A common hassle for many trainers and developers is creating highly interactive and great looking elearning courses without having to program or have any graphic design expertise. Saving time, reducing costs, and having multiple members of a team with different levels of expertise working together are other common worries that affect developers every day. One method that has proven success for all these is the use of templates. You can use these resources to quickly develop interactive and engaging activities for learners.
Designing and developing an eLearning course certainly requires analysis of several factors to make the process successful. Choosing the right template is one of them. This post is on why use elearning templates, their advantages and some other considerations.
What do we mean by e-learning templates? According to the elearning coach, templates are: “Set of standard screens you can create for a course to provide visual and cognitive continuity. By using a template, all the screens in one course will have some similar features.” Therefore, we can say they are a framework for content. Templates can include color schemes or layouts, buttons, icons, navigation bars, and more. They give courses a standard look and feel.
Today, there are several authoring tools that respond to current trends and allow the creation of elearning courses quickly and easily, thanks to the use of templates. These resources vary depending on the authoring system you use to develop the course. If you’re using an authoring tool like SHIFT for example, you don't even have to create your templates, just choose the one you like out of over 300 different types and styles.
Here are 10 great reasons you should use templates for eLearning course creation:
- Templates increase flexibility: Templates actually increase flexibility, they’re easy to update, and they provide consistency across the project. They can be improved regularly to meet technological and instructional requirements as well as the client’s needs. These are easily tracked and updated.
- They are easy to use: Having access to a library of templates gives you the flexibility of being able to choose from a diverse set of preconfigured interactions, without needing to program o configure anything. They give you more power, more choices, and much more independence. Basically, they make it possible for a large number of people (professionals or not) to design eLearning.
- Provide consistency and uniformity to the course: Standardization is a vital part of a course. This helps learners know how to navigate and use the course. When talking about standards we mean: colors, fonts, sizes, and layout.
- Reduce rework time: Having templates ready to go means that you don’t have to waste time building or creating courses from scratch. Just use the templates you need according to your learning needs, and use them over and over again!
- Speed-up development time: Templates allow organizations to produce courses in a small fraction of the time it would take to do traditionally (using SHIFT’s templates saves at least 50% on labor costs and up to 75% on development schedules, consistently). Templates are the perfect solution when you need to get a course or product update out quickly.
- They apply best learning practices: Templates provide a natural way to organize information, which helps learners avoid content overload for example. Its designing process incorporates best practices in usability from the ground up.
- Let you focus on what’s really important: Another huge plus is that you can now spend time focusing on the learning content and less on how to make a button or slide look good.
- Great way to ensure effective content; and also good design: Templates give your course a great look and feel, in no time and without programming.
- Are a great source of inspiration! You don’t have to waste time thinking about how to place the different elements or content, you just organize everything according to the template you choose. The key is you have different design ideas ready-to-go in the tip of your fingers. This way you can put together a quick and great looking course without a lot of thought about the design.
- Reduce error by exhaustive technical tests: before a template is released to the production process, it goes through several tests in different platforms and conditions in order to eliminate programming bugs.