Your Guide To Creating An Effective E-Learning Course
August 30th, 2017
With larger numbers of learners accessing educational material online, e-learning course creators need to adopt innovative content delivery techniques to keep learners engaged. A good e-learning course must include content that’s not only intuitive and engaging but also accessible to all learners. Designing such a course requires careful planning and execution. Here are some important factors to keep in mind while outlining and developing an effective e-learning course.
Identify Your Target Audience
Before designing an e-learning course, it is important to analyze and understand your target learner audience. It is vital to consider the factors such as the age of learner, their educational and socio-cultural background, and other demographic factors while designing an e-learning program. For instance, students with strong educational background have a broader knowledge of the advantages and use of technology and its importance in gaining scholastic achievements.
Start by addressing questions like:
- What are the learners hoping to achieve from the e-learning program?
- Do they want to delve into a certain topic further?
- Do they want to learn a new concept?
- What are their learning patterns?
- What are the ways to keep them engaged?
- How can your e-Learning course help them retain knowledge?
- Are there any learners with special needs?
These questions will help you in creating a more focused e-learning course that communicates effectively with learners. Targeted learners should be consulted at all points for their feedback to uncover critical insights about the proposed content. Conducting surveys or group discussions will help you build an effective training course.
Based on your target audience analysis, the next step is finalizing the content. In-depth subject analysis and feedback from learners is essential to design and deliver content that adheres to the curriculum and the learning objectives. Whether to include additional resources and extra study material or cover a topic in brief can also be deduced through learner feedback.
Although most e-learning courses consist of textual content, it’s also beneficial to include interactive digital content such as games, puzzles, virtual labs, etc. Compelling and intuitive content is vital for a successful e-learning program. You should be able to produce creative content that engages learners and also, measures the effectiveness of e-learning content. You can opt for publishing platforms such as MagicBoxTM which allows customizing e-learning courses by adding videos, assessments etc into the course.
Selecting the Right E-Learning Authoring Tool
Ideal authoring tools must offer an interface that facilitates an engaging learning experience. Focus on the needs and goals of your audience while choosing the features that you need to include in your course modules. For example, if your e-Learning course is game based, then you need a tool that provides excellent graphics and animation. Another aspect that you must consider is ease of use. You need to ensure that the module can be easily navigated and is accessible offline. Being able to track learners’ performance data is also an important aspect.
An experienced team of developers will be able to design an authoring tool from scratch. But if you don’t have a team, then there are many comprehensive authoring tools available that provide various templates for your modules. For example, MagicBoxTM lets you create course modules with full features and functionalities for multiple devices and operating platforms. You can create interactive content, instructor-led content, and self-learning modules.
It’s a fact that due to shorter attention spans millennials respond more to visual appeals. Using visual cues is a convenient method of garnering interest and intuitively engaging students towards learning. To make your e-learning course more visually appealing, make use of multimedia content, such as images, videos, infographics and interactive content. Factors such as fonts and color themes also add to the visual appeal.
While including high-quality, visually appealing elements is necessary, the quality of the content cannot be compromised over the use of multimedia elements. Simplifying multimedia content, and thus the overall visual appeal, would assure learners’ focus on the core content while being intuitively engaged.
Overall Look & Feel
Layout design is an important aspect in deciding the effectiveness of any e-learning course. While designing the web-interface, it’s essential to adapt some basic rules pertaining to the contents’ aesthetic value. For instance, it’s better to deliver text content in short paragraphs along with infographics, instead of long explanations.
Some key points on creating effective e-learning content are:
- It must be simple so that learners can understand it independently.
- It must be easy to navigate.
- Content should have a consistent layout and appearance. For instance, fonts, color theme, relative object sizes, should all be visible seamlessly to maintain uniform accessibility across all mobile computing platforms.
- Multimedia content including still images must be created using high-quality graphic designing software for better visibility.
Thus, an interface that’s easy to navigate, well-structured, less textual, and more graphical, should be the ideal choice.
Creation Of Assessments
An educational courses’ effectiveness can be measured in the form of knowledge acquired and its practical applicability by its learners. This can be done by creating your assessments in tandem with the module and topic objectives. For instance, a managerial training module would likely include concepts such as soft skills, team-building activities, and effective time management. Assessments for this module could include scenario-based tests, quizzes, animated sequences, situation-based quizzes etc. This format would not just provide a break from long lectures, but would also allow managers to envision potential workplace situations and come up with ways to effectively tackle them.
Constant Evaluation at Each Stage
Constant evaluation, from planning to design and development stage, is essential to maintain a focus on your objectives and adhere to the proposed guidelines for creating an effective e-learning course. Be sure to determine the clear purpose of each developmental stage before evaluating it. Here are some quality control questions you can ask yourself at each stage:
- Does the content comply with curriculum guidelines?
- Does it stick to recommendations from learner and educator feedback?
- Does it include the right amount of multimedia content?
- Does it adhere to accessibility compliance measures?
- Is the content factually correct?
Evaluations at the production stage should consider whether the design has aesthetic appeal and adheres to simplistic ideology, is the language precise and error-free, is object placement appropriate to creating a smooth interface for better navigation and readability, etc.
Similarly, evaluation at further stages of development, such as implementation and post-implementation, becomes critical to polish the module for recurrent use while preserving its effectiveness. Such constant evaluation ensures improvements with each deployment since the experience and feedback from a previous version assists in tackling potential issues in following versions of the same module.
Creating compelling intuitive e-learning content that engages learners requires careful planning and precise execution. Which is why execution methodology plays an important role in ascertaining the effectiveness of your e-learning course. With these important points in mind, you’ll be able to ensure that your e-learning course meets not only your requirements, but also those of your audience.