Why Design Documents Are Vital For Creating eLearning Courses
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Design Documents For eLearning Course Development: Reasons Those Are Of Great Help To You

In the case of an eLearning course, the blueprint or plan is called an “Instructional Design document”, or simply a “design document”. In this article, we’ll discuss why a design document is vital before the creation of an eLearning course, and how you can create one.

Why Is A Design Document Important?

Creating an eLearning course is no easy job, i.e. if you want it to be ideal. It requires the combined effort of a number of eLearning professionals like Instructional Designers, Learning and Development managers, Graphic Designers, Multimedia Developers, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) as well as Technology Experts. These professionals must work in unison to create an eLearning course that offers the employees of an organization (when talking about corporate eLearning) maximum engagement, learning, and retention. But that can be a tough thing to accomplish until and until there’s a roadmap that everyone knows they have to follow. That roadmap is the design document. The design document accurately outlines who does what, and thus none of the professionals lose focus of the process nor the end goal. The design document being the frame or skeleton of the eLearning course contains the following essential information:

  1. The goal or objective of the eLearning course
  2. What the learner will be able to do after completing the course, i.e. what skill will be learned or what information will be understood
  3. Who the course is for, e.g. sales executives, marketing executives, content developers, etc.
  4. Through what delivery mechanism will the course be made available to the learner/employee, e.g. LMS, organization’s website, etc.
  5. Which learning methodology/methodologies or Instructional Design strategy/strategies will be utilized, e.g. Bloom’s Taxonomy, ADDIE model, microlearning, gamification, etc.
  6. What interactivities shall be used in the course, e.g. click-on-numbers, rollover, tabs, hotspots, flip-cards, etc.
  7. What sort of assessments will be used in the eLearning course to evaluate learners/employees, e.g. (quizzes, task-based simulations, open-ended questions, branching scenarios, MCQs, etc.)
  8. What the structure of content will be, i.e. its table of contents, and what comes before and what comes after. The structure also defines the number of modules in the course, the number of slides in each module, as well as the content strategy at each level of the module.
  9. What the cost will be required to build the course, and how much estimated time it will take for the course to be created
  10. What quality or standard can be expected, adhering to the cost mentioned
  11. Through which device the eLearning course can be accessed, i.e. computers (desktops, laptops), smartphones, or both (responsive)
  12. What authoring tools will be used to create the course, and any other tools that will be used during the creation of the course

Every professional involved in the creation of the eLearning course must regard this information carefully when doing their respective parts.

The structure of the design document may differ from organization to organization as well as from person to person (the individual who creates the design document) but must contain all the relevant information mentioned above.

Creating the design document may seem like a pointless task to some, but in actuality, the preparation of the design document offers clarity about the vision an Instructional Designer has of the end product, in addition to providing step-by-step instructions to every person involved. It also ensures that nothing can go wrong if the instructions are followed to the word.

If you thought that the creation of an eLearning course was easy, let me tell you that the creation of a design document is actually the very first step of many in order to create an eLearning course. But that shouldn’t discourage you from adopting eLearning as your corporate training methodology, because eLearning, or digital learning as some like to call it, is presently the most effective Learning and Development methodology that exists. If creating an eLearning course seems too much work for you, you can always hire an eLearning solutions provider to do it for you. They’ll take much workload off of you, but you’ll still have to involved in the creation of the design document as well as the courses.

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