Over the years I’ve developed hundreds of elearning modules, and in that time I’ve picked up a lot of tips that make the elearning development effective. So, in today’s blog, I thought I’d share them with you:
Tip #1: Tap into that passion
Developing content for elearning modules can be extremely satisfying and rewarding. I’m very proud whenever I finish a visually exciting and stimulating module, particularly if I know I’ve provided the learner with a valuable educational experience, one that helps grow an organisation.
Tip #2: Learn from your own learning
Looking back at my own learning experiences from school and University is a helpful reminder of what good pedagogy is. I often reflect on what taught me the most to help make developmental decisions. Conversely, some lessons at school I found to be a real bore, so I try not to repeat those boring elements in my own courses.
I want to make sure the user is engaged enough to learn and retain knowledge, which is where I use my positive reflections on education to make elearning truly interactive and valuable.
So how do I begin to develop an educationally sound piece of elearning, rapidly, efficiently and to a high standard? Well…Do you remember writing your first essay in school? What was the one thing that teachers drummed into us? Planning! A rock steady plan is the real key to successfully maximising the development process.
Tip #3: Plan
Every content developer should be working from some kind of storyboard. It helps if it’s an accurate account of what your elearning module looks like and what it’s trying to do. Be sure to add a bit of wiggle room to account for any unexpected software capability issues or user requirements. Also, while we’re discussing planning, I recommend familiarising yourself with timeframes, budget constraints and the audience’s learning styles.
Tip #4: Get organised
You can expedite the elearning content development process by being organised. Gather all the images and media elements you plan to use and identify any other resources you might need, such as colleagues to QA your work or voice over artists.
Producing a set of templates for your project is also an extremely sensible idea. I suggest creating a package that includes a title screen, an end screen, objectives, a quiz, a menu, a help screen and a re-cap. Using templates as part of the content development process ensures consistency, so your module will look smarter and will benefit the user experience even more.
Tip #5: Include feedback for learners
Make good use of both formative and summative feedback – it will break the development process up and add extra value to the finished product. Follow-up quizzes are great ways to embed the topic in the learner’s mind and to evaluate their progress.
Tip #6: Blending
Blending your online content with real world examples is a great way to cement learning in your learners minds. For example, if you’re teaching administrators about sickness absence policy, try also to demonstrate how to log sickness absence online at the same time – this could be as a software simulation, or as a step-by-step guide. It will save time and money and will create a better, longer lasting impression in the learner’s mind.
Do you have any more tips for effective elearning development? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!