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Rapid E-learning Development: 6 Tips on How to Avoid Quicksand

1. Start with a good template and assets

A well set up template will ensure that you have a good base to start with. Here are some points for setting up your template:

  • It should be clean, simple and flexible.

  • Defined fonts, colour schemes and icon packs are all essential.

  • Consider the look-and-feel, will it be the latest flat style? Skeuomorphic or Retro looking for example?

  • Standard course templates also require module titles, section titles and course objectives.

  • Figure out a navigational structure including how a user will progress between slides and whether they will access a menu with links to all pages.

  • Maximise screen real estate

  • Ensure the pixel dimensions will fit well in your LMS platform

2. Storyboard in Powerpoint

I have worked in many organisations who use all different storyboarding approaches but using powerpoint is by far the most effective in terms of speed and quality, here is why:

  • You can prepare all your graphics and slide layouts in Powerpoint.

  • It is easy to get an overview of and change the structure and flow of the course, especially in slide sorter view- note for large courses I always use section breaks to make life even easier.

  • It is easy to share and update- send it to your content experts, reviewers and editors so they can add or edit slides, as opposed to published e-learning files.

  • Powerpoint slides can be built to be fairly close to the final look-and-feel of the course.

  • You can easily re-use Powerpoint slides for facilitator-led or other e-learning courses, just open it up and grab the ones you need.

3. Content is Key

No matter how pretty or interactive your e-learning course is, the primary importance is to get the content right. Analyse whether you can improve the structure and flow of your course. Make sure the slides are clearly and concisely written and always have explanations for graphs or diagrams. Introduce information step-by-step with a level of assumed knowledge that matches your target audience.

4. Subject Matter Expert (SME) Input

The reality here is that SME input takes time, so the faster you want your course to progress, the harder you need to work to minimise this input.

Some options for reducing SME times include:

  • Set a meeting and go through all the slides which you have questions about.

  • Depending on the content area, use Dr Google as a SME. Be sure to add references to the course for anything you find.

  • Clearly mark slides that need input or review with a red box.

  • Give SMEs a heads up when sending the storyboard to them and be clear about your expected timeframes and deadlines.

5. Review Cycles

Getting a course through the several cycles of review required can pose some major hurdles in terms of timelines. Ensure your reviewers are lined up and ready to review courses by sending an email in advance and then letting them know timeframes and expectations.

6. User Testing and Accessibility

These days it is no longer as simple as checking for browser compatibility, developers must also consider the variety of devices a learner may be using. Will your course be supported solely for computer use? Or will it also need to run on Tablets or Mobile phones?

Following these steps will allow you to rapidly build high quality e-learning and avoid the pitfalls that consume time and energy. If you need help from expert learning designers, please get in contact with us.


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