So how do we turn content into a fully functioning eLearning module to support our performance gap and/or learning objectives?
Firstly before you even consider commencing this part of eLearning development, make sure you have your definition locked down. In the definition phase we really want to identify the correct performance issue, the intended audience, the type of interface that will support the learning goal, what content is already available, and that our learner will be able to access and interact with the material, with a relative level of comfort.
We also want to identify who will be responsible for the various deliverables. Finally we need to review, evaluate and confirm that everyone is on the same page and in agreement as to what is being built, before moving to the development phase.
Got all that? If not, go back and make sure you have it sorted, it makes the following phases of the development and delivery much easier to complete! Here are 3 steps to turning your content into eLearning.
1. Estimating the size
How long is the module going to be? It’s critical to visualise the end product from the start. Otherwise you might finish your build and suddenly discover that it’s going to take someone90 minutes to work through it!
Have you ever tried to stare at a computer screen for 30 minutes let alone an hour and a half? If you want your learner to run screaming and kicking from their computer saying how much they dislike eLearning, this is a sure fire way to do it!
Your eLearning should consist of short modules. This means that every screen and every minute counts in your scope estimation. It’s critical that you are thinking in terms of number of screens and keeping a tight rein on scope to make good on promises to learners that this will be a short, effective learning intervention.
Here is a general guide to estimating time for a module:
- 5-7 minutes per learning objective.
- 1-3 learning objectives per module.
- 15-30 minutes per module.
Even 30 minutes is pushing the friendship with your learner if the module has limited engagement. A good rule of thumb is plan on each of your slides taking about a minute to work through. If your module looks like running over the 30 minute mark,ask yourself if you can break it down into two shorter modules. Your learner will thank you, and it also ensures that you are hitting the ‘must know’ information, and it’s not being crowded out by the ‘nice to know’ content.
2. Breaking down or ‘chunking’ content
‘Chunking’ refers to the strategy of breaking down the information into bite-sized pieces, so that the brain can easily digest the new information. Break your content into modules, your modules into sections and your sections into screens.
Each chunk represents a key topic or concept, and each key topic or concept should be on a single slide. A great way to work this out is to visualise these chunks as items on the main menu of your module. Chunking content well assists you in determining the ‘must know’ items from the ‘nice to know ’ones.
The‘must know’ will go into your module, whereas the ‘nice to know’ can be relegated to the resource section of your player. At the end of this step you should have a list of information chunks. It’s wise to review these with your Subject Matter Expert (SME) at this point, to confirm you’ve broken the content into logical components, and that there are no key points missing.
3. Locating the content
Where is all of your content located? In some cases this may be obvious, for example policy/procedure documents, existing face to face training content etc.
In other cases, it may be located within the head of your SME, or within other documents like emails, performance appraisal or counselling reports, corporate best practice manuals and so forth. It’s important to identify where you are going to get the content from at the outset.
There’s no point creating an interactive branching scenario based on case studies, if those case studies don’t already exist. By identifying the location of information at the start of a project, it eliminates the risk of surprises during development when you realise there aren’t any case studies to support the interaction approach!
Of course you can change the approach OR you can find an SME in a hurry to provide those case studies, but it is more effective to uncover these issues in advance so there are no delays during the development phase.
Need help with developing your eLearning content? Get in contact with us to find out some ways we can offer a solution.