Online course development takes a lot of effort from a variety of people involved. Rather than go over the best practices as we have in previous blog posts, well go over a course that we created here at Vantage Path and let you know our thought-process in creating a scenario-based course.
The Patient Management Course
The original task was to create a custom course for a client that put them through a scenario where they had to make the best choices to diagnose and treat a patient after asking them the best questions. In the Patient Management course, the difficult part was to create a scenario that would make the learner tap into their cognitive reasoning. By solidly instilling cognitive reasoning, the learners ability to absorb the knowledge from the course is vastly increased.
In the course, not only do the learners have to make the best choices for the patient, they also have to be conscious of the time and money required to efficiently treat the diagnosis. The Patient Management course has been our model for online learning that truly tests and engages a learner, which ultimately improves their knowledge and job performance, driving better results.
When the course was completed, it was tested with a few users to make sure it was working they way it had been designed. The feedback we received gave us the following insight: The Steak of the course was working correctly, as the scenario took a user and gave them all the necessary knowledge and options to get a cognitive response out of them. However, it was lacking Sizzle as we had never pushed the course demo through our graphic design team.
Once learners got through the first case, they were hooked into the learning and their experience was good. However, some learners didnt get through the initial opening screens and descriptions, because they werent engaged enough. The course was designed to appeal to text learners, who need to read in order to absorb information, and tactile learners, who need to interact with the screen and make visible choices. We quickly realized that the course was missing design elements that appealed to visual and auditory learners, who needed graphics, animations, and sounds to engage their learning ability.
Just presenting good-looking content without a solid curriculum to back it up doesnt transfer the right knowledge.
This is a common mistake. Just presenting good-looking content without a solid curriculum to back it up doesnt transfer the right knowledge. Whereas, a solid curriculum without elements to engage and draw in the learner, bores them. The best option is to deliver both. This allows the course to tap into both the content and visual design resources and make it a much more engaging course for our clients.
The Elements To Improve
Our graphic design team looked at the best ways to add more elements to appeal to the visual and auditory learners. This is what we found works best:
Consistent, Engaging Graphic Design
Add a great style with color and flow to the information to make the courses more beautiful.
Instead of using clip art images or just ones copied off the Internet, add designed images that immerse the learner in the course and pop out of the screen.
Video + Animation
Adding some video and graphical movement engages the learners brain and you can show depth where the scenario seems more lifelike.
Utilize text-to-speech programs or online voice talent, you can add an auditory element to the course to engage those types of learners.
Sound Effects + Music
Add great sounds and music that enhance all the elements of your scenario, again making it more real.
In a follow-up blog post, well go into specifics of what we added to the course; some of the best links for online resources to give you ideas for designing these elements; and how far you can take your custom course development when you have the right assets and people to get the job done. If you cant wait until then, try out some of our other course samples to see how we custom built other courses.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can make your online courses amazing, download our free ebook Learn How To Create Performanced Based Elearning.