that can make your life easier while developing elearning modules. Here are three things I think might simplify your elearning development process.


1. Practice

P is for Practice… and Play.

To simplify the elearning design process, you must practice elearning design! In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers* he says that the key to success in any field is to practice a task for a total of 10,000 hours… So, what are you waiting for, start practicing creating those buttons! But seriously, take the time to really get to know the tool(s) you are working in. Play around! And if you have more than one product, try to create the same module using those different products… if only to see how much you can push the functionality in each to get them as close as possible to one another.

*There’s a really cool summary video of this book on YouTube here, if you’ve got 8 minutes to watch it!


2. Analyse

I don’t necessarily mean a formal analysis, just stand back and look at the process objectively. How did *you* learn to do that task? What did it take for that barista to make your Double Tall Cappuccino, Extra Dry? Better yet, what did it take for you to order it “correctly?” Ultimately, we want to produce the most effective product for our learners to… learn! So, put yourself in their shoes, and don’t over-engineer or use every feature available in the tool just because you can. The ‘impress me’ factor diminishes exponentially with every page viewed. So, keep your elearning design as simple as it can be, while maximizing effectiveness.


3. Templates

Finally, Templates (and Styles) … use them!

Why create something from scratch if you can save an hour or two by tweaking what you already have? Many of the tools we use daily allow you to save and name things like font styles and colours. If you have something you like that works, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with reusing it. It’s actually best practice for consistency, at least within the same module.


So, OK, perhaps none of these are earth-shattering or even new elearning design suggestions, but can you honestly say you employ them consistently? Is there room for improvement? I don’t know, but the way I see it you still have 9,999 more hours to go!