Top 5 Tips To Convert Your Traditional Course Into An eLearning Format

Top 5 Tips To Convert Your Traditional Course Into An eLearning Format
Summary: Several eLearning professionals in the eLearning industry want to convert their f2f courses into an eLearning format. However, some of them do the same mistake again and again: they simply move their content such as PowerPoint presentations, videos, audios, and documents to a Learning Management System using an eLearning Content Authoring tool. In my opinion, they have just converted their traditional courses to an electronic format. In this article I'll present the top 5 tips to convert your face to face courses into an eLearning format.

How To Convert A Face To Face Course Into An eLearning Format

During my MBA program at BGSU I remember Dr. Garcia saying "Cash is the King". In our case, you should always remember that "eLearning Content is the KING". As a result, I assume that in your f2f course you use the most amazing content.

What are the criteria for determining if a face to face course actually is convertible to eLearning? And assuming the course is convertible, what are the considerations when determining whether synchronous or asynchronous learning is best? So here are the top 5 tips that will help you convert your traditional course into an eLearning format.

1. Identify The eLearning Course Format

A f2f course can be converted in the following three eLearning formats:

a) Asynchronous Learning

Learning in which interaction between instructors and students occurs intermittently with a time delay. Examples are self-paced courses taken via the Internet, Q&A mentoring, online discussion groups and email. A primary area of investment in corporate eLearning development is asynchronous learning. As opposed to traditional instructor-led training or even distance learning that centers on teleconferencing and online presentations, asynchronous learning occurs in an environment where a single learner interacts directly with the content via a technology system, maximizing flexibility in timing and access by allowing learner control of pace, schedule, and location.

b) Synchronous Learning

A real-time, instructor-led eLearning program in which all participants are logged on at the same time and communicate directly with each other. In this virtual classroom setting, the instructor maintains control of the class, with the ability to "call on" participants. In most platforms, students and teachers can use a whiteboard to see work in progress and share knowledge. Interaction may also occur via audio or video conferencing, Internet telephony, or two-way live broadcasts. Commonly supported by media such as videoconferencing and chat, has the potential to support online learners in the development of online learning communities. Online learners and teachers experience synchronous learning as more social and avoid frustration by asking and answering questions in real time. Synchronous learning sessions help online learners feel like participants rather than isolated.

c) Hybrid Or Blended Learning

Learning programs that combine synchronous and asynchronous learning, and face-to-face instruction.

The question is "What eLearning format is best for me?". According to research and to my own experience, the learning format that has most advantages is the hybrid or blended learning format because it uses the pros of both synchronous and asynchronous learning. If you still want help to answer this question, I highly encourage you to analyze your learners' needs. This analysis will help you choose the right eLearning format for your course.

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2) Research The Instructional Design Models

I am sure that you are familiar with ADDIE, but it is not a universal solution! Based in my experience, Robert Gagne's instructional design model, which is best know as the Nine Events of Instruction, is the most appropriate Instructional Design Model for converting a traditional course into an eLearning format. However, to find the best Instructional Design Model you have to do some research!

And again, the question is "Why is it crucial to use an Instructional Design Model?". The answer is really simple. Because using an Instructional Design Model you will ensure that learning is more safe, certain, thorough, and expeditious than otherwise. At the same time, you will facilitate the learning process, as learners will require less time, incur less risk, and invest less energy than those who learned from the raw world without assistance.

3) Use Of Interaction

Interaction is the most important aspect of an eLearning course. However, you should know why you use interaction and what you want to achieve. I have seen several eLearning courses full of interaction that is waste of time...  Moore (1989) believes that interaction is a central component of online education and he describes 3 types of interaction:

a) Learner To Content

The "learner to content" interaction refers to the interaction between the online learner and the content or subject matter. Moore believes that if a learner interacts with the content or subject matter, then changes in the learner's understanding occur.

b) Learner To Instructor

The "learner to instructor" interaction refers to the interaction between the online learner and an instructor, tutor, mentor, or content expert. The second type of interaction occurs via print, electronic dialog, e-mail, computer conferencing, or electronic online classroom discussions.

c) Learner To Learner(s)

The "learner to learner" interaction can occur outside of or in group settings with or without an instructor present. The third type of interaction occurs when online learners engage in discussions moderated by the instructor. At the same time, online learners' groups may be given responsibility to act autonomously for conducting group projects, or other forms of group-lead activities.

Based on the eLearning Course Format and the Instructional Design Model that you will use you will be able to choose the type(s) of interaction that you will use in your eLearning course.

4) Choose The Right Educational Technology

In my opinion learning becomes more effective when people are mutually active with the learning materials, with the learning environment. Learning, by manufacturing innovative materials for other learners and by communicating with them about these materials, enhance their learning abilities. For example, based on social constructionist pedagogy, eFront offers several interactive course features that will enhance an eLearning course. The three types of interaction are built into eFront to accomplish certain learning objectives.

Interaction between L2C

  • Flashcards
  • RSS
  • YouTube video
  • Add Blocks
  • FAQ

Interaction between L2I

  • Lesson
  • Quiz (Test)
  • Project
  • Conference (video chat)
  • Quick email

Interaction between L2L(s)

  • Chat
  • Forum
  • Blog
  • Wiki
  • Glossary

Technology is the media and you should definitely do your own research to find the most appropriate educational technology that you will help you achieve your outcomes.

5) Revision Procedures

After you convert you f2f course into an eLearning format you may believe that it is time to offer it to your online learners. WRONG! You should definitely revise your eLearning course before providing it to your learners. The following revision procedures worked for me and I highly encourage you to follow them.

  • Survey
    A participant evaluation form should be created and address effectiveness of each eLearning module in four areas: Course and Site Design, Navigation, and Design Aesthetics. The survey should have both qualitative and quantitative questions on topics such as, but not limited to, usability, interface design, accessibility, audience analysis, content materials and instructional design standards. If you need help with the creation of a Survey, try using SurveyMonkey, an easy-to-use tool for the creation of online surveys. Its primary strength is its intuitive Web interface, which makes it easy for even non-technical people to create surveys and export the collected data.
  • Implementation Of Alpha Testing And Expert Panel
    A panel of experts should review your eLearning course. Experts include subject matter experts, instructional designers, eLearning developers, etc.
  • Revision Of The Web-Based Course
    Based on their constructive feedback you have to begin the revision of your eLearning course.
  • Implementation Of Beta Testing And Expert Panel
    After the revision of your eLearning course the same experts should re-test your eLearning course.
  • Analysis Of Data
    Based on their constructive feedback you should further improve your eLearning course.
  • Revision Of the Web-Based Course
    Now is the time to do the final revision and make your eLearning course available to your online learners.

In addition, keep in mind that you should always revise your eLearning course based on your learners' constructive feedback.

Now you have decided to migrate your program into an eLearning course. But how can you create an eLearning course, even if you don't have much prior experience? Read the article 6 Steps To Easily Create eLearning Courses to discover the steps that can help you to conveniently and easily create eLearning courses that will help your online learners achieve their learning goals and objectives.