A good design is a symbol of smart decisions. Whenever you design an eLearning course, you need to start with a clear depiction in mind on how the course should be developed. By adopting a well thought-out learning sequence, we can develop an efficient eLearning course.
This approach works well for all the learners who are new to the subject as well as for the experts who just need a quick explanation on a particular concept. Here are 6 simple steps that every eLearning developer follows to develop an outstanding course.
1. A good introduction sets the stage
First 30 seconds of learning decides the tone for the course. So designing the screens for this step must be done carefully so as to get the learners mentally and emotionally prepared to learn and get engaged in the course. This can be done by
- Asking questions
- Using case studies
- Creating a scenario
- Adding icebreaker activities
- Making them to do something
2. Set direction by framing appropriate course objectives
Course objectives or learning objectives are the foundations that set the direction of the course. They explain the purpose of the course. So, setting effective learning objectives is the next step towards course development. Such learning objectives should
- Specify performance
- Be simple and brief
- Be attainable and realistic
- Communicate its purpose
3. Decide an appropriate strategy depending upon the content
After setting up the course objectives, the next step is to decide an appropriate instructional strategy to present the content. This can be decided based on the nature of the content and purpose of the course. According to Ruth Colvin Clark, content is categorized into five types – facts, concepts, processes, procedures and principles. Let’s see each one of them in brief and how they can be taught.
|Summary of Learning Strategies for Content Types|
|Content Types||Definition||How to Teach|
|Facts||A fact is a unique, one-of-a-kind type of information that must be individually memorized to be known.||Statements, Tables, Diagrams, and Lists
Use facts in conjunction with their job tasks
|Concepts||A concept is a mental representation or prototype of objects or ideas.||Provide examples, non-examples and analogies
Identify the valid examples
|Processes||Processes may be defined as descriptions of how things work.||Include need-to-know and nice-to-know information
Animation and video
Recall process / Solve a problem
|Procedures||Procedure is a series of clearly defined steps that results in the achievement of a routine job task.||Use Step by Step “Watch” animation or simulation
Design hands-on-practice opportunities
|Principles||A principle is a cause-and-effect relationship that results in a predictable outcome.||Scenario-based learning,
Problem-centered case study
Provide challenging work assignment
It is important to study your content, and decide to which category it belongs. Once you know the content type of the course, you can then proceed with the content presentation.
4. Content presentation
Content presentation is the heart of all eLearning courses. If we find something captivating and interesting, we take additional efforts to study and retain information for the long term. Thus to present the content in a most memorable and appealing way,
- Use appropriate images, animations, graphics
- Have interactivity every three to four screens
- Present small bits of information onscreen
5. Demonstrate and put into practice
The next step is all about putting knowledge into practice. Provide support to the learners by explaining the concepts through examples, case studies, etc. Try to establish link between the key concepts, processes, theory. For this try to
- Use examples and case studies wherever possible
- Use interactive assessments to check learners’ understanding and their application of learning.
This section includes recapitulating the lesson by listing the main points. Framing the summary accurately aids learners to get a complete essence of the course. It facilitates learners to endure learning. Thus, the main points should be framed in such a way that it should be both attainable and appealing to the learners by
- Using interactivities
- Making uniform to learning objectives
- Presenting content in a simple way
Try to follow these six steps while designing an eLearning course and also use your own creativity so that you will be able to deliver an eye-catching course and provide a consistent learning experience.