4 Online Course Development DOs and DON’Ts

4 Online Course Development DOs and DON’Ts

When it comes to online course development, it helps not only to know the best practices but also the practices that you should avoid. Doing so will allow you to create a course that delights, engages and educates your learners. On the other hand, by not taking into account the worst practices, you could end up creating a poorly designed course that will underwhelm your learners and you’re having to explain why they failed. With that in mind, here are 5 Elearning Development DOs and DON’Ts.


  1. Online Course Development DOs

    DO Use Graphics

    An elearning course without graphics is just a series of slides with some text. Needless to say, it’s hardly inspiring to your learner. Images that illustrate a concept are helpful but keep in mind that they should add meaning to the content and not simply be decorative.

  2. DO Add Multimedia Elements

    Adding mutimedia elements are another way that you can bring your course to life. This is especially helpful when demonstrating concepts but it also gives you the ability to speak in your own voice. Any videos should address a single point and should not be too long.

  3. DO Use Scenarios And Role-Playing

    Lively, scenario-driven courses are far more persuasive than simple question-answer-question-answer-test courses. They allow your learners to draw upon and utilize information, face consequences if they navigate incorrectly, but also give meaningful feedback that will help them to retain the knowledge they’ve gained.

  4. DO Test Frequently

    Testing frequently gives you the ability to see how the learners are progressing at each stage of the course. Not only does this give you the metrics you need in order to measure the success of your course, it also can highlight any deficiencies amongst your learners.


  1. Online Course Development DON'Ts

    DON’T Just Upload A Powerpoint Slide

    Importing a Powerpoint file to your course authoring tool is a quick way to get a head start on developing an online course but it shouldn’t end there. If your development ends with Powerpoint, you’ll miss out on all the interactive features which a powerful course authoring tool can give you access.

  2. DON’T Develop The Visuals Before You Plan

    An instructional design document will help you get your ideas in order before you reach the storyboard stage. This will help you define your Learning Objects (knowledge components like a question and answer set), choose the proper Learning Strategy (the best way to deliver the knowledge. ie. video, questions, activities) and arrange them logically within your course.

  3. DON’T Forget To Update It

    Even textbooks have updated editions. Don’t forget that you can also update your course based on new information or updated graphics or text.
    An interactive elearning course can be complex. However, even if several pairs of eyes happen to miss a mistake or you see an opportunity for improvement, it’s a quick as making the changes in your course authoring tool and publishing it to your LMS.

  4. DON’T Disregard Your Learners’ Needs

    It’s very important to keep your learners in mind and develop an online course that trains them effectively. For instance: Don’t use a text heavy course to discuss how to operate a piece of software or machinery when a video can be used to better visualize the concept. Poor learner performance reflects upon them but also reflects upon the quality of the course itself.

By focusing on best practices in addition to pitfalls, your course will vastly improve. As with any list, there could be more that we missed. We’re always open to suggestions. Let us know in the comments below if you have any more.

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