E-learning has now become a global phenomenon. Designing an eLearning course that engages the adult learner is a challenge. Here, I would like to share a recipe for designing eLearning courses that helps you overcome the challenge.
1. Set the Learning Objectives
“If you don’t know your destination, it does not matter which way you take”. This applies to eLearning as well. To achieve the desired results, it is essential to set the right learning objectives. According to Robert Mager, a learning objective is a statement that describes what the learner will know or be able to do after the completion of the course. We need to align learning objectives, instructional design strategies and assessments to shape a good eLearning course.
As an instructional designer, it’s important to follow these steps to create effective learning objectives.
Step 1: Select the appropriate action verb.
Step 2: Specify the three main dimensions i.e. Performance, Condition, and Criterion.
Step 3: Verify the learning objective.
There are different ways of presenting learning objectives. Some of them are shown below.
Learning objectives in the form of text and images.
Learning objectives in the form of bullet points.
Learning objectives in the form of info-graphics.
2. Decide on ID Strategy
After setting learning objectives, decide on a strategy to present the content to keep learners engrossed throughout the course. An instructional designer needs to analyze the content properly and choose an appropriate instructional strategy, depending on the content. There are various instructional strategies such as logical presentation, storytelling, guided learning, scenarios, LEAD (Learning through Exploration and Discovery) and case studies.
Let’s take an example from our course in which we introduced a conversation-based scenario that explained the necessary skills and knowledge that the learners’ need to understand.
3. Set Assessments
In eLearning, while designing an eLearning course, assessments should be the core of the learning design process. Learners’ achievement of the learning outcomes can be measured with the help of assessments. Their main purpose is to reinforce learning and to evaluate the course itself. There are two types of assessments – formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments help to build the learners’ knowledge. A summative assessment is the final test to assess learning, at the end of the course.
As an instructional designer, it’s important to design the assessments depending on the answers to the following questions:
- What the learning objectives are?
- How the content is being approached?
- How the learning activities are woven into the design process?
4. Give Feedback
In eLearning, feedback is an element of reinforcement that tells your learners whether they are right or wrong. Feedback is important for a learner-centric eLearning course design. Feedback must be immediate and reinforce the knowledge.
In eLearning courses, some of the best practices of giving feedback for assessment questions are:
- Offer explanation for correct answers
- State reasons for wrong answers
- Provide links to references or resources
- Keep the learning outcomes in mind
- Make it interesting and exciting
Let’s see an example from one of our courses, where we have provided feedback for multiple select questions.
If the learner selects the correct answer, then we need offer an explanation as to why it is correct.
If the learner selects an incorrect answer, then we need to tell him why he is wrong.
If the learner selects partially correct answers, it’s better to tell them that they are partially correct rather than telling that they are wrong.
I hope this perfect recipe will help you make an effective eLearning course.
Please do share your thoughts!