18 Steps to Designing an Engaging eLearning Course
1) Plan an eLearning Design That Suits Your Needs
It’s always recommended to start with a broad outlook of a topic and carefully narrow it down to the minutes. Following this process allows you to break a big topic into smaller sections and create content for each individually. When it comes to understanding the topic, it’s best to have a subject matter expert (SME) on hand to assist your eLearning developer. Then you progress to understanding the minutes that make an eLearning course interesting. Start by thinking about how to include interactivity into the training. Is there scope for introducing mobile learning? Will learners access the training via their computers (CBT) or is it web browser-based (WBT)?
Assess your LMS and decide if it’s going to support the training you want to build. If not, assess more modern LMS platforms.
Research is very important to the success of your eLearning design process. Think about eLearning design as the roadmap needed to start the design and development process much before executing any other action.
2) Bring in the Instructional Designer
Ok, so it’s time to bring in the instructional designer. A good instructional designer knows about your learning audience and their needs. If they aren’t too sure about what your learners are looking for, let them start by analyzing your learners’ needs like what type of learner experience is best suited for your company.
Your instructional designer is responsible for determining the scope of content that needs to be converted into an eLearning course. They’ll determine how your eLearning will meet the employees’ development goals.
3) Time to Design the eLearning Course Objectives
It’s in this step that the SME once again assesses all the knowledge that your employees already have. This assessment aims to identify skill gaps that must be filled, leading to the creation of the course outline. It’s here that a detailed design document is finally presented to the learning facilitators or the L&D which demonstrates learning interactions, themes, activities, and navigation.
4) Create a Prototype or Proof of Concept (POC)
A POC is integral to giving your learning facilitators a quick overview of how the course will actually look and perform once completely built. A POC is an actual representation, a physical manifestation of your eLearning course akin to a demo course sample. A good POC should contain the following:
- characters the course will carry
- Partial script
- Proposed media elements
- Design, branding, colors, fonts, and more
Select a test subject group that consists of some of the actual learners this course is being built for and deploy the POC for them to engage with and complete. Record their feedback and understand the effectiveness of the demo eLearning course as it will go a long way in designing the rest of the eLearning course.
6) Storyboarding / Scriptwriting
Switch to your word document, insert a table with rows and columns, and start putting in the scenes and their supporting content in each column in order to frame a strong storyboard. You can also include elements of scenario building into your course.
Build all the media that will support your content like videos, graphics, photographs, voice over, and sound effects.
8) Produce the Courseware
Put all the pieces you have collected together and build the course. Use step 1 and 2 to go back and forth over all details.
It’s here that you finally test the outputs to ensure that all the course objectives are being covered alongside meeting the learning requirements and design guidelines. This is like taking your newly built car for its first drive.
Sometimes your newly built eLearning course may not be fully compatible with your LMS, especially if your skipped step 1 which included updating or assessing your LMS capabilities. But that should not be a problem if your LMS can be customized to meet the new requirements. Which is why your LMS should be easily customizable like our Abara LMS.
If your eLearning course is highly technical or if the person deploying the course was not included on the development team, it’s advisable to build them a user manual that helps outline all the sections entailed within the course, how to access each, troubleshooting guidelines, and more. This of it as building a user manual for a product or service.
12) Beta Review of Courseware
As the name suggest, Beta test your courseware on the LMS under the guidance of the learning administrator. Observe all aspects that are going wrong and prepare for the final changes.
Incorporate the final changes from the Beta tests and send the course to quality assurance. Testing will ensure that no typos, design bugs, or device compatibility issues arise.
If you’re a training company whose building this eLearning course for a client, it’s time to test in on their platform and servers, if not skip this step.
Based on how learners are going to access this training, this step may be important or not at all. For learners with access to an LMS, this step holds no important. For learners who may not have access to an LMS, you may want to upload the training to pen-drives and distribute them.
Your IT team will have a major role to play in this step, which also included testing for any bugs or backdoors that attackers can abuse. Ensure to keep IT security at the top of your game.
Deploy the training and observe the initial response. Remember, the game has just begin, you may have to make a few more tweaks before it’s all smooth sailing.
18) Evaluate and Measure Outcome
This course will give you valuable insights into how to build the next training course. Make sure you collect all of the data and keep it handy for your next eLearning design masterpiece.