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The E-coach Blog
Six factors to quality e-learning design
By Alison Bickford on January 21, 2012
I am working with Subject Matter Experts to manage the development of an e-learning course. What can I do to help the SMEs understand what is required for a quality e-learning outcome?
There are a couple of overarching things we need to achieve when working with SMEs:
- Help SMEs become discerning of what quality is. We can do this by exposing them to quality e-learning examples and critiquing these as a group (see checklist below).
- Help SMEs realise that their content as they know it (copious pages of text) cannot all be included into an e-learn. E-learning requires instructional design that will help enable learners to understand and digest the content in a meaningful and time efficient way. Typically, content from the SME needs to be culled and then carefully chunked and sequenced for includion into the e-learn. Learners can be educated on how to access and use the ‘detail’ (such as a policy, guidelines etc) as and when they need it.
To help critique the quality of an e-learning course, here is a small checklist:
Checklist of e-learning quality
1. Content needs to be succinct and concise, so that it is easy to digest and interesting. To get a concept of what I mean here, have a look at Cathy Moore’s excellent Slideshare Dump The Drone
2. Lots of meaningful activity. There should be learning activities throughout the course to help learners build confidence in their understanding of the important concepts. Cathy Moore talks about leading with activity, and then introduce the content that reinforces the activity outcomes.
3. The visual design needs to appear organised. There must be consistent use of font, space, colour, graphics and multimedia. This puts the learner at ease and minimises cognitive overload.
4. Navigation must be consistent throughout the course and options kept to a minimum so as to not confuse the learner on what they need to do.
Tip: For Articulate users who add Engage templates amongst screens created in Presenter, please remove the Engage navigation at the top. Keep to one navigation at the bottom of the screen.
5. Graphics and multimedia are thoughtfully used to create real-life context about the topic at hand. Use graphics to reduce text burden, such as flowcharts.
TIP: Be prepared to spend 50% of your development time on sourcing and creating congruent, meaningful graphics.
6. Attention to detail. Make the learner feel as though the e-learn has been created with love by ensuring there are no typos, that text is properly aligned & consistently spaced, there is a consistent editorial style throughout etc.
TIP: Use plenty of testers to proof your e-learning course before going live.
There is, of course, a lot more to achieving quality e-learning. However, if you are able to at least have SMEs agree to ensure they achieve these six factors, then this will go a long way towards a quality outcome.
If you don’t have quality e-learning on-hand to critique with your SMEs, have a look at some e-learning provider websites for examples.
One Response to “Six factors to quality e-learning design”
Rebecca Carter said on January 23rd, 2012 at 8:56 am
Great post – thanks Alison!