James has developed a wonderful online course that is highly engaging and interactive. It has well-formulated learning objectives and is media rich. He’d expected this eLearning program to be a phenomenal success except for one but very important reason – the content is not linked to the learning outcomes.
The oversight of this highly significant aspect has resulted in James’ time and effort along with the resources of his organization not bearing fruit.
So, how do you avoid making the mistake committed by James and prepare learning content that “aligns” to the learning outcomes? You can develop highly effective content that is in sync with the learning outcomes of the online course, by first developing assessments that align with these outcomes. You can then use these assessments as a basis to create the learning content. This is because you.
Know what to test
Many a time, instructional designers (IDs) focus on creating the content once they have clear learning objectives and put the development of the assessments on the backburner. This forces them to fit the assessments within the ambit of the content. A major advantage of reversing this general trend and creating assessments first is that it helps you know what you need to test. You need not spend a lot of time on writing content in between the formulation of learning objectives and testing them because it is easier to come up with questions that are directly linked to learning outcomes.
Are not lost in developing ‘nice-to know content’
Another advantage of developing assessments first is that you get clarity about the topics that the learning content needs to cover. Once you have developed assessments that “match” the learning outcomes, it becomes easy to identify the topics that are necessary to complete these assessments successfully. This goes a long way in segregating the ‘must know’ and ‘nice to know’ aspects of the learning content.
Developing assessments before creating the learning content helps you understand what to assess. It ensures that you are not wasting your time and efforts developing content that does not help achieve the learning outcomes. Thus, it facilitates creation of highly effectual learning content. What do you think?