SHIFT's eLearning Blog

Our blog provides the best practices, tips, and inspiration for corporate training, instructional design, eLearning and mLearning.

To visit the Spanish blog, click here
    All Posts

    eLearning 101: 7 Steps to Help You Get Started [Infographic]

    E-learning is gaining momentum. Over 40% of Fortune 500 companies use eLearning as a form of employee training. Nearly 50% of college students are enrolled in online courses. And eLearning is growing at an incredible rate. As of 2014, it was a $56.2 billion dollar industry with expectations of that amount to double by the end of this year.

    With so many courses out there and so much demand, what makes one eLearning course stand out from the rest? Writing an awesome course can bring in stellar reviews and earn you more students on your next round. But writing incredible eLearning content isn't just about having good writing skills.

    Creating realistic expectations for your students, setting goals, engaging participants with awesome multimedia content slides, giving them activities to practice their mastery, checking their retention often with knowledge checks and tying the content into real-life scenarios - all contribute to building a solid course.

    Here are seven things to get you started on your way to create an eLearning course:

    Step 1: Set up Learning Objectives

    Students need to know what your expectations of them are. Set up a learning objectives slide for them, where you describe the actions that the learner will be able to perform at the end of the course. This gives learners a concrete idea of how they'll be able to apply the content you'll teach to meet their personal or professional goals. It will provide your students with an overall picture of what the course is for, how they can use it and help motivate them to stick it out for the duration.

    Learn some essential do's and don'ts for writing meaningful objectives for your eLearning courses.

    Step 2: Prepare Well

    Do a thorough outline of your course from beginning to end. Set goals and benchmarks for yourself and your students throughout the course. Use the outline as a guide as you craft your lessons. Don't be satisfied with a single draft of an outline either. Revise, edit, add and amplify as needed. The more time you spend on crafting a bulletproof outline, the more smoothly your course will go.

    Grab storyboarding tips and templates here

    Step 3: Use Multimedia in Your Slides

    Don't make your content slides text-only. Reading can get very tedious after a while. People are less and less likely to read entire textbooks or instruction manuals. Instead, they look for hacks on how to get to the point quickly in a video or infographic. Take advantage of our multimedia culture and tie in video, audio, photos, graphics and games to your content. It gives the students a break from reading and motivates them to continue too. Also, audio or visual-oriented learning allows them to retain more information. Even if the student has strong reading skills and learns well from reading, visuals and games help reinforce and complement the information in the text.

    Studies Confirm the Power of Visuals in eLearning

    Step 4: Keep it Simple

    Applying the principle of simplicity in eLearning means conveying information through the simplest means possible. Don't overdo it on the academic jargon. Avoid wordiness. Make everything count, or just get rid of it. 

    Break down complicated concepts into bite-sized pieces. Overwhelming your students with advanced theories that they're not prepared for or boring them with incredibly dull technical language is a surefire way to earn yourself some dropouts. Simplify as much as possible. Keep the visual flow of your text simple, too. Give them bullet points and numbered lists instead of dense paragraphs when possible. Keep the sentences and paragraphs short. Provide them with white space to give their eyes a break and signify a switch in topic.

    A 7-Step Typography Lesson for First-time eLearning Developers

    Step 5: Practice Activities

    Provide students with exercises where they can apply what they read in the content slides. These activities have several benefits:

    • They make your course more interactive by giving students something to do besides reading and watching videos.
    • They reinforce the material you presented in the content slides.
    • They help students retain information.

    You can set up an interactive slide where students practice a skill taught during the module. You might consider making some tasks more of a social activity by asking them to complete an exercise in small groups. Engage your students with fun and entertaining activities.

    Step 6: Prepare Knowledge Checks

    Knowledge checks usually come at the end of a section where a student is asked to revisit the material learned in that module. They can be in the form of a quiz or an essay, or they may present a real-life scenario and ask the student to analyze how it ties into the information they just learned. Knowledge checks usually aren't graded. Instead, they're used to make sure that students understand the material presented and can serve as a guide for the modules coming up next. Depending on how well students perform on them, you can take a cue and slow down the pace or re-think the multimedia and examples you're using.

    Step 7: Tie It Into Real World Experiences

    Chances are, students are taking your course because it's relevant to their current job, future profession or personal goal. Whenever possible, find examples of how this information will be relevant to these areas. Show them studies, articles and other information that allows them to see the material being applied practically. Incite the goals of each student and tailor your examples to match their goals as closely as possible. Include experiences like a role play, recording phone call, responding to emails within the scenario. Do this frequently to keep students interested and motivated to continue learning.

    Read: Keep eLearning Real: 4 Basic Story Types to Link Learning to the Real-World

    Keep these tips in mind as you plan your first eLearning course and revisit them often to keep on track. Set goals for your students to follow, use multimedