Learning design brings out a concrete structure to the content that needs to be shared with the audience. Designing courses for rapid eLearning development is no different. You still need to analyze audience profiles, resources and deployment methods before designing. However, since you need to develop courses rapidly, you might have to club a few actions and do things simultaneously. Here are the 7 Cs that serve as a guideline to design courses as a part of rapid eLearning development.
Course Objectives: You first need to determine the course objectives. What is the course trying to achieve? Is it an information-based course or a performance-based course? What is the specific skill or knowledge that needs to be passed on to learners? The design pattern you will follow will depend on the objective of the course. For information-based courses, there may not be any immediate application of the learning and you might find it adequate to have simple navigation and design techniques for the course. However, if the course objective has a direct affect on the performance of learners you might have to include more simulations, interactivities and assessments in the course.
Content of the course: The second important step is to analyze the content of the course. You will need to analyze this along with the course objectives and chunk the content. Based on whether it is a soft-skills training, product knowledge training or compliance training, you need to plan the level of interactivities that best suits the course requirement.
Check learners’ profile: Understanding learners’ profile is an important step in course development. You need to understand learners’ current knowledge, their profile, work environment, preferences and their learning environment. This will help you to design courses that have immediate relevance to them. One of the primary factors that course developers need to keep in mind is that the course is focused on attaining the learning objective.
Context of learning: As an eLearning development expert, you also need to understand the context in which the learning has been initiated. Is the course a part of new product launch or is it to create awareness about a new regulation? You also need to consider the time and budget available for the development of the course. These form the basis for selecting the ideal tool and the interactivity elements that can be incorporated.
Choose the tool: Based on the information that you have gathered, you will be able to decide on the best authoring tool or tools to be used. Sometimes, you might have to use more than one authoring tool. You might use Lectora as the main authoring tool but you may also choose to include flash elements to make the course more enriching. However, for a straightforward information-based regulatory compliance course, you might prefer to use Articulate. The choice of the authoring tool will depend on the content of the course and the development time available.
Confirm learning outcomes: Before deploying the course to learners, it is important to seek feedback about the course. Key stakeholders such as project managers and subject matter experts can help you to iron out any loose ends that may be there in the course. It also gives you a firsthand feedback about the learning outcome.
Circulate: Once the course receives final approval, it can be sent for deployment either by hosting on LMS or through company portals. It is not just sufficient for you to develop the courses but you also need to make efforts to ensure that information about the course has reached prospective learners. A course can be successful only when it has been taken by all target learners.
While the first 4 Cs i.e. the course objective, content, checking learners’ profile and context of learning needs to be assessed simultaneously, the next two i.e. choice of the tool and evaluation will follow an iterative process until desired outcome is reached followed by circulation or deployment of the eLearning course.