In general, most eLearning courses follow the hierarchy shown below, though the nomenclature may differ from organization to organization.
It is a good practice to divide each topic into ‘Learning Units’. Let us understand what a learning unit is.
A learning unit is a stand-alone piece of learning, which can’t be divided further. It should be capable of supporting its own learning outcomes and assessments. In other words, it should be a complete learning point with all the learning elements. It can be thought of as the smallest unit of a course which can make sense and exist individually.
Structure of a learning unit
Duration of a learning unit
The duration of each learning unit can vary, based on the content being taught and the type of content. It is advisable that the duration of each learning unit does not exceed 15 minutes.
If for instance, it is a process flow diagram, it can be quite complex and lengthy explaining the various steps and sub-steps in the process, but, the explanation of a simple concept or the presentation of facts can be pretty straightforward and simple.
Presentation of a learning unit
Since each learning unit is a discrete topic, it can be presented using any of the available presentation patterns, but, we must ensure that it starts with a brief introduction or recap, rather than abruptly.
Assessments and the learning unit
It is very important to sum up each learning unit with formative assessment questions. The number and type of questions can again vary depending on the content.
Few important things to ensure at this stage:
- Ensure you select the appropriate question types to test learners
- Ensure that the assessment questions are aligned with the content covered in the learning unit
- Provide appropriate feedback for each question, so that learning is reinforced
Benefits of learning units
It is a good practice to divide content into individual learning units and focus on each of them in detail. This approach yields numerous benefits, including but not limited to the following:
- Byte-sized learning – Since learning is divided into discrete units, learners will find it easy to absorb and retain each individual piece of information.
- Ease of access – Learners will have the flexibility of accessing only those learning units they need in crunch situations or when they need to just look up a particular topic before a meeting, presentation, task, etc.
- Comprehensive learning – Since each learning unit is stand-alone with its own set of learning outcomes and assessments, each unit becomes a self-sufficient piece of learning.
I hope this blog has provided the basic knowledge regarding the role of learning units in designing effective eLearning courses. Adopt this approach and develop learner-friendly, comprehensive eLearning courses.
Have more to share about learning units? Do let us know.