6 Definitive Best Practices for eLearning Development

6 Definitive Best Practices for eLearning Development

For many trainers the idea of elearning development is daunting to the point of paralysis. It doesn’t have to be though. We’ve come up with six simple principles that you can use before you begin. By using them, both the process of creating online training and the resulting course will be better than you might expect.

Here’s what you need to do get started:

1) Have your training personas mimic your learners

Think about the learner’s environment. For instance tablets and smartphones are more ubiquitous than they were even a year ago, and learners are expecting to be able to use their devices for training. Be sensitive to whether your training will be delivered to someone seated at a desktop or while using a mobile device between sales calls. Know your learner’s habits BEFORE you begin designing the course. It will save development cost in the long run.

2) Don’t get lost in the minutiae

When deeply involved in elearning development it is very easy to get lost in the details, getting so deep into the trees you can no longer see the forest. Plan times to step back and view the big picture so you can get a clearer idea of what are the business drivers, goals, success criteria for your course.

3) Test as you go

Avoid letting a trainee go from module to module too easily. Also, don’t be afraid to have multiple tests. Multiple tests accomplish two things — they keeps the trainee engaged and they alert the LMS as to where the trainee is within the course.

Make the modules challenging enough such that comprehensive and consequential knowledge, not just memorization, is required for them to proceed. Make them pass each module, preferably with a demanding score, before they are allowed to proceed. Management should want to know how many times it took a trainee to complete the course and your LMS should tell them that. If the trainee is struggling, regardless of their ultimate score, they need to be identified.

As a pertinent aside remember that the trainee is not the only person being tested. The elearning designer is also under the microscope. If the trainee fails, better make sure it was the trainee’s fault. It is trouble for the trainer/designer if management ultimately determines the course was poorly designed.

4) Context is key

Information is one thing, relevance is another. The context, i.e., case studies, simulations, etc., in which your content is delivered is arguably as important as the information itself. There are times when learners will fail. If too many of them pass too easily you may not have imparted skill transfer. If too many fail make sure it is the learner’s problem with the material, not with the way it is presented. It’s a chicken and egg question that the developer cannot afford to answer incorrectly. It’s important to know whether it the learner or the nature of the course that came up short.

5) Start simple

Don’t subscribe to an authoring tool and immediately start designing your course. Consider starting with the same technology used by early Egyptians, pencil and paper before you dive in. However you proceed, remember to start with the desired result in mind and then find the tools to build your course.

6) Have A Clear Idea Of Your Goals

It can’t be overstated that when developing online training you need to be focused and have a clear idea of your goals. By following the six principles listed above you’ll soon be able to create elearning that entices learners and gets results.

To learn more about achieving results that will easily justify elearning development, we invite you to read our free ebook Learn How To Create Performance Based eLearning.

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