Patrick is the product training manager of a large consumer electronics company. His company is releasing a new television into the market at the end of next month. Patrick’s boss asked him to develop an online course about the product, for the service technicians of the company. The time window available for the development of the e-learning course is short, as the course must be rolled out “in sync” with the new product. Patrick is a worried man.
Patrick is not alone. Many in the corporate training community face a similar predicament. How can companies develop technology-enabled materials quickly to meet their fast-emerging training needs? They need to adopt the rapid e-learning development methodology.
What is rapid e-learning development and why you need it?
Rapid e-learning development is an online learning development methodology that is ideally suited to meet the needs of companies in the 21st century. True to its name, this methodology helps you cut the time required for developing a web-based course by at least 40% and this translates into lower web-based course development costs, as the number of man hours needed to develop courses is reduced. As corporate L&D budgets continue to get slim in real terms with each passing year, rapid e-learning development has emerged the best choice to meet dynamic learning needs fast, without burning a hole in the pocket.
How to make the best use of rapid e-learning development?
You need to follow a 5-step process to use the methodology effectively for developing high quality online courses quickly.
Step 1: Set clear, realistic training goals
This is the most important (and unfortunately, the least focused) step in the rapid e-learning development process. You need to have a clear idea of what you intend to achieve with the training program. Come up with a clear timeline for delivering the training program. Proper planning plays a key role in the successful development of a good e-learning course in a short time frame.
You need to ask 4 questions to get a good idea of what you need to do with the training program:
- What do you expect learners to achieve after taking the training program?
- How relevant is the training program to learners?
- Is the training program going to use a single e-learning module or a web-based curriculum which covers basic, intermediate, and advanced knowledge on a specific subject?
- Do you need to evaluate learners’ comprehension of the subject-matter?
Step 2: See that the learning content is ready
Once you get answers to the four questions listed above, you need to focus on getting the learning content ready. The rapid e-learning development methodology leverages existing classroom and other training materials in a big way, and in most cases, the content in these materials has gaps, and as a result, does not flow logically. For instance, a classroom PowerPoint contains only 50% of what is taught by the trainer, and the rest is conveyed in the form of examples, stories, anecdotes and so on. Many instructor-led resources are not organized in a proper sequence i.e. into units, sub-units and lessons. You need to address these issues and make sure the content is ready for development, before moving ahead.
Step 3: Select the right rapid authoring tool
Rapid authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate and so on are the cornerstone of the rapid e-learning development methodology. There are hundreds of rapid authoring tools in the market, and the selection of the right application goes a long way in the successful development of your e-learning resource. Choose the tool depending on your need. Consider the cost of the tool, its features, its learning curve, and the type of online course that you need before picking the right authoring tool for rapid e-learning development. Find out more about choosing the right authoring application in this informative eBook.
Step 4: Harness the full potential of e-learning templates
Many rapid authoring tools come with in-built online course templates, which reduce the time and money needed to develop technology-enabled learning materials. These templates can be customized to meet your needs and re-used in multiple courses. You need to standardize these templates to provide consistent learning experiences to your employees. Standardization focuses on visual design and creates a ‘branding’ that learners can recognize in the online training programs rolled out by your organization.
Step 5: Develop the e-learning course using an Agile process
Once you complete the standardization of e-learning templates, it is time to move to the last step of the rapid e-learning development process – creating the online course. It is advisable to follow an Agile process as depicted in the infographic below.
This completes the process of rapid e-learning development. Follow the steps listed above to develop web-based learning resources quickly, with minimal expenditure, to meet your dynamic training needs.