Tips for designing e-learning
First decide if you are designing your e-learning strategy alone or in a team. This post will consider techniques to design e-learning on your own. I am also assuming you have the technical expertise to create your own content.
Start by thinking of the last course you attended:
• Did it hold your attention?
• Was the content of the material appropriate to the level of the course? For example was it too hard, too easy. Did it use plain English?
• How did you progress through the material? Could you fast track if you needed to? Did you have to do everything – even content you already knew? Were there opportunities to practice? Were the practice activities compulsory or did you have a choice? Was choice important to you?
• How relevant was the learning content to what you were doing at the time? Do you still use it? Has it already become outdated?
With your answers to the above question in mind you need to start to think about what your learner’s need.
For simplicity let’s start with a simple unit of competency. What are the performance criteria for this unit? At this stage it is important to take out as much VET speak as possible (you don't want to confuse your learners). Your learners may want a list of the performance criteria at the commencement of the unit but do they need to know about them throughout the course?
Is there a better way to lead them to the attainment of the performance criteria? I think there is. Decide what exactly it is they need to do or know as a result of this learning.
For example, are we looking at teaching them a skill? What is that skill? The Range Statement and Critical Aspects of Evidence listed in the unit guide can help you to determine this. I sometimes find it helpful to use brainstorming activities, mind mapping techniques or flow charts to help me organise my thoughts. There are some great free e-tools on the web that can help you to do this.
Decide on the content and activities that should be included in the course. I will look at appropriate activities and e-tools that might help in a later post.
Remember to build in a certain level of flexibility. Allow user choice and build in opportunities for your learners to draw on their own experience.
Organise your information into a meaningful form so that you can clearly see the layout, navigation etc. Once again there are some great free web products out there to help you.
Next step is to create your content. Once you have done this you will need to go through a trail phase and evaluation phase. These topics will also be covered in a later post.