Just as the blueprint plays an important role during the construction of a house, an effective outline plays a prominent role during the development of an eLearning course. An outline gives a complete essence of the course. In this blog, I would like to share my experience and some suggestions to prepare an outline for your course.
Select between the top-down and bottom-up approaches
As an instructional designer, the first task while developing an outline is selecting between the top-down and bottom-up approaches. The top-down approach calls for the developmentof a considerable part of the outline during the content analysis phase itself. As a result, you stick to this outline and develop the course accordingly.
On the other hand, the bottom-up approach involves creating just a skeleton of an outline and gradually filling the remaining outline as we proceed with the other phases of the course development. This approach is usually followed when you don’t have enough knowledge about the subject. Here, the outline is filled throughout the storyboarding process.
Refer trade books and competitors’ courses
In order to ensure quality-oriented teaching through your eLearning courses, you need to organize your topics properly. Although you take up a project, where you possess no preliminary knowledge of the subject, you should gather the background knowledge about the project as soon as possible. Also, you should refer trade books and your competitors’ courses. This enables you to develop an appropriate course outline which is learner-centric.
Rename and reorganize
Never ever repurpose someone’s content exactly. Instead, when you want to use someone else’scontent; start renaming the part which you borrow from them. However, in this process, you need to be very careful to maintain grammatical parallelism in your course outlines. On the other hand, a course outline should be organized in such a way that it makes sense to you and your learners.Whenever you borrow the content from other sources, you need to reorganize the outline to fill the gaps, if any.
Personalize your outline
The last step, while developing the outline, is personalization. There should not be any clue that you have included the content from sources. At the end, you need to finalize and personalize your content. If you are using a bottom-up approach, there is no need to work too much on the outline as you will just create a skeleton of it at the beginning. But, if you follow the top-down approach, you need to personalize your outline as you proceed further with the content creation process.
After anoutline has been developed, ensure that the entire outline has been sequenced logically. These are some of the best practices you need to follow, while developing your outline. Please do share your thoughts and opinions on the same.