Custom eLearning Content Development heavily relies on choosing the right strategies. It is directly related to picking up the right Learner Management or eLearning software that applies to the type of user you serve. We live in the digital era and there is really no excuse for developing mind-numbing eLearning content full of repetitive features that bore users to tears. Custom eLearning is about crafting online training experiences that cater to the respective needs of the employees. Keeping them engaged is synonymous to
designing high quality custom eLearning programs with interactive features such as animations, simulations, relevant branching scenarios, etc. Such programs involve employees in the learning process and create a smooth flow and transition from one topic to the next.
Tips for Successful Custom eLearning Content Development
1. Understand Your Audience
So here’s first what you gotta figure out about your learners:
- What do they know/don’t know about what is going to be taught?
- What is their background?
- Are they from only one country, are they international?
- What motivates them to learn? Are they interactive doers?
- Do they already know this content ? If so, give them a pre-assessment so they can skip to the more advanced section of the eLearning so they don’t have to take the basics again. Believe me, they’ll appreciate it, we all know the saying, “time is money”.
You need to get into their heads as you start to formulate and design your content with them in mind
2. Get close to your subject matter experts and facilitators
Have a really good sit down with them. Bonus points if the course has been taught before and there’s a facilitator with previous subject knowledge, or better yet, if the SME has already been the classroom facilitator.
3. Pilot Test After You’ve Tested
Make sure when you think you’re done with the eLearning and you have tested it and have it on your LMS, that you have a handful of learners that can be your control testers, before you flip the switch to go global with the rest of the organisation. Your testers should be selected as a diverse group from as many types of avenues of your audience that’ll be taking the eLearning.
Create on your LMS, a course forum or blog that can list a series of questions to get them thinking. Have room for them to indicate and identify things that are not working properly as they go through the eLearning, where they can add comments, indicate things that are not quite understood, and can add ideas they have. They may provide you with actual use cases they’ve had in the field or in the office that have happened to them. With a cutoff deadline in place for feedback look through the material. With your SME and facilitator, analyze some of the comments and make easy changes. If there is something that would be “nice to have” that would take a while to include in the eLearning but would stifle the dissemination of the project, just keep the project going and fit it in if you have time for the next group of learners.
Depending upon the project, disburse your eLearning increasingly larger and larger groups. If there are some people that would like to comment about the eLearning, have them email you. Feedback is always great for future eLearning projects.
4. Interactivity Of The Head And Not Of The Hand
Perhaps it’s the meaning or nature of “interactivity” that we should re-look at, for a moment, in the context of engagement. For many, “interactivity” means to click or to tap somewhere on the screen in order for something to happen. That’s what I call “interactivity of the hand”. We should instead be focusing on “interactivity of the head” by trying to engage learners’ minds instead of just their hands. Even giving them something to reflect over, or getting them to think in a particular direction based on pointers, can be considered an “interactivity”, despite there being no clicks, taps, or drag and drops involved.
5. Check Existing Resources
There are many online repositories, such as www.merlot.org, www.oercommons.org, www.creativecommons.org, containing high-quality learning objects, as well as other websites with links to interactive resources, such as www.hhmi.org/biointeractive, www.lifescienceinteractive.com, which you can make use of. These resources are either freely available or can be used under a Creative Commons license. Make sure that you use HTML5 and not Flash-based resources, to ensure that they can be properly viewed on all browsers.
6. Choose Your Information Carefully
If you develop your own resource, you will want to find reliable and scientific sources of information, such as text, graphics, and videos, which explain facts and concepts in a clear and concise manner. Many textbook publishers share their glossaries online and provide an “educational resources” section on their websites, including free multimedia, graphics, videos, animations, lesson plans and handouts. Many news producers and research institutes provide access to educational videos and other materials. There are also many initiatives, such as www.ibiology.org, which provide helpful educational resources, including presentations by scientists on scientific topics. If you are having difficulty finding high-quality content, contact the librarian at your university. Librarians are incredible sources of information and can help you search the latest electronic databases, e-journals and e-books for the content you need
7. Include Good Quality Multimedia, Graphics, Videos, And Animations
There is nothing worse than a fuzzy, low-resolution image. If you can’t find good quality graphics, try making your own or find a gifted student or colleague who can help you. There are some great online resources, such as www.canva.com, and apps, such as “Paper by Fifty-Three” for iPad to help you explore your inner creative child.
8.Measurement And Impact Analysis
Evaluate, measure, and validate the learning effectiveness or learnability. Use analytics for continuous improvement of your learning design.
9. Be Social
Complementing the training with social features such as discussion forums, surveys or group activities can enhance the learners’ experience, as well as foster a long-lasting connection. Allowing for peer discussion and learning is also a great way to deal
with case studies and scenarios that do not have one clear answer, but can be approached in multiple ways. eLearning does not have to be a solitary activity. We all already communicate online on multiple platforms, so why not for learning purposes as well?
10. Get A Clear Idea Of The Learning Outcomes
Clarity on the learning outcomes helps you create the right online course that meets the needs of stakeholders. Conduct a kick-off meeting with the stakeholders to know why they need the course and how they expect it to help the learner.