Consider a news article in a newspaper and the same news being presented on a news channel. Both media transfer the same content to the audience, but the way the news is written for a newspaper and the way it is presented on a news channel differ. It is because the pattern or style of presenting news in a newspaper is not suitable for delivery on screen using television medium. Similarly, the content that was designed for instructor-led training program (ILT) cannot just be transferred word for word into an online learning program; it needs to be TRANSFORMED to suit the medium, taking into consideration learner’s engagement with the eLearning platform.
Let us see how to redesign the content for online delivery:
Understand your learners
Content designed without understanding who it is for, is just like firing a bullet without any target. One of the main foci of instructional design in eLearning is individualized learning. It is not about teaching a group but teaching a group of individuals. So it is very important to know who your learners are and design the content according to their needs.
Analyze the content
Analyzing the content helps you to design the course such that it suits individual learners. You can develop a content strategy with respect to text, visuals and audio based on the type of content i.e. facts, procedures, principles, processes and concepts. Each type of content is presented with a unique type of instructional strategy. For example facts are explained through diagrams, and principles through scenario based approach and so on. Therefore, content analysis is the first step that must be taken for developing online courses.
Understand how your learners learn
Some individuals learn effectively through visuals, some by audio and some by doing a task. Accordingly, the learning styles of individuals are classified as visual, auditory and kinesthetic styles, so while designing content an instructional designer has to cater to the different learning preferences by balancing the audio, video and kinesthetic elements of the course.
Structure your content well
Structure your content in an organized and logical manner that makes it easier for learners to retain and recall the knowledge gained. For example present facts in a logical, connected and consistent way instead of presenting them in a random way .Be specific instead of being general.
These are some of the ways content is redesigned to make it suitable for an online platform. One of the main factors we should consider is that online environment needs to be more learner centric than ILT environment. Having knowledge about who the learner is helps the course designer to customize the content according to the requirements of the target audience. Merely transferring existing content to the online platform does not serve the purpose. Hence the content, which is designed to suit ILT, should be customized to suit technology led training.