In-House eLearning Course Creation
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Embarking On In-House eLearning Course Creation Is Easier Than You Thought

Our first advice is not to view your course as a piece of art that is “created”.

Good eLearning courses are planned, tested, amended and launched.

Its production should be considered a process with a defined objective. Don’t allow it to evolve, don’t produce it in isolation from its intended audience and don’t get emotionally attached. Agree on the stages required in a small team, and stick to the plan.

Authoring Tool

Look for software that is both functional and intuitive. It should be easy to use and have a comprehensive help facility or support network. Remember that this is just your build method and does not need to look beautiful in itself. Don’t be lured into using expensive software that offers flashy features hidden behind complex menus. A steep learning curve will only slow your project down. We would also caution that, just because the software can do it, doesn’t mean you should use it. We have all experienced overexcited PowerPoint presentations, so often less is more!

Set Parameters

Whilst making an eLearning course is not a military operation, it will run more smoothly if you allocate tasks, set milestones and parameters. Good Project Management is essential to keep the momentum going. The process of working in a small team brings more benefits than just task sharing, as it provides a collaborative process with a common goal. Try to utilise the natural skills sets which your individual members provide and be inclusive throughout the build. Consider whether your topic needs to be several smaller courses rather than one large one. The fashion has generally shifted now to microlearning so it may be wise to segment the content into bite-sized modules. Studies have shown that this aids retention and encourages users to participate due to the short course duration.

Tell A Story

Where appropriate, take your learners on a journey. A good course, like a good story, moves at the right pace to keep learners engaged. Think of the subject matter as having chapters to provide progression and remember to build towards your conclusion. The topic and its relevance should connect with the learner. If you think the content is too “dry”, don’t be afraid to embellish it with real experiences to help bring it to life.

Resources

Modern courses often include all kinds of multimedia elements. A careful mixture of images, videos, music, and animation can enhance your course and keep your learners engaged. Try to avoid images that simply reflect the text or voiceover commentary, look for a more subtle or abstract connection to provoke thoughts or emotion. Once again, don’t get carried away and avoid sensory overload.

Approach

Not all topics are ideally suited to the same approach. Certain courses can be treated with little reverence and even include humour, whereas compliance training may need a more authoritative approach. Try to let the message influence the style whilst retaining light and shade in the delivery.

Challenge Your Audience Knowledge

Many in-house design teams fall into the trap of believing that they already know their audience. This leads to them assuming a knowledge base which may not actually exist. Rather than making this easy mistake, take time to asses and analyse your audience. This will ensure that the content expands and reinforces knowledge rather than creating confusion. Consider using a small focus group who can provide details of what they would expect from your subject matter and the expectations of your training course.

Check-In With Your Audience

The first draft of your course could be perfect but that’s unlikely, so don’t wait to be disappointed. Show an early draft to a representative audience who can be trusted to speak their mind. Don’t ask friends, and always encourage constructive criticism. Note down the feedback or collect responses anonymously. Don’t be tempted to defend your work, after all, you want the course to work for the audience, not to showcase your authoring skills! Look for a consensus of opinion to inform any changes. Then test the course again and again, if necessary.

Creating eLearning courses can be challenging, but our mini-guide should help you take the first steps. If you’re looking to produce regular content, building an internal team that’s self-sufficient will be worth the effort.

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