It is important to have a clear-cut objective when developing eLearning courses. Often, instructional designers or developers do not get the right picture with regard to the purpose of an eLearning course. A good briefing is essential to ensure that the course outcome is as per the learning need.
So, what constitutes a good briefing? Here are some guidelines that might help your instructional designers and course developers.
- Analyze your target audience to understand what their needs are and what they expect from the course. What is their skill/competency level? How comfortable are they with computers and technology? Give this profile to the instructional designers (IDs). Then they would be able to design courses that best suit the profile of the learners.
- Be clear about the objectives. What is it that you want the learners to achieve at the end of the course? In what way would the knowledge help them improve on their current skills and abilities? This information ensures IDs do not deviate from the purpose for which the course is being developed.
- Choose the content that best meets the learning objectives. Guide the IDs to distinguish between ‘need to know’ and ‘nice to know’ content. Avoid cramming too much information into the course that is not directly relevant to the course objective. They can be made available as additional resources.
- Ensure that a good combination of learning tools in the form of audio, video, images, animations, scenarios or simulations are used to make the course engaging and interactive. Course content with too much textual content would not be effective in helping learners achieve the objective. Any images, animations, videos, illustrations that would help make the course interesting should be shared with the course development team.
- Share the delivery format for the course. How are learners going to access the course? Is it through their desktops or from their mobile devices? How are courses going to be hosted – LMS, intranet etc.? This ensures that developers use the right tool and format for course development. It may be a good idea to ask for a prototype of the course so that you can test its viability at an earlier stage. This will ensure you can work on any amendments or improvisations at an early stage.
A good brief helps to set the context for the course and enables IDs to put ideas in perspective and develop courses according to the learning objective. If you are an instructional designer, what do you expect to know before developing the storyboard of the course? What according to you constitutes a good brief? Do share your thoughts.