The content for any eLearning courses is generally provided by the Subject Matter Expert. These inputs generally lack a proper structure. As an Instructional Designer, it is our job to make sense out of the given content.
As we all know, content comprehension is an understanding of the content “in your words to take in the meaning”. To achieve this content comprehension, it is ideal to create eLearning courses that are performance based, where the learner will be able to perform the action after the completion of the course.
Here is a recommended process for content comprehension.
1. Gather all the inputs in one location
There may be many times when you get the content in bits and pieces. These may be word documents, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, or existing courses.
In addition, emails and phone recordings of the client can also be a valuable source of information for the course development. To make our work easier, it is always better to keep all the inputs in the same location.
2. Survey each document
In whatever format the input may be, the important thing to do is to survey the content. A thorough analysis of the content is required before you start storyboarding. Content analysis will help state the learning outcome clearly. This type of content analysis is also useful as different types of content require different learning strategies. By doing a thorough analysis, you will be able to identify the gaps in the content.
3. Set broad learning objectives
A broad learning objective is the main goal of the entire course. By setting a broad learning objective, you can choose the content selectively according to the objective set.
4. Use the active reading method on selected document
After a one-glance reading, you need to do some active reading. Understanding and evaluating the content with reference to your needs can be defined as active reading. Active reading is reading the content with a determination to understand and evaluate it for your relevance to your needs. By doing this, you keep your mind self-motivated, which will assist you in exploring and getting new ideas.
5. Research on the Internet/library to understand unknown words and concepts
While analyzing the content we may come across many new words and concepts. It is not necessary that we have to know them all. When you come across such words, immediately do some research and check on the Internet. If there is a library, check whether your understanding of the word or concept is correct. This will also help you in deciding the instructional strategy of how to present the content in an interactive manner to the learner.
6. Summarize your understanding
Once you are done with reading the content, try to make a summary of the entire content. This will help you in understanding what exactly the content says or is about.
7. Give presentation to the peers in the form of a course outline; revise the outline if necessary
The final step in this process would be preparing a PowerPoint presentation of your understanding of the content and presenting it to your peers. You can include what you understood from the content and what you did not. You can also include any queries that you wish to mention to the client. This presentation can also include the steps of how you want to present a particular content.
These are some steps to comprehend content and make your eLearning course more understandable to the learners. If you have any ideas, do share them with us.