eLearning development: Six rules you should always follow
Whether you’re a development pro, or new to the field; eLearning development can be daunting. To take some of the pressure off, we’ve put together a list of rules you should follow when starting a new project:
1. Befriend the SME
Subject matter experts (SMEs) are some of the most important people in the eLearning development process. They hold all knowledge needed for your course. But it’s important to remember that SMEs are guardians of this knowledge, and they can be very protective over its communication. There are many tips for working with SMEs throughout eLearning development; but the first step is to book a face-to-face meeting. Before this meeting, make sure you research their role and topic. Demonstrating an interest in their subject matter will ensure you get off on the right foot.
2. Remember that you are also the expert
Subject matter experts are unlikely to be eLearning experts. In much the same way that you are probably not the expert in the subject matter of your course. After you have absorbed all the SMEs knowledge, translate it into effective eLearning. Categorise the information gained into three sections:
- What the learner must know
- What the learner should know
- What the learner could know (or ‘nice to haves’)
After you’ve translated the SMEs knowledge, it’s time to apply your eLearning expertise.
3. Don’t speak at your learners, let them ‘do’
Many eLearning courses fall into the trap of overloading their learners with knowledge. Take a step back and let your learners practice the knowledge they’ve learnt. Build interactivity that supports the content. Use system simulations or branching scenarios to let your learners test their knowledge. Create an environment where your learner is comfortable putting their learning to the test, without the fear or risk of failure.
4. Be organised
It seems obvious, but organisation is the key to successful eLearning development. Plus, the bigger the project, the more important this rule becomes. You’ll start your development with a large amount of documents, videos, audio, images and much more. Creating a filing structure from the outset (and sticking to it!) will ensure smooth development.
5. Pay attention to detail
Paying attention to detail is the only way you will create a best-in-class course. You need to ensure that:
- Terminology is correct and consistent throughout the course. For example, does your organisation refer to buyers as ‘customers’ or ‘clients’?
- The design is pixel-perfect. Your learners will notice if a consistent element budges a few pixels out of place when switching slides.
- Your development is flawless. You need to make sure all triggers, layers, buttons etc. are working exactly as expected.
This rule is so important – even the simplest of errors can influence your learner’s concentration!
6. Test, test, test!
This may be the most important rule of all. Ensure your course put to the test before giving your seal of approval. Test it yourself, get your team to test it, and get the SME to test it. Gather feedback and revise your course.
And here’s a bonus tip.
Do not leave testing until the last minute!
Every course will need more than one revision. Don’t leave your testing until the eleventh hour, make sure you have time to collect feedback and put it in place.