6 Minutes of reading
3 secrets to a successful e-learning module
What makes a successful e-learning module? It needs to be well-defined, well-written and well-executed. Find out more below!
In our digital age, e-learning modules are a vital component of any robust, well-rounded training programme. Luckily for you, Rise Up has both the tools and the knowledge to help you create the perfect e-learning courses for your business. Join us as we share the 3 secrets to creating a successful e-learning module…
Secret #1: Successful e-learning modules are well-defined
When embarking on creating an e-learning module, it is essential that you first define the scope of the project. The more precise you can be about this, the more successful the execution will be.
Let’s use a course module about IT security as an example. In the planning stage, you should consider context, audience, objectives, deadlines and resources. When making these decisions, be sure to communicate with the person who requested the module (we’ll refer to them as the client), whether that’s someone from within your organisation or an external company.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Why is a module on this topic required?
- Do any existing face-to-face or digital modules cover a similar topic?
- Are there experts within the business who may be able to help?
- How big/small is the audience for this module?
- What is the audience’s existing knowledge/seniority level?
- What skills/knowledge should learners have gained by the end of the module?
- What is the deadline for completing the module?
- What kind of financing do we have to develop the module?
- Who is available to work on the module?
The answers to these questions will have a big impact on how the module is formulated. For example, if the target audience only consists of 10 people, it might be better to conduct the training face-to-face. Then again, if 10 new people take the module every month for 2 years, a digital approach is the more suitable training option.
To ensure the e-learning module achieves the desired results, it can be helpful to set clear objectives early on. A great way to do this is to build a list around the following prompt: "At the end of the module, learners should know…" Once the module has been created, return to this list and put it to the test!
In summary, the first secret to a successful e-learning module is to define its scope and goals well in advance. The stronger the foundation, the more effective the resulting training content will be.
Secret #2: Successful e-learning modules are well-written
Once the context for your e-learning module has been established, it’s time to focus on the content itself. Continuing with the IT security example, if you are developing the module within your company, you can request information and resources from the IT department to help you build your training programme. It’s also likely that you’ll have a designer to help you with the technical aspects of creating the content.
Once you’ve had input from the relevant stakeholders, it’s your job to write engaging content for the learners. After all, no matter how impressive the technological aspects of a course, learners will gain little from digital training that lacks actual substance. So, you must ensure that your e-learning module is well-written. You can do this by completing two key steps.
Firstly, write a synopsis. This is a brief outline of the module—from where it starts to how it concludes. Be sure to include all topics that need to be covered (keeping in mind the objectives you set in stage 1). You might start, for example, by covering the consequences of leaving a work computer unlocked, and end by summarising the various ways employees can ensure their devices are secure and protected.
Before proceeding onto the next stage, make sure your synopsis is approved by the client.
Step 2 is to write a storyboard of the module. This is much easier to do once you have a clear synopsis to refer to. A storyboard lays out the entire module screen by screen, just like a cartoon strip tells a story. For example, the first board is likely to show your company logo, the title of the module and a “start” button. Prepare to spend quite a bit of time on this stage, as the storyboard needs to be thorough and cover all aspects of the course. Include descriptions of any media involved in each screen, like videos or voice overs.
It is important that you share the storyboard with both the developer and the client before it is set in stone. They are likely to have edits in mind and your storyboard may go through multiple phases before it is finalised and sent to production. This might feel time-consuming, but it is much easier to implement changes at this point, as opposed to when it is in digital form.
Secret #3: Successful e-learning modules are well-executed
After establishing the framework and perfecting the content, you may feel like a lot of time has been spent developing the module. It can therefore be tempting to rush to the finish, but resist this urge!
Successful e-learning modules are well-executed. To achieve this you must ensure that, once up and running, the training content is thoroughly tested. This should be done by the team that worked on it, as well as outsiders who can provide fresh pairs of eyes.
Let’s start with internal testing. As soon as the e-learning module is finished, do a run-through yourself as if you are a learner. You’re looking for everything from spelling mistakes and broken links, to sequencing issues and missing sound. Keep in mind that learners will be accessing the module both from work and at home. It is therefore important to test the module on different devices and web browsers.
When you are happy with how the module is running, distribute it amongst people outside of the project and request feedback. Someone who is not familiar with the material can often spot mistakes that you miss. They can also provide an unbiased opinion on how clear the information is and what they learned from the module.
Once you’ve ensured that the module is finished to a high standard, you need to deploy it and spread the word! To do this you can use marketing techniques to really sell the training to employees. For example, you could organise a competition amongst team members to see who can gain the highest score.
3 secrets to a successful e-learning module: summary
A successful e-learning project is well-defined, well-written and well-executed. The process of creating it is also extremely rewarding in itself. Some people can be sceptical about the effectiveness of e-learning, so make sure the digital training content you produce proves the naysayers wrong!