Elements of eLearning

The Elements of eLearning are components of full eLearning
course creation. You may prefer traditional, evolving eLearning models, a combination of both or somewhere in between. No matter your approach, I view the elements of eLearning as providing a flexible path that works
best for your organization.

I can work on several aspects of your project. I have a particular interest in accessibility related tasks. Check out Freelance Services to learn more.

Following are the elements of eLearning for full-course creation.

Collaboration

Collaboration eLearning icon

Good communication is the key element for successful collaboration. Therefore, it’s important to establish fluid communication. The first priority is to perform a training needs analysis. The beginning is the best time to see if eLearning is what your organization needs. Once the training needs analysis confirms that eLearning is the right solution, we have a project kickoff meeting. It’s my job to ask you questions and listen to your needs and goals.

At our project kickoff meeting, we discuss several important questions.
The intention is to establish:

  • course purpose
  • your audience
  • clarify course objectives
  • expectations
  • current resources for content
  • deliverable dates
  • technical considerations
  • who handles what – identify SMEs and their roles
  • review cycles
  • who signs off on the project – identify project stakeholders and their roles

In other words, establishing this key information helps your course meet deadlines and stay on budget. As a result of this meeting, a project plan is created to keep everyone on the same page. The Collaboration element of eLearning is an important aspect in every element, keeping everyone open to new ideas and conversations.

Included in discussions are the following priorities:

Accessibility

The beginning of a project is the the best time to talk about accessible content. Creating content for everyone means at the very least, accessible eLearning. Therefore, all courses I build for this portal will be done in Rise 360 and Storyline 360 and will follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG 2.1 AA standards. Equally important, all courses will follow Revised Section 508 Guidelines.

Inclusive Design

My goal is to create eLearning that is user friendly for everyone. And both Accessibility and Inclusive design recognize that disability happens at the point of interaction between people and their environment.

I see Inclusive design, which includes accessibility, as part of the whole creative process, rather than a separate model. For instance, inclusive perspective works with whatever model we use.

Accessibility laws guide a designer to address the most common disabilities. But accessible content doesn’t have to separate learners. Inclusive design empowers people with different learning styles. And there is no typical learner. So, I try to keep the broadest possible audience in mind. That means staying mindful of technologies people use to access the web. As a result, you don’t need specialized adaptions. Inclusive and accessibility are built in from the beginning.

Multi-Device

Long gone are the days of desktop-only eLearning. Subsequently, users expect to take their courses on whatever device they have handy. So, planning ahead helps ensure to your organization and your courses are multi-device ready. Consequently, we go over a few questions. We want to make sure your learners can access your course on whatever device they choose.

Content

Content eLearning icon

My goal is to work with what materials you have available. I am a strong advocate in repurposing your content. If you’re interested in seeing an example of how a blog can become an eLearning course, check out Repurposing Your Content Overview.

I work with you to pull together your resource materials, such as:

  • Word documents
  • PDFs
  • Brochures
  • Graphic files for logo and artwork
  • Still photos
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Blog content

After gathering your content resources, we collaborate to decide what is used in your course. As a result, your resource materials become elements of the interactive e-learning experience.

For example, text becomes audio script content and photos and graphics become visual elements. I can edit existing audio and work with a video editor for needed video edits. Also, I can produce any needed new audio and/or video.

This approach to your content element of eLearning helps save you money and time. Consequently, at the end of the project, you will have an archive of resource materials for future courses.

Process

Process eLearning icon

The Process element of eLearning is where things really heat up. Design Models provide structure and learning theories provide scientifically based insights into how people learn and guidance for best reaching your learners.

Design

Every eLearning project needs an instructional design model to provide structure and guide the workflow. Also, the design phase is where the learning theory has influence. The goal is to produce an engaging course that provides established objectives that your learners actually learn. Two factors that can affect deciding which design is best for you are time and budget.

