What I mean is that I want to ensure a person who is new to e-learning:
a) knows what they are getting into from an effort perspective (a topic of many blog posts in the past), and
b) doesn't think e-learning development is as simple as dumping content into a rapid authoring tool, branding it and sending it out into the world of unsuspecting learners and customers. I want the person who is new to e-learning to understand what quality looks like, and to become knowledgeable and skilled in four key areas.
Understand what quality looks like
It's important to develop a mental model of what quality looks like, from the perspective of the target audience. Many learners these days are sophisticated consumers of multimedia. They won't tolerate poor quality. So we need to develop a benchmark, a set of quality parameters. The E-Learning Academy has tools, resources and courses on this very topic.
Become knowledgeable and skilled in 4 key areas
If you are the sponsor of an e-learning project, it is useful to become knowledgeable in four key areas so that you can communicate and work effectively with your e-learning developer. If you are going to develop e-learning yourself, then you need to develop four key skills.
1. E-Learning Instructional Design
This skill is a subset of traditional Instructional Design (ID), because the multimedia aspects of e-learning enable additional instructional techniques compared with paper-based ID. Becoming knowledgeable in e-learning ID allows you to collaboration effectively with your e-learning developer. If you wat to become developer yourself, then be sure to network with others to develop different perspectives on how you can approach content and interactivity.
Tips: Attend workshops. Google e-learning instructional design thought leaders such as Cathy Moore and Nicole White. Get your first module, video or webinar designed and developed by a professional, and repeat the instructional approach for subsequent e-learning of the same series.
2. Visual Design Skills
Hand in hand with e-learning instructional design, visual design is pivotal to creating context, maintaining interest, reducing text burden and reinforcing narration. Additionally, ensuring a clean layout helps learners stay focused.
Tips: Read up on multimedia design, website design and online accessibility. Review online courses with colleagues and discuss your observations.
3. Multimedia Production and Authoring
Authoring tools such as Storyline, Articulate Studio, Captivate and Lectora are relatively easy to use. However, there is a big difference between knowing a tool well enough to get out of trouble, and knowing advanced techniques that really make your content fly. The better you know the tool, the easier it is for you to understand how the features can be maximised to create learning interactivity and visual interest.
Tips: Get training from an expert. Get your first efforts critiqued by an e-learning expert (I'm happy to help here). Get your first module developed by a professional, and repeat the authoring approach for subsequent e-learning of the same series.
4. E-Learning Project Management
Whether you're working with an internal project team or with an external e-learning provider, projects can quickly unravel. Use project management techniques to scope requirements, monitor deliverables, uncover issues and keep communication transparent.
Tips: E-Learning Academy members have access to specific e-learning project templates which can help you to quickly develop the project governance you need.
Before starting e-learning, be sure to do your homework. Complete and investigation and analysis to ensure your effort will be worth the return. And actively build knowledge and skills in e-learning design, development and management. Don't be surprised if the early year or two of your strategy becomes all-consuming.
Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment.