Thanks to the rapid authoring tools that are available today, creating eLearning courses has become fairly easy. The built-in templates will guide you through the designing process. However, the templates per se are not adequate to get you going. You will need to build multimedia assets to populate your eLearning courses with engaging content.
Whether you build eLearning courses in-house or you outsource the development task, it is essential that you create a library of resources that serve as essential ingredients for your eLearning courses now and in the future. This way, you will save time on sourcing raw material when you need eLearning courses to be developed. So, what are these multimedia assets that you need to build on?
Most authoring tools have built-in images, clip art graphics and characters. However, you may have your own set of graphics, characters or clip art images developed by the marketing department. They may be unique to your brand or organization and why not incorporate them into eLearning modules. Your employees will find it easier to relate to already familiar images.
Also, images or line drawings of equipment, products or machinery are very useful to your eLearning developer when developing ‘product training or process training’ courses. So, save all your line drawings and catalogue them well. The next time you need a product training course or process training course, these can come in handy.
Photographs of products, workplace, and key members of the organization could come in handy for certain types of courses. For example, you could have an old photograph of the workplace, prior to the implementation of safety mechanisms. You could juxtapose this with the current workplace scenario as a ‘before’ and ‘after’ image, which could create a powerful impact. Sometimes, though photographs may not be used by the eLearning developer in the course, such photographs could be very helpful for the developer to understand the context or the background of the content. It might serve as a basis for the creation of visual elements in the course. We once had to develop a course where we needed to demonstrate what happens inside a piece of equipment. Presence of photographs of the machinery enabled our visual designers to re-create line drawing, which was used to create animations showing what happens inside the machine.
Prior to moving to eLearning, SMEs or trainers would have conducted classroom training programs with the help of PowerPoint slides. These could be a useful starting point for developing the eLearning course. The instructional designers could use the content in PPTs to develop the storyboard instead of starting from the scratch, thereby reducing developmental time.
Organizations develop several videos for varying purposes –marketing promotion, stakeholder education or for Board presentations. These could be a very useful resource and some of them could be incorporated into eLearning programs. Similarly, messages from CEOs or Heads of departments could add a personal touch when included in eLearning programs. So, it is a good idea to collate videos from different departments and compile them at one place so that next time there is a relevant eLearning course where these can be used, you know where to find them.
Similarly, you could have recording lecturers or training programs which could be a good reference point for your eLearning developer to understand the subject matter.
Just as the videos, you could have audio recordings of training programs which are valuable and need to be kept in the asset library. If the audio quality is good and is relevant to the context of the eLearning course, it could be used to add authenticity to the course. Even otherwise, the audio material is a useful resource for your eLearning developer to go into the depth of a subject matter and understand the organizational perspective. Similarly, if your organization has a signature tune or background music, they can also be included into courses to give that customized feel.
When you want your eLearning partner to develop a course for you and you don’t have much time on hand, you could refer to these resources, choose the elements that are appropriate for the course and share it with your eLearning developer. This expedites the process and your course will be ready with elements that are exclusive to your organization. What is your take on the matter?