“Keep in mind you are not just a designer or a developer, but you are the teacher”
A common mistake in the development of eLearning storyboards is that the content is “dumped” as it is into the PowerPoint interface, without having an idea of what the subject is and what the learning objectives are. This could affect the course outcomes, resulting in learners not attaining the knowledge or skills as per the objectives. I realized the importance of content comprehension , when I was trained on content analysis. I also learnt a few tips to make content effective in an eLearning course.
What should be the questions in your mind before developing a storyboard?
Before developing a storyboard, you should always have the following questions in mind.
- Do I know the subject?
- Am I aware of what I am supposed to do?
- Is the theme or strategy relevant to the content?
- What are the key points of the topic?
- Is the content in flow?
If these questions come to your mind, you will definitely start with content comprehension as you start preparing for the storyboard.
The training material that is provided by the Subject Matter Experts, is typically in the form of word documents, PDF files, or existing courses. Here are a few tips on effective content comprehension and best practices for developing eLearning course design.
Overview of the content
The first thing that you need to do after receiving the content is to glance through it to understand the subject-matter. Simultaneously, you need to research the topic to get an in-depth idea of the content. Check the titles and make a note of all the important points. This will give you a clear picture of what exactly the subject is and how you can design to make learning interesting.
Once you get an idea about the topic you need to do a deep analysis. A deep analysis will help you understand and evaluate the content and get an idea on what the subject matter expert is trying to convey to the learners. By doing this, you will be able to know what is important and what is not. This will also help you to emphasize and prioritize important content that should be part of the eLearning course. It makes your job easy, as you will be able to judge the correct strategy and design for your eLearning course. In short, deep analysis ensures your course has a better learning outcome.
Finding gaps and arranging the flow
This is a big task for an instructional designer as, most of the time, the content that we receive is like bits of a jigsaw puzzle that should be identified and arranged to make an identifiable image. These bits lack flow of the content that is essential for easy comprehension. Hence it is necessary to identify the content gaps, check if the flow is appropriate and classify relevant and irrelevant content. To make the flow perfect, get all the information at one location and arrange them to make sense.
Once the flow is logical, you can zero-in on the instructional strategy, i.e. how to represent the content using various interactivities and make learning worthwhile.
By understanding the content properly, instructional designers can set sound learning objectives that can be followed with a supportive instructional design of the eLearning course. Hence, it is very important and mandatory to audit the content and understand it as “you are not just designing the course but you are teaching the learners”. To me, content comprehension paves way for a learner-centric eLearning course. What do you say? Please do share your views.