Common pitfalls in the eLearning development process
The team at Cursim, Omniplex’s learning design and development division, have seen it all when it comes to eLearning development – the good, the bad and the ugly. But there are some common mistakes they see time and time again. So, to prevent you making these mistakes, we thought we’d collate them all into this blog – so you can avoid them in your next eLearning development project.
- Not clarifying understandingAll too often, eLearning developers assume they have understood the requirements of the course after just one conversation – without clarifying or testing their understanding. This is a sure-fire way to create problems later in the project; especially if the subject matter expert (SME) believes their vision hasn’t been portrayed in the right way. No matter how clearly you think you understand the requirements, always double check your understanding.
- Overlooking the company brandingFinding a course you’ve previously created, and changing the colours to suit a different brand, is a recipe for disaster. Branding is so much more than colour schemes and fonts. When meeting with your stakeholder, make sure you understand their brand requirements, and that they understand (and agree with) how you are going to address these requirements. An ideal method of achieving this would be to have a sign off at the wireframe stage before any content development is started.
- Not documenting agreed changesThis problem isn’t limited to the eLearning profession – but it is so important eLearning professionals start making steps to overcome it.
Picture this: You’ve had a meeting with your SME and you’ve discussed the changes needed in your eLearning course. You go away and make these changes – but by the time you’ve sent them back to the SME, they’ve changed their mind. Sound familiar?
This is why it is so important to document any changes discussed. Make notes of any changes or tweaks discussed with your SME and write them up as soon as you can. The process of documenting what you have discussed with the SME is a great way to ensure that there is no misunderstanding between the two parties.
- Over-doing the animationsHave you ever seen an eLearning course with lots of different fonts, colours and animations? What about the one with flashing text?
Chances are, you can’t remember the content of the course – just the craziness of the design. When designing eLearning, stick to one or two fonts, preferably the same colour. And when it comes to animations, make sure they’re relevant, never use an animation just for animations sake.
- Not thinking about navigationYou may think it’s obvious where to click, type and swipe on your course, but you should never assume that your learners know how to navigate your course. If they find your course confusing or can’t work out how to move on to the next step – chances are they will just give up completely.
However, proceed with caution – as navigation explanation can be overdone. If the navigation is new, tell them in detail. If they know, remind them in short and after a while don’t bother them with it, unless they seem to need help.
- Ignoring the glossaryA key challenge in any piece of online learning is to not raise any unanswered questions. Keep this in mind when developing content. Unknown jargon can be the quickest way to lose the learners interest; after bad navigation, inconsistency and flashing text (see above). Therefore, it’s always important to explain any important key terms, acronyms or phrases to your learner, but avoid unnecessary jargon – ensuring they can focus on learning the content.
So, there you have it, six common pitfalls you can avoid when creating your next eLearning course. We hope this blog has given you some food for thought and has prevented some unnecessary complications throughout your content development process.