The Design model creates the overall learner experience. Aspects of the design process include the overall course look and feel, course objectives, interactions, and interactive assessments to make sure objectives are learned.

Instructional Design Models

Instructional design models vary in their approach. Following is a brief overview of each model. Of the many models out there, these are some of the most well-established.

PADDIE Model

PADDIE is the traditional ADDIE Learning Model with the additional phase of Planning. Like ADDIE, PADDIE utilizes a waterfall approach based on a systems approach. Each phase prepares for the next phase. Phases include planning, analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. Subsequently, more phases results in more time. However, that time is well spent. Especially, if you decide this model works best for your organization.

SAM Models

Based on an agile approach, SAM uses iterative cycles throughout the creative process. You can repeat each phase as many times as needed. However, you still save overall time. SAM instructional design models skip the storyboard and start with a prototype. For this reason, you see the look and feel of the course develop along the way.

SAM 1 is great for smaller projects. Phases are evaluation, design, develop and repeat until everyone is happy with the course.

SAM 2 adds more phases. Consequently, Sam 2 is often used for larger projects. Throughout both SAM 1 & 2 iterative cycles, you’re constantly analyzing and improving the course.

Development/Production

Development depends on your model. PADDIE is the linear flow of process. So, development comes after design. In the SAM models, development is an interactive phase right after analysis and design and just before evaluation.

PADDIE Model

The PADDIE model, the content becomes part of the storyboard including graphics, photos, videos, audio script, text, documents, etc…. SMEs continue their input as the course storyboard begins taking shape. After written approval of the storyboard, the course goes into production of a prototype and content creation.

SAM 1 Model

If you are working with SAM 1 model, design, development and production are already in progress. SAM 1 consists of three steps: evaluation, design, and development. So, you can be reviewing revised prototypes of the course very quickly. Thanks to the iterative agile approach cycles.

SAM 2 Model

There is a bit more to SAM 2 model. You get more prep time with the Savvy Start. This includes gathering information and a brainstorming and prototyping meeting. The entire model process also has three phases. However, each phase consists of more steps. As a result, SAM 2 is good for larger projects with more complexity. On the other hand, by skipping the storyboard phase, your development has already begun.

Learning Theories

Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction and the Adult Learning Theory. More to come on learning theories.

Implementation

Implementation eLearning icon

Once the responsible person has signed off on the course development and production, it’s time for the final phase. The Implementation eLearning element begins with making your course live for review.

Review

The first phase of review is uploading the course to its intended delivery platform. An internal review makes sure everything is working correctly. Stay mindful of two equally important aspects. First is to make sure the Learning Management System or LMS technology works the way your audience needs. And second, ensuring the course works on the LMS the way you envisioned. I have a checklist to make sure everything is covered. Most importantly, make your voice heard with your feedback! We can have 2 rounds of this review process. Agreeing to a specific number of reviews helps the project stay on schedule and on budget and hopefully keeps everyone focused.

The second phase is a beta test of the course with a selected small audience including learners using assistive technology. Obtaining feedback from a live audience is so helpful. We use their feedback to make the final tweaks to the course. Once technical and course issues are resolved, you are ready to take your course live to your learners.

Evaluation

The beta test group completes a thorough post-course evaluation. This immediate feedback ensures the course content and technology meet expectations.

Once the course is live, your learners complete an immediate learner satisfaction post-course evaluation covering several categories. The collected feedback provides valuable information to improve this course and future courses.

If you need evaluation that goes deeper, then the Kirkpatrick model is the way to go. The Kirkpatrick model was developed in the 1950s by Dr. Don Kirkpatrick. The model was updated and modified in 2010 by Kirkpatrick Partners. This post course evaluation measures four levels; learner satisfaction, knowledge or skill acquisition, application of new knowledge or skills, and the achievement of final goals.

In conclusion, these elements of eLearning are the building blocks to creating accessible, interactive and effective courses for you and your learners. I look forward to working with you. Contact me, so we can get started.