Designing and developing a GOOD eLearning course takes some thought, some good planning, and well, some time.
Here are 6 (and a bonus) details we think EVERY designer and developer should know before they head out and start developing an eLearning project.
- Do you need a course or will a job aid do? Seriously, do you even need an eLearning module? Are looking to change behavior or are you just trying to push some information out? Think through this carefully with your SME. Sometimes they may think eLearning is the answer when a simple PDF document sent by email is a better option and eliminates downtime for employees.
- Do you have clear objectives? Or any objectives at all? I once heard a manager say “why are you worried about objectives? That will just confuse them.” Uh…well…kind of need some good objectives. Again, think these through with your SME so everyone is on the same page and you have a clear direction to take the project.
- Do you know your audience? Again, you and your SME should figure this out way before you start designing or building anything. Is this project for the sales department? Accounting? The entire organization? This is a big factor and will shape your project’s scope.
- How about a content outline? No matter the size of your project, you really should develop a content outline. This is beneficial for everyone involved in the project. It details what’s in your project so all the stakeholders know where and how their areas will be covered. This becomes a vital document as your project becomes more complex with scenarios and branching options.
- Who’s your SME and have you trained them? This seems simple and silly but you would be surprised that SME’s are sometimes clueless to the fact that they will be assisting you on this project. That’s the whole point of a…subject…matter…expert. You’re an instructional designer or a multimedia developer, not an electrical engineer and you can’t become one in a week. Teach you SME what your job is, what their job is in this project and how you need and want information to stay on track to develop a great finished product.
- Ready to Launch…now what? Where’s this course going to live? On a learning management system? Do you need to track certain metrics or data? Do you need to market this product before you launch so there is excitement or awareness? Are there time factors to complete the course? Lots of questions to ask before your project gets viewed.
BONUS…Meanwhile, 3 months later…
“You must think to the future while standing in the present.” –SchwindTEC
Isn’t that beautiful? I just made that up, at least it didn’t show up in a web search.
Consider this: before you design and develop, before the cool graphics and animated characters, before…you get it, how will you know if your module did what it is supposed to?
How will you measure success?
Get with your SME and figure this out. Too many great projects are built and fade away into the oblivion of an LMS never to be seen again. A few months down the road or at an appropriate point after launch, figure out what worked and what didn’t and what can be updated or changed.
Don’t let your time and hard work go to waste.