DIY eLearning – Things to consider
So you want to make some eLearning. This is good. This is aspirational, and people should be aspirational. However, it is also good to be aware of what you’re getting into, as there are few things worse in life than frustrated aspirations.
One of the trickier things about developing eLearning is that it crosses into a number of different disciplines, and this is the reason that many home made eLearning projects end up being a bit – well, awful.
So with that in mind, here are a few things to consider when planning and developing your own eLearning. I will add more things as they come to mind, and hopefully they prove useful to someone somewhere.
What do you do best?
Since you’re developing this training yourself, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’re operating within a limited budget. Making again the point that eLearning crosses many disciplines, it’s unlikely that you are going to be totally excellent at all of those things, and you’re going to achieve the best result by:
- Evaluating what it is that you do best
- Getting in professionals to help you with the bits you don’t do best
Getting professionals to help you doesn’t necessarily mean getting them to actually do all of the work. It could, for example, mean getting someone to develop you a couple of templates that you can then reuse.
As far as budget is concerned, the objective should be to achieve the most professional outcome possible by identifying areas where your investment can support you in areas where you are not at your strongest, and (ideally) where it can deliver you reusable assets.
So, for example – I am not a visual designer by any means. I can do straight forward, workable layouts when I work within an existing framework, but I struggle to develop concepts from scratch when working with a blank page. As a result, I make sure I get a professional designer to do the system interface design for any project I work on.
Design of course interface
Regardless of the technology used to develop your training, any training materials developed will be delivered within an interface. Interface basically means the container the course materials are delivered through, and the styles that are applied to the presented content.
Designing a course interface at the start of a project ensures that everything you develop is presented in a consistent way, and this creates a much more professional impression.
Interface design can include things like:
- Heading styles
- Text content styles
- Layouts for different presentation types
- Buttons and other interactive elements
- Assessment questions
Options for designing a course interface are:
- Developing a series of initial designs using template designs, template assets and layouts within the selected development tool/s – this can be difficult to do consistently, but is more cost effective that getting a designer in
- Engaging a professional designer to develop and refine design concepts – this could be tricky, but it is worth it if you:
- Already know a professional designer who does good work and who you trust, or
- If you have the time and money to go through the process of researching who is available and finding the person who is the best match for you
If you do have a flair for design, you should absolutely give it a bash, but do make sure that a) you’re not the only one who thinks you have a flair for design, and b) that you look at other people’s eLearning designs first – while eLearning interfaces are similar in some ways to other web interfaces, they do have some specific rules that you’ll need to bear in mind.
So that’s a couple of considerations – the next thing that you really need to consider is the method of delivery that you’ll be using for your training.