3 Steps Subject Matter Experts Creating eLearning Courses Should Follow

Subject Matter Experts Creating eLearning Courses Do Keep These 3 Tips In Mind

The current trend of employee-generated learning is happening. This means that your manager will probably ask you, a Subject Matter Expert in your field, to create learning content. This content could be anything from a course, a handbook, a guide, a how-to manual, a tip or trick, to best practice and company guidelines. If you google authoring tools to create courses or rather learning resources as they are called within L&D, the large majority of tools are quite intimidating and may not suit your upcoming deadline. You need to get going, and here are 3 steps to quickly ship your first course.

1. Always Start With A Clear Learning Objective

Setting goals is essential to every task or project you do, especially when creating a learning resource - without an objective you and your target audience will wander aimlessly.

Not setting a clear learning goal, or learning objective as Instructional Designers call it will mean the outcome of the course might not be as valuable as you hoped it would be. Put more bluntly: Creating a course without a clear learning outcome is almost useless. Even if you set a small learning nugget or a quick curation of knowledge, setting a learning objective will always make sure you meet your learners’ needs.

Learning objectives need to answer 4 essential questions to ensure your course is exactly what your learners need:

  1. Who are the learners completing this course?
  2. Why do they need to know to do this?
  3. What do you want them to be able to do after completing the course?
  4. What must the learner understand to be able to do it?

The methodology used to answer these questions is called "Bloom’s Taxonomy" and it basically describes 6 levels of learning [1]. The most basic level of learning according to Bloom’s Taxonomy is ‘Remembering’ (just regurgitating knowledge) to the highest level of learning, ‘Creating’.

Here is a short description of each of the levels:

Level You help your learners... You are a Business Development Manager and are building product training resources for sales executives. Here’s what you can create at every level:
Remembering Recognize, remember, recall facts and other important information Conversation starters, product specification checklists like codes and tags for quick recall
Understanding Understand the concept or a fact Handy sheets with product features and functions to reinforce the technical concepts
Applying Apply the knowledge i.e. rules, facts, ideas, concepts into practice Videos to demonstrate how to use the product at a client site, FAQs to help them see how various client scenarios can be handled
Analyzing Break down the information and look for patterns (similarities, differences, categorize, relationships, themes) Case sheet templates to analyze a client issue and identify potential solutions
Evaluating Critically examine an idea/situation Questionnaires or decision flow charts to evaluate the solutions to eliminate the irrelevant ideas
Creating Create or design something new (ideas/products) based on the acquired knowledge of skills Quick start guides or how-to manuals to give a product tour

If this makes setting learning goals rather complex, don’t worry - here is a learning objective maker that allows you to generate a learning objective based on Bloom’s Taxonomy with just 4 clicks.

2. Choose An Online Course Authoring Tool

To make sure you can get a course live within a day: Choose an online authoring tool. Most authoring tools that pop up in Google are overly complex and intimidating, however, most of the new breed of SaaS authoring tools are much quicker to grasp.

Here’s a list of cloud-based authoring tools Christopher Pappas from eLearning Industry has created.

Online tools might not offer you the ability to create amazing animations to make Pixar jealous, but they offer you something more important: speed and agility. It’s far more important to focus on the content and make sure you keep your audience engaged than to stress over custom design and pixel-perfect content.

By quickly shipping your first course, you are able to improve your course authoring skills by looking into the data and engagement.

3. Never Start From Scratch, You’re Wasting Your Time

Start Curating, Instead Of Writing

In your workplace, you probably have gigabytes of existing how-to guides, process flows, handbooks, guidelines, and instructions sitting on someone’s hard drive. Create a call to action to collect as many of these resources before even writing down your first sentence in a course.

Some authoring tools offer document embedding that significantly decreases the time to create new content - helping to centralize lots of valuable resources while at the same time allowing you to quickly create assessments and add interactive questions to your content.

Templates Are Your Best Friend

More and more authoring tools allow you to start by reusing templates, such as onboarding, compliance, and sales readiness templates. Most authoring tools are constantly updating their library with new templates monthly, to make sure you ship your course as fast as possible.

But if you have a very specific learning objective formulated, here’s a nice little hack: Udemy and Coursera outline all their course content publicly. And if you are clever, you can look up the courses that have the best reviews and learn from the best. Our own favorite public courses are Netflix’s document on company culture and Atlassian’s branding guide… which we took inspiration from!

If you want to know more about cloud-based authoring software, sign up for a 14-day free trial of Easygenerator here.

 

References:

  1. Bloom's taxonomy
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Easygenerator is an online e-Learning authoring tool for people without an e-Learning background. Create courses and quizzes and host them in our cloud and see learner’s results at no extra charge. Uploading to your website or LMS is also possible.
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