All You Need to Know about developing E-learning Course

All You Need to Know about developing E-learning Course

You are an expert in your domain – C Level managers, VP Product development, VP Compliance, Director Sales & Marketing etc. You have heard a lot about how eLearning is sweeping the training industry, be it effectiveness, reach or excellent ROI. But it is still it is a nightmare as it involves technology and many things you are not aware of.

You wish to give it a try and select an eLearning outsourcing vendor. Here is an attempt to make you aware of some key terms that will help you communicate and select the vendor effectively.

Here is a story of Julie, who wishes to build 6 modules of sales curriculum. She would like to develop these modules in 2 months’ time. These courses need to be tracked, and as the audience is the sales force team, course should be instructionally rich to facilitate knowledge transfer.

Solution Overview

The modules should be linear in nature. Each module should be completed in order to take the next module. Therefore all these 6 modules will be separate SCORM packages and hosted on a Learning Management System and be capable of tracking and scoring user activity.

On an average, a module will take a typical user around 20-25 minutes to complete, including assessments. This makes it more likely that the modules will be completed in a single session. Each module will contain a short summative quiz requiring learners to attain an 80% pass threshold before being marked as complete.

The course design and build is to be highly maintainable. For example, information which is susceptible to change is not embedded within illustrated content by quarantining the elements that may be susceptible to change, so that they can be deleted, replaced or augmented as needed.

Instructional Approach

As the course is for sales people, some typical instructional approaches would be:

  • Capturing the key outcomes of the module through learning objectives
  • Introducing characters / case studies
  • The solution will aim at providing the content to users in easily digestible chunks of information to minimise overload
  • The instructional and graphic design of the modules will take account of the accessibility requirements to enable maximum participation
  • Different Learning patterns and devices like infographics, hotspots, click on tabs, animations etc. to enhance learning
  • Explaining concepts, e.g. relationships and sequences
  •  “Need-to-know” information will be shown on screen with relevant images, whereas “Nice-to-know” information (more info, examples) will be shown in popups.

Use of Audio

  • Audio will be used appropriately in scenarios, role plays, feedback (real life responses /repercussions), etc. It can also be used to represent mental processing.
  • Audio will also be used to introduce the Master as anchor for the course pages. The Master makes a brief introduction that also acts as a transition from the previous page.

Voice characteristics for the overall narration should include:

  • Male and female voices
  • Professional voices
  • Between the ages of 30 and 55
  • Some voices will be characterized as ‘typical learner-type’ so that learners can associate with them
  • Some voices will be characterized as an expert with the requisite knowledge, confidence and authority
  • Serious, yet friendly tone

Features of the modules

  • One learner guide/ PDF per module (reference etc.)
  • Modules must be completed in order (prerequisites) and successful completion of each module required before proceeding to next module
  • Assessment can only be accessed after undertaking learning
  • 3 attempts to complete each assessment
  • Upon an unsuccessful assessment attempt, learner does not have to review the content again

Module Main Menu

Functional elements included in the module menu include:

  • Exit
  • Resources
  • Help
  • Menu
  • Topic completion indicators (two states)
  • Instructional text

Content Screens

Functional elements included in a typical content page include:

  • Page counter
  • Progress bar
  • Forward/Back navigation buttons
  • Audio on/off toggle
  • Transcript button (audio content only)

Authoring Tool – Lectora Inspire

Each module will be compatible with SCORM 1.2 standards and include, by default:

  • Bookmarking – a user’s location within the course will be recorded across sessions and they will be prompted to return to their previous location, or to the main menu, upon relaunch
  • Exit – a user will be prompted to confirm their intention to exit
  • Completion reporting – the module will set so that a quiz score of 80% or greater triggers reporting of user completion.

Access to the quiz will be locked until learners have gained access to each of the preceding topics. At a screen level, progress will be disabled (i.e. the Next button) until the user has interacted with active screen content.


To complete any module, learners will be required to complete five quiz questions and attain a score of 4 or greater.

  • Learners will be provided with a maximum of three attempts.
  • A unique pool of questions will be available for each attempt.
  • After three attempts, learners will be directed to contact their manager (e.g. bank manager) for further directions.

System and Browser Compatibility

Platform/Features Desktop/Laptop iPad
OS Windows XP/Vista/7iOS 5/6
ModelNAiPad-2, iPad-3 (The New iPad)
Browsers IE 8, IE 9, IE10, IE 11 (Doesn’t support XP), Firefox 17, Chrome 22, Safari 5.1, Opera 12.12Safari Opera Dolphin
Screen Resolution 1024 x 7681024 x 768
Course Interface Resolution 960 x 620Need clarification
Mode NALandscapeFor Portrait, the course will auto resize to the portrait size.


Project Development Process

  • An Agile design methodology will be applied, so that recommendations, preliminary mock-ups, and pieces of a project are provided for early feedback and modification in and a as part of the build of each module. Adjustments will be made throughout the design and development process rather than after development and/or implementation.
  • Storyboards development will include the integration of all learning resources, i.e. planned graphics, interaction description and text to be displayed on screen.
  • Once the storyboard is signed, off the building phase commences. It involves instructional designers, a graphics team and the technical team. The course will be built, then tested and reviewed for final sign off before deployment.

These are the elements that go into a successful eLearning courseware development. Type of authoring tool and instructional strategies differ with the type of training you offer. 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!

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