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Rapid E-learning Development – Separating Myth from Reality

Jim is the product sales training manager of a large pharmaceutical company. The company is planning to release a new antibiotic, into the market, in the coming fortnight. Jim’s boss asked him to develop an online course on the drug for training the organization’s medical reps. The short time window for the development is giving Jim sleepless nights.

Adam is the compliance training manager of a large insurance company. Recently, several major changes were made to the rules pertaining to the settlement of claims. Adam’s boss asked him to come up with a new course for training the firm’s staff, and he was given just 15 days to accomplish the task – to ensure staff is trained on the revised norms within the stipulated time period. Adam is worried. 

Jim and Adam are not alone. Many L&D professionals face a similar predicament. Often, they are tasked with developing e-learning courses in very short time frames. How can companies develop good online courses fast? What does it take to meet “near impossible” online course development timelines? They need to adopt rapid e-learning methodologies.

What is rapid e-learning development?

Rapid e-learning is an online learning development methodology born out of the need to create high-quality online learning materials quickly, to meet the dynamic training needs of the 21st century corporate world. Rapid e-learning can be used to cut the time taken for developing a technology-enabled learning resource by more than 40% compared to the traditional course development methodology. This is because it reduces the number of steps involved in developing the online course. Here is a comparison of rapid e-learning with traditional development of web-based courses.

Rapid e-learning development End-to-end e-learning development
 1. Identification of existing content 1. Analysis of content
2. Content briefing
3. Creation of the storyboard
4. Design of GUI and navigation elements
5. Design of interactivities
2. Identification of existing media elements 6. Development of media elements
3. Addition of assessments 7. Addition of assessments
4. Selection of the right authoring tool to develop the online course and course review 8. Selection of the right authoring tool to develop the online course
9. Review of the online course
5. Rollout of the online course 10. Rollout of the online course

We thus see that rapid e-learning helps develop courses faster, compared to the traditional online course develop methodology. However, many companies hesitate to adopt rapid e-learning because of certain misconceptions. Let us see what they are.

Myths about rapid e-learning

Myth 1: Rapid e-learning produces online learning materials of poor quality

Many in the corporate training world believe that shortening online course development timelines affects the quality of the e-learning product. However, this perception is not correct. The rapid e-learning methodology calls for the use of rapid authoring tools to develop online learning materials. These authoring tools come with pre-built online course templates, interfaces, and media elements that eliminate the need to create online courses from scratch, thereby reducing the time needed to develop e-learning courses considerably. Check the interesting infographic 6 Surprising Benefits of Rapid Authoring Tools to know more about the advantages of using these e-learning development applications.

Myth 2: E-learning courses can be created by adding assessments to classroom resources and publishing them online

It is a fact that rapid e-learning leverages existing classroom training resources such as PPT files and requires the addition of assessments to these learning materials. However, various other aspects are involved in developing online courses, using this methodology such as the following:

  • Filling the gaps in instructor-led training (ILT) content: In most cases, classroom training resources contain only 50% of what is taught by an instructor. The remaining 50% is conveyed by the instructor in the form of stories, examples, and detailed explanations. So, it is necessary to cover the missing 50% to give a logical flow to the content.
  • Creation of a proper course structure: The content of ILT materials must be organized systematically by breaking it into topics and sub-topics, so that your staff finds it easy to comprehend the essential aspects of the online course.
  • Incorporation of learning interactivities: In most cases, ILT resources do not contain learning interactivities, required to hold the attention of the learner in a self-paced, technology-enabled learning environment. E-learning developers must address this shortcoming when they convert classroom materials into online courses.

Myth 3: Development of highly interactive online courses is not possible using rapid e-learning

It is widely believed that rapid authoring applications lack the power of Adobe Flash, which was used extensively to develop online courses, rich in interactivities, before the advent of rapid e-learning. E-learning course development tools such as Articulate Storyline can be used to create Flash-like interactivities, fast, at low expenditure, thanks to a wide array of inbuilt templates.

Rapid e-learning helps organizations develop good online courses quickly, enabling them to meet their fast-changing learning needs. How do you develop online courses? We’d love to know.

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