Three learning development steps you should never skip

If you’ve been in the eLearning world for even a short period of time, I’m sure your brain is already going a mile a minute looking at today’s blog topic. I’m sure you’ve got a hundred things running through your mind, the short-cuts and steps you’ve jumped, knowing it’s wrong, but sometimes you do it anyway.

So, I’ve put a few examples together of what some sure-fire ways might be to get called on the proverbial carpet for something you did (or didn’t do) on your eLearning development project. And just to be perfectly clear, “getting called on the carpet” is not a good thing!


Getting agreement/sign-off from your client

Nothing says “re-work” faster than assuming that all you need from your client is their content file (Word, PPT, etc.) in order for you to work your eLearning development magic and deliver a product they’d have to be insane not to fall in love with right on the spot.

“Er, well no, boss of me, I didn’t exactly ask if they already had a colour palette or style guide in place. And I really thought they’d enjoy the comic clip art images. Their website looked so dull and… corporate. Seemed like they could use a break from all that. What? How many hours have I spent on this so far…?” You get the picture.

So please, before you even lift a finger to reach for that storyboard to play around with your design, do your homework first. Put it all down in a design document, project plan, wireframe, storyboard, Statement of Work, back of a napkin… whatever is needed (maybe even all of them) and get your client to sign-off in advance… You’ll be so glad you did.


Testing in the production environment/LMS before roll out

No, sorry; just because there were ‘no errors’ in the upload facility doesn’t mean your module is going to run without any issues.

Remember “Murphy’s Law”. It will probably be the CEO who has the Firefox browser that you didn’t bother testing. Or maybe the link to the corporate policy you included was just changed yesterday, and along with that came a new filename. And what about testing for the completion status to be updated on the LMS? Did you set the right criteria?

I’m used to uploading in a test site, testing, and getting sign off, re-uploading in the production region, then testing and getting sign-off again. And yes, depending on how long it takes to get those sign offs, it could literally add a couple weeks or more to your project timeline. But after a few rollouts gone bad (maybe even just one would do it), you’re sure to be in the ‘better safe than sorry’ camp, don’t you think?


Identify – and revisit – course goals and objectives

I know this is a given, but sometimes you just want to dive right in and start designing the content, the look and feel, etc., which, of course, are all valid things to do… in their right time!

However, without established learning objectives your module could end up being a series of incongruous bits of information that leave the learner wondering, “What exactly was the purpose of this training, and what was I supposed to get out of this?” Besides, you want to make sure you’ll be able to measure and report on the effectiveness of your module.


So, there you have it, the three steps I think you should never miss out when developing digital learning. Do you have other steps you think must be in every development process? Let me know @hannahomniplex on twitter – I’d love to know your thoughts!