In our previous article, I introduced the KISS framework for creating effective e-content, which are essential components of an e-learning course. In this last instalment of our 3-part series, I present the 3-step checklist before you deliver your e-learning course. We will discuss ways in which assessment can be implemented. This is integral to measuring the effectiveness of your e-learning course. We will also touch on the importance of iteration in the review process. Lastly, you will learn how to structure learning paths to meet your learner’s intended objectives and goals.
1) Assess Learners
As I mentioned, every course has learning objectives that are broken down into more learning objectives in the section. In the assessment component, it is important to test the learner’s understanding of these learning objectives. After all, research has proven that retention of information increases when the learner is required to retrieve information about something that he has read (Nielsen, 2011).
Previously, I mentioned that good e-content should consist of bite-sized chunks which last about 7 – 10 mins. The assessment component should ideally be at the end of each chunk of content, testing the understanding of their learning objectives. This allows learners to establish checkpoints to move on within the course.
2) Plan to Gather Feedback and Iterate
Building effective e-learning courses is always an iterative process. During the production of e-learning materials, there would probably have been things that you had overlooked. A review is very important before publishing a course. This is also because the quality of a course lies upon the iterative process of drawing feedback and improving the course.
The diagram on the right illustrates the Successive Approximation Model of e-learning development (Allen). This involves the 3 step process of design, creation and evaluation. At the point of evaluation, it will be very useful to involve your users as they will be able to give you points of improvement in order to improve engagement. It is normally better for iterations to happen from the early stages of course development to reduce costly changes that may occur just right before the launch of the course.
3) Course-Ready? How about Course Paths?
Once you’ve built several courses, think about how you can link courses together to form a learning path for your learners. This helps to improve retention rates and to enhance their learning experiences. By building different course paths, you will be able to guide learners, reuse content and encourage more learning paths to be formed.
For example, if you are building courses for different functions of a company, you can build different learning paths for different departments. Within each department, you can move their learning from basic to advanced, depending on the skills that you are training them for.
All in all, a good e-learning course includes an assessment component for data collection. An iterative design process improves the effectiveness of the course, and learning paths enhance the learning experience of users. Keep these design strategies in mind when you’re planning your e-learning course! Do leave us a comment if you would like to share some of your best practices.