Designing effective eLearning courses: how to assure better results
Designing elearning courses that work is important and there are many solutions available that can help you develop an effective content plan.
If you want to design an effective eLearning course, there are some essential points that you need to keep in mind and that will be the map from which to start. We treated the issues regarding the everyday work of the eLearning Specialist and his/her difficulties connected with his/her freelance condition: the quality of an effective eLearning courses is always the result of a correct mindset in all the phases of production.
In order to design effective eLearning courses and content that are really effective, you must have a clear understanding of the learner’s needs, who will follow your course. It sounds like a trivial statement, but knowing who your students are, and what they are looking for, and why they are looking for an e-learning course, is essential.
Whether you are designing an internal online course for your company or offering e-learning courses in your field of specialisation to external users, it is essentional to know motivation, expectations, pre-existing skills, the background of your potential students and the skills/knowledge they want to acquire. It is also fundamental to know whether learners are familiar with a Learning Management System (LMS).
Working on knowledge
Once you’ve built your “student avatar”, that is, put together the information about your ideal student for the course you want to design, you need to work on what your student wants to learn.
You will then need to establish your learning objectives, which should be gradual, measurable and commensurate with your pre-existing preparation.
Designing effective eLearning courses also means that in the building of the individual course you will have to prepare modules that gradually introduce the student to the subject matter, going to develop the knowledge and skills that are expected.
The e-learning courses must be easy to follow and, as in a building brick game, it is necessary to put a piece on top of the other in order to build the foundations on which the following modules will rest. It is also useful to provide external references, but without exaggerating, so as not to create an excessive cognitive load that may discourage students.
How to deliver the course
Text, images, videos: it is important that you have a clear idea of which tools to use in your e-learning course, also based on what you know about your “student avatar”.
There are different ways of learning, which play on the different stimuli to which each person is subjected. The level of interactivity of the proposed modules also influences the success or failure of an e-learning course.
Infographics, short videos, graphics are all tools that allow you to present information and concepts in a synthetic but attractive way, to keep alive the interest and attention of the student. In addition, the inclusion of checks or quizzes at the end of each module allows the student and also you to get feedback on the progress made and support the motivation to continue the course. Usually this is an element that positively qualifies the designing of effective eLearning courses.
In addition to the final certification, for which the quizzes proposed in itinere may also not be taken into account, it is important to go and investigate the skills actually acquired at the end of the course. This will allow you to understand what worked and what didn’t and measure the effectiveness of your course.
Depending on the results obtained, you will also need to be able to elaborate a questionnaire to be submitted to the students in order to obtain feedback. It is always useful to understand what students have found suitable or unsuitable, so that you can assure the designing of effective eLearning courses.
Who to rely on to design e-learning courses
Once you have established the content, the target audience and how you intend to present your e-learning course, you will have to choose who to entrust with its design.
The advice is to choose different subjects for the different aspects to be developed. In this way you will be responsible for processing the necessary information, measuring the results and feedback from the students, and the same people will act as a reference point for questions or problems that may arise in relation to each aspect.
Management of the e-learning project
To develop your e-learning project you need to use appropriate management tools, which are a sort of premise in order to assure the designing of effective eLearning courses.
Activity planning, distribution of tasks, identification of the development manager, measurement of results: your project management tool will help you to keep track of everything and also to plan the marketing activities necessary for the launch of your course.
For students to choose your e-learning course, especially in the case of courses open to people outside your organisation, it is essential to plan in detail the objectives to be achieved and the ideas to be developed.
You will then have to work on how to propose them to your potential audience and collect reactions and signals of interest in order to translate them into concrete actions for the publicity of your course.
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