Designing an e-learning course is an exacting process based on SOUND LEARNING PRINCIPLES. It requires a team of professionals from multiple disciplines to do a complete job.
The process of designing and developing an e-learning course involves application of a number of principles and practices.
The three building blocks that are required for eLearning development are:
Raw material for developing e-learning is everywhere. You will have instructor led training material, on the job training handouts, presentations given by senior managers, product literatures, brochures, policy documents, process documents and so on. However, the key here is to identify eLearning friendly content.
The second most important building blocks are PEOPLE.
There are two sets of people, who together create an eLearning course.
- The subject matter experts and
- ELearning experts that is the instructional designers, visual designers and technical experts.
They need to work as a team to develop eLearning courses.
The third aspect of eLearning design and development is technology.
You need to have the right authoring tools, software for audio, video and image editing purposes and a learning management system to host the eLearning courses and manage the learning and training requirements.
Now let us look at the design and development of the eLearning course process
1. The first stage is the Analysis stage. The content given by the client fall into any of these five of these categories.
The inputs can also be a combination of two or more types. Therefore it is very important to first identify the content type. And then, based on the type of content, you decide on the presentation pattern.
2. Next is the Design stage. At this stage a learning strategy and Detailed Content Outline are prepared after analyzing the learners, the content and aligning them with the learning objectives.
3. Next stage is the Development stage. Here the storyboard gets developed. All the visual and interactive elements are finalized as per the style guide. All the elements are then placed and the Graphic User Interface (GUI) is finalized. After this, a prototype is prepared for approval by the client or stakeholder. Once the approval is obtained, it is sent for final production.
4. In this Production stage, course developer will start developing screens as per the visualization description given on the storyboard using the rapid authoring tool selected (like Articulate, Lectora, captivate).
Here you see to the left the input that was provided to us by our client. On the right is the screen shot of the eLearning course we developed for our client, according to the learning design principles.
Once the final eLearning course is developed, it will be submitted to the end-user. Before submitting, SCORM compliance testing needs to be done in order to resolve technical issues, if any and then the course is uploaded on LMS.
Good e-learning design and development is not a one-man show. It needs a diverse team of highly specialized professionals. Please do share your thoughts!