Now that e-Learning is all the rage, you’re no doubt tempted to create your own courses. And why wouldn’t you be? They’re cheap, they’re simple (once you get a few tricks down) and they provide your workers with the instruction they need to do their jobs well and help your company succeed.
To that end, we thought it might be helpful to round up some resources on creating your first e-Learning course. Whether your goal is to create lessons for use in the office, at home or on the road, this mini-guide will cover the basics of getting your first e-course up and running.
Get Help If You Need It
First and foremost, don’t shy away from getting help. Doing something for the first time is always daunting, and adding new technology to the mix doesn’t help. Instructional designers are trained not only in the use of such technologies, but in the rigors of planning lessons, anticipating and testing for learner outcomes, and making the whole package visually appealing. Don’t hold back when you need assistance.
Decide On Your Content
Before you can begin putting your courses together, you must choose which material to cover. If you’re really not sure what you need to teach your employees (which might be the case with, say, a new team or a group of new hires), try using a pre-assessment to find out how much they know.
Choose a Structure
Once you’ve got material picked, it’s time to structure it. Think of a textbook from school: a broad subject (say, biology) is divided into chapters, which are in turn divided into sections, which are then divided into paragraphs. Breaking down material into digestible chunks helps learners, well, learn. If you’re not quite sure how you might go about this, read more about structuring e-Learning courses here.
Learn to Use PowerPoint Well
While it’s certainly not the only means of e-course creation, many people find PowerPoint to be the easiest and best way to create lessons. It has a wide range of capabilities that make it perfect for self-learning as well as presentations. For instance, PowerPoint triggers help you make your course interactive, and there are lots of ways you can gamify your courses, such as making a Jeopardy game.
Use Media to Instruct Learners
Powerful courses use media well. Most people are visual, and most people learn by doing, so keep those facts in mind while you design. If you need to train call center workers, for instance, consider using a conversation scenario. Screen capture tools, on the other hand, can help you show employees how to use a certain program, log a piece of information, research an issue and much more.
There’s not much point in carefully crafting an e-Learning course if you can’t tell how much workers learned at the end of it. That’s why it’s important to quiz and test. Here are several ideas for creating quizzes, especially geared toward teachers. You might even use quizzes to create branching scenarios. This is a fantastic way to tailor e-Learning courses to the individual’s level of expertise, and obviates the need to create many different courses to satisfy all levels of learning.
Test Your Courses
Before you put them out to employees en masse, road test your courses with a few individuals. Take the time to incorporate feedback on what works, what doesn’t, areas of confusion, etc. While it might seem like a time-waster, you’ll waste a lot more time rolling out courses on company time that don’t get the job done. Take the time to beta test your courses, multiple times if necessary.
Once you get better at creating courses, you can dismiss hired help and do it yourself. You will probably begin to vary the structure and testing mechanisms of your courses, and create different lessons for different employees, subjects or divisions in your office. Eventually, you’ll have at your disposal a robust set of skills for training the people that matter to you and your business.