Estimating and Organising Content for Effective eLearning

eLearning development

Embarking on the development phase of your eLearning project marks an exciting step forward. After finalising the initial design, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty of content creation. This begins with estimating the amount of content and breaking it down into digestible chunks to help ensure a seamless learning experience for your audience. 

Estimate the amount of content 

It’s critical to visualise the end product from the start. Your eLearning should consist of short modules, rarely longer than 20 minutes of learner time. This means that every screen and every minute counts in your scope estimation. 

Before any detailed work on the scope, take five minutes to get a rough approximation of the scale of the project. 

Here are some guidelines for different content formats:  

PowerPoint: While tools like Articulate can merge multiple slides into a single eLearning screen, you must account for commentary and questions. Assume a one-to-one ratio of PowerPoint slides to eLearning screens. 

Classroom/workshop: Estimate about 10 minutes of eLearning for each hour of classroom time, with each screen representing one minute of output. 

Documents: Plan for one screen per page, summarising information and incorporating questions. Use audio narration to condense dense text and reduce screen numbers. 

System training: Using screen capture tools like Articulate Storyline, the eLearning output will match the time required to demonstrate tasks, including learner simulations and tests. 

Breaking down content 

Next, break the content into chunks, each representing a topic or learning objective. These chunks might correspond to section headings in a table of contents. Aim for manageable, clearly defined pieces of content. It might help to visualise them as items on the main menu (as this is where they’ll probably end up). 

Remember the principle of ‘one screen – one idea.’ Each screen should focus on a single chunk of related information to avoid cognitive overload and enhance learner comprehension. Throughout the process, remember to think in terms of working memory. Is all the content relevant? Will the learner have to hold more than a few things in memory at once? If so, break it down further. 

At the end of this step, you should have a list of information chunks. 

Now is a good time to review the content with your subject matter experts to confirm you’ve broken the content into logical components and no key points are missing. 

Content location 

Another factor to keep in mind is the location or sources of content. This step clarifies resource briefs for developers, highlights gaps, and sets an agenda for additional content gathering. If anything is missing, it’s better to source it now than waiting for gaps to arise further down the development process.  

By carefully defining and chunking your content, you’ll be well on your way to creating effective and engaging eLearning experiences. 

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