Creating an online course can be a challenging task. Why? Some people regard eLearning as boring and repetitive. In a survey conducted by School Education Gateway, the second main challenge for teachers in switching to eLearning is how to keep their learners engaged. This factor is also the reason why instructional designers must plan very well before creating an online course. So, how do you create one that captures your learners’ attention and engage them throughout the lesson?
- Before creating an online course, you need to consider what type of eLearning you plan to produce.
- When choosing what type of online course to give employees, the most important thing to consider is the learner’s need.
- Creating an online course starts by gathering and analyzing data or information.
- Choose an eLearning tool or software that will help you bring your design to life.
3 Types of eLearning Courses You Can Create
Before creating your online course, you need to consider what type of eLearning you plan to produce. There are three types of eLearning courses according to their content.
Informative courses focus more on the “what” or the content. They are great for office handouts, onboarding courses, standard operating procedures, soft skills.
Problem-solving courses give opportunities for learners to develop their curious minds. Companies can use this course in
Corporate online courses can also focus on upskilling and reskilling their employees. These can combine both soft and hard skills.
However, when choosing what type of online course to give employees, the most important thing to consider is the learner’s need. Since creating online courses needs careful planning and implementation, most professional Instructional Designers use the ADDIE model, which stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.
Using the ADDIE Model
Stage 1: Analysis
Creating your online course starts by gathering and analyzing data or information. It would help if you recognized who your learners are and what their needs are. In this stage, try to ask yourself the following questions:
1. Who is the target audience?
- What do they need?
- What are the gaps they need to fill?
- What is their level of expertise or mastery?
- Are they new hires, seasoned employees, or a mix of the two?
- What are their learning styles?
- What are their areas of struggle?
- What are their perspectives about the topic?
- What is the demographic information available about them? Consider their age, gender, education level, and computer literacy. Research results indicated that as age increased, so did satisfaction with online training effectiveness (Jones, 2016, p. 95).
2. What are the learning goals?
When writing learning goals, be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). What do you want your learners to perform after taking the course?
It is also essential to consider using the verbs attributed to level in the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Wrong: After taking the course, the learners will be able to write a blog.
Correct: After taking the course, learners will be able to write an SEO-optimized business blog.
3. What is the tone or style of the course?
Another to consider is the tone or style of the course. After gathering information about your audience or learners, you can now predict what tone or style they would prefer for the course. Since you cannot use seating arrangements, smiles, jokes, and speaking styles to set the lesson’s tone, you need to plan how to create a welcoming, non-intimidating, and warm online learning environment.
Stage 2: Design
You can use Backward Design when creating your online course. The Backward Design lets you focus on the learning outcome first and then plan on the learning evidence and experiences to help the learners achieve the desired result. Others call this “plan with the end in mind.”
During this stage, you are now to create an outline (design) of your course. Consider the following during this stage:
- What teaching approach best suits the learners’ needs and styles?
- How much time will the employees be able to dedicate to this online course?
- What are the assessment tools to be used?
- What materials do you need to prepare? Will the course include videos, worksheets, audios, visuals?
- How will you keep the learners engaged?
The most common type of outline you can use during this phase is the storyboard. You can use many tools to create your storyboards, like PowerPoint, Word, or Canva. Whatever tool you’ll be using, it is helpful to make your storyboard as detailed as possible. It will save you time in creating the course.
Storyboards help you visualize your online course’s content and save time. Like any outline, it serves as the skeleton of the project. Also, it enables you to identify what content or material goes to a specific part of the course.
Stage 3: Development
The third stage is all about creating the content. You are now going to put your plan into action. During this phase, the 3Rs will be your best friend: Research, wRite, and Revise. Remember to make the content as engaging as possible. Always consider your audience’s learning styles. Since you can’t focus on just one type, you should create content, materials, and assessment tools for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.
During this phase, choose an eLearning tool or software that will help you bring your design to life. There are many tools in the market that you can choose from; some are simple, some are complex. However, whatever tool or software you plan to use, it’s how you produce something worth using that matters.
Before finally publishing your course, it will always be a good practice to have some testing procedures to address future problems. Don’t hesitate to ask someone to try and review your digital learning material before the final implementation.
Stage 4: Implementation
Implementing your course is the most exciting stage of creating eLearning materials. If you used an online tool or an LMS (Learning Management System) for your course, just hit publish and invite your learners to enroll. You can now track their learning progress and results.
When it comes to publishing your course, you can choose between synchronous and asynchronous learning. Synchronous learning refers to a learning experience in which a group of learners is engaged in learning at the same time, while asynchronous learning refers to the opposite. The instructor, the learner, and other participants are not involved in the learning process simultaneously.
For synchronous learning, an instructor usually leads the discussions or learning experiences; this can be at the beginning, middle, or end of the course. For this one, be sure that your instructors are also familiar with the course content and goals. Also, make sure your LMS allows you to manage instructors as well as learners.
For self-paced lessons where the learners do not need to meet in real-time, they can sign in and accomplish learning activities wherever and whenever. However, they can still connect with the instructor or other participants using the built-in video or chat.
Stage 5: Evaluation
Here are some excellent points to ask during this fifth stage:
- Did the learners achieve the learning goals?
- What part of the course are they happy with?
- Are there parts that lead to misunderstandings?
Aside from analyzing the course post-assessment result, you can also conduct surveys to get your learners’ impressions on the course.
Using the ADDIE Model, you can ensure that your learners will be actively engaged in learning and achieving the eLearning goals. After evaluating your course and found out that there are still some gaps in the content, structure, or strategies, you can always go back to analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating. There’s still room for improvement.
- Survey on online and distance learning – Results
- A Study of Satisfaction With Online Learning in Workplace Training
- REVISED Bloom’s Taxonomy Action Verbs
- Synchronous vs. asynchronous learning: what’s the difference?