How To Create Linear eLearning Courses
There are a variety of reasons why a linear eLearning course design may be ideal for your next eLearning project, especially if you are new to the world of eLearning, or if you are dealing with a topic that may be more simple and straightforward. It gives you the opportunity to reveal key ideas to your learners progressively, which can help you to avoid cognitive overload, while increasing knowledge retention. In this article, I'll walk through each step of the linear eLearning course design process, so that you can create a memorable and highly effective eLearning deliverable.
- Research subject matter and target audience.
As is the case with all eLearning courses, having a clear idea of expectations and the nature of your audience is all-important. If you aren't familiar with the topic, then enlist the help of a subject matter expert who can walk you through the key takeaways that need to be included. Research your audience’s background. What is their level of education? Are they experienced or are they new to the job? What is their age range? Are there any cultural considerations you need to keep in mind when designing the eLearning course? Learn as much as you can about your audience, so that you can develop an eLearning course that is going to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need in a way that appeals to their learning needs.
- Create an outline of the eLearning course.
Now that you've done your research, and believe me that step should never be skipped, it's time to delve into the eLearning course outline. Ultimately, this outline is going to serve as your guide as you move forward with the design and development of your eLearning course. It should be as detailed as possible, while still leaving room for any changes that need to be made as you go along. Include an estimated slide count, what key pieces of information or graphic design elements will be on each screen, and the learning goals or objectives for every module. You should also specify what real world benefits will be tied into each module, and which eLearning activities are going to be created.
- Provide your learners with a clear and concise introduction.
The introduction to your eLearning course has to be powerful, engaging, and immediately stress the real world benefits and applications. Take your time creating the eLearning course introduction, as you'll only get one opportunity to make a great first impression upon your audience. Also, make sure that it's clear, concise, and succinct. You want them to know exactly what they can expect from the eLearning course right away, so that they are motivated to learn and become active participants in the eLearning process from the beginning.
- Include relevant, high quality images and graphics.
Aside from the content you are going to create for your linear eLearning courses, you should also include a handful of carefully chosen, high quality images and graphics that will add a visual appeal to your eLearning courses. Typically, in linear eLearning courses, text will appear on the left side of the screen, while images will be placed on the right. This is primarily due to the fact that learners will view the screen as they read from left to right, and the text should be the star of the show. Select free stock images that are both realistic and relatable, so that they bring value to the eLearning course rather than distracting your learners.
- Develop “bookend” assessments that gauge learners knowledge.
Ideally, you will want to start each module with an assessment to determine how much your learners know beforehand, and then finish the module with another quiz or exam that tests how much they've learned. This will allow you to see if the eLearning experience was truly beneficial, given that you will be able to figure out if the content you've created filled in the learning gap and helped them to acquire new knowledge or develop new skill sets.
- Highlight key ideas with interactive eLearning activities.
Choosing eLearning activities that are more simplistic and allow for quick and convenient knowledge acquisition is ideal when creating linear eLearning courses. Opt for blocks of text that are broken down into bullet points or highlight key takeaways by bolding them or placing them at the top of the page. Design drag and drop activities that give learners the opportunity to interact with the eLearning course without spending too much time on any one particular exercise.
- Keep navigation simple and straightforward.
One of the hallmarks of linear eLearning courses is that the navigation is simple and straightforward. Integrate back and next buttons into the eLearning course design to ensure that learners are able to easily make their way through the eLearning course, and only allow them to move forward to the next lesson or module after they've completed the current one. Also, try to use navigation icons that are universal, free of text, so that it will be easier to localize your eLearning course in the future.
Use these tips on how to create linear eLearning courses for your next project to boost knowledge retention and make the eLearning experience interactive, engaging, and memorable. While linear eLearning courses may not be the ideal solution for every project, they can offer a wide range of advantages in many niches.
Before developing your linear eLearning courses, it's essential to devote time to the preparation process. The article The 7 Steps of eLearning Course Preparation Process offers a step-by-step guide you can use to get your eLearning design and development off to a great start.