There’s a popular misconception that you can create eLearning by simply adding audio to PowerPoint presentations and publishing them online. But in truth, eLearning is much more than that. And web pages, eBooks, videos, or PDFs are NOT eLearning. And neither is:
And why is that? Because ‘Instructional Design’ (creating learning experiences that result in the learner acquiring and applying the newly learned knowledge and skills to the job), an integral part of eLearning, is missing in all these pseudo-eLearning formats.
I. Learning Objectives
A Learning Objective is a statement, in specific and measurable terms, that describes what the learners will be able to do at the end of the course. Each learning objective has 3 components: Performance, Condition, and Criteria.
The importance of learning objectives lies in the fact that they form the basis for deciding the scope of the content, choice of instruction method, assessments, course duration, and cost.
Learning objectives should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a very useful guide for framing learning objectives.
II. ID Strategies
Simply put, an instructional design strategy is a high-level approach of how a topic must be taught to a particular audience. The right instructional design strategy works like a magic potion to engage learners in the learning experience, taking into consideration the:
Here’s an infographic that highlights four creative instructional design strategies that can be used in your eLearning courses.
Other important eLearning strategies include guided learning and game-based learning.
III. eLearning Assessments
The most important thing about assessments is that they should be aligned with the learning objectives. E-learning assessments are of two types – formative and summative.
Formative Assessments reinforce learning, come after every enabling objective during the course, are diagnostic in nature, and always provide feedback.
Summative Assessments indicate the learner’s final achievement in the course, are evaluative, grade learners with “Pass or Fail”, and sometimes provide feedback.
The eLearning seat time determines the cost and time for course development. It is also an important factor that decides whether the learner remains engaged with the course or disengages from it. So, what exactly impacts the seat time of your eLearning course?
|Learning through Exploration and Discovery (LEAD)|
In the absence of an instructor, the engagement quotient of the course will depend on the interactivities in it. Interactivities are opportunities in the course for learners to engage with the content in terms of an action they need to take (such as selecting the right answer). They capture and engage learners’ attention, give them the opportunity to interact with the content, and help them participate actively in the learning process.
There are 4 levels of interactivities, depending on the type of content and degree of learner involvement.
The blueprint of the course is created in the design phase – its look and feel and the instructional strategies for the best possible learning outcomes for your learners. The course is developed with the help of authoring tools in the development phase and is then deployed on the LMS.
Earlier, the ADDIE model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation), a sequential design process, was used extensively for eLearning design and development. But today, it is being replaced by an agile and iterative process.
This phase includes Information Gathering and Savvy Start where:
This phase consists of Project Planning and Additional Design where:
This phase has 4 steps:
Authoring tools are eLearning content development tools that help create engaging and interactive online training programs – not just create, but also edit, review, and design assessments.
Here are some popular eLearning authoring tools and how they help in rapid eLearning.
|Authoring Tool||Features & Advantages|
|Articulate Storyline 360 and Rise|
Storyline 360 helps create high-quality eLearning courses with custom interactivities. Courses can be made multi-device compatible with a single click.
Rise 360 is a fully responsive web-based authoring tool, ideal for digitizing text-based content.
Adobe Captivate 2019 is the tool to create simulations in eLearning courses.
Lectora Online is a web-based as well as a desktop-based authoring tool. It offers collaborative features that enable creating and reviewing eLearning content anytime, anywhere.
iSpring Suite is a very popular authoring tool to convert PowerPoint decks to eLearning. The tool is integrated with PowerPoint, making it simple and user-friendly.
Technology and innovation have made eLearning a sustainable alternative to traditional learning and have also led to some very learner friendly avatars of eLearning.
Microlearning delivers short bites of learning, each addressing a single learning objective. It allows for easy absorption and retention, and helps quickly close skill and knowledge gaps, just-in-time. It can be used in a variety of ways to enhance individual and organizational performance. It helps:
Microlearning assets can be configured in a variety of formats – whiteboard animations, digital flashcards, concept and process maps, quiz-based modules, etc., depending on their function.
Mobile learning is learning that can be accessed by learners through mobile devices from any location. It makes the concept of ‘learn anything, anywhere, anytime’ a reality and can be an effective and accessible option for your organization to support employees (without taking them out of their workflow) and accelerate their time to proficiency.
Studies show that 74% employees use their mobile devices to access training resources, so it’s all the more important to harness the power of mobile devices for your employee training. Mobile learning is especially useful to train ‘always on the move’ employees – salespeople, field service technicians, remote workers, and others who use the mobile extensively in their work.
Mobile learning is also ‘microlearning’ because of its short duration. So, all the benefits of microlearning apply to mobile learning as well:
Additionally, learning Apps:
Organizations face many challenges when it comes to successful eLearning implementation, and that includes resistance from both the management and employees. Your biggest challenge will be the “It-may-be-good-but-it-will-not-work-in-our-company” syndrome. Different groups will have different concerns – about security, effectiveness, development, and infrastructure costs, and so on.
Here are some factors you need to check before implementing eLearning in your organization.
Where eLearning can help sell your products, improve efficiencies, or ensure compliance.
If they are not very tech-savvy, have an action plan to build that skill first.
Required LMS technology and other infrastructure to launch eLearning.
Available content that is clearly aligned to your training objectives.
Organizations face many challenges when it comes to successful eLearning implementation. And there are different challenges at each stage.
|Stage of Implementation||Challenges|
1. Just starting eLearning
Start small with a training that appeals to most employees like compliance or safety.
2. Scaling up eLearning
3. Centralizing all training
eLearning Champions across locations/units and create an organization-wide learning community.
4. Advancing in the journey
Identify ‘Learning Innovators’ to move the company towards becoming a learning organization.
To develop your eLearning in-house or outsource to an eLearning vendor? That is the question!
If you have an internal team of instructional designers, it makes sense to outsource only that component where your inhouse lacks expertise, for instance:
But in case of huge projects or tight timelines, or if you are just starting eLearning in your organization, it might be better to outsource the entire project.
When you outsource eLearning design and development, you get access to experts in training, instructional design, authoring tools expertise, and more. Their pool of resources will make it easy to scale up development. And their strong project management and robust QA processes will ensure development proceeds smoothly, without any unexpected delays.
With eLearning becoming increasingly popular as a cost-effective and efficient training method for businesses, and with hundreds of players in the market, it is becoming more and more difficult to find a good outsourcing vendor. But these questions will help you find the right one: