16 Instructional Design Tips for e-Learning Development
In order to create effective training in e-Learning, there are certain design principles and models that should be leveraged. Here are 16 useful tips to sharpen your own training programs:
1. Start Strong: Make it a point to have a very memorable, solid beginning to your course using case studies, videos, testimonials, or statistics.
2. Set SMART Objectives: The objectives of your e-Learning should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
3. Remember Learning Styles: Present information in a variety of ways to appeal to the various learning styles.
4. Include Instructions: Navigating an elearning course shouldn’t be a mystery, always include instructions so users don’t get stuck.
5. Use First-Person: Write the content so that it uses a first-person voice.
6. Assessments Matter: Always include some form of assessment, but not just on memorizing. Also include questions to assess business context.
7. Avoid Distraction: Don’t overdue the graphics, sometimes simple text is enough to drive home a point. Stick with a standard color-scheme.
8. Include Exercises: Engage your learners by including exercises to split-up the content.
9. Pay Attention to Course Flow: Your courses should follow a logical progression and navigational pattern so as to avoid confusion.
10. Break-up Content: Don’t overload a screen with too much text or too many graphics. Breaking-up content into smaller chunks will allow for better learning retention.
11. Use the variety of media available in eLearning to serve different learning styles, such as auditory and visual learners. Use narration, graphics, and text, but not necessarily all at the same time.
12. Use self-paced instruction: Adult learners generally prefer to have some-or even a lot-of control over the learning process. They want to take responsibility for their own learning. This favors using self-paced instruction, providing tools for assessing one’s own progress, and implementing the freedom to choose among different learning activities (where possible).
13. Provide a “gate” that learners must pass before they advance to more difficult content: This may be a test, a demonstration, or a role-play activity.
14. Use pre-tests: if your students possess different backgrounds and levels of experience, consider using a pre-test to “sort them out,” and even allowing the more advanced learners to “opt out” of content that is too elementary for them.
15. Use post-test: once you have constructed a course, have actual learners, not just other developers, test it. They can provide real-world insight and feedback that you can use to improve the course.
16. Consider developing "job aids" “cheat sheets,” “quick reference cards,” or other reminders based on your course content, which learners can easily access while they are on the job.
In short, understanding your learners’ needs, and applying common sense to meet them, will dramatically improve your training programs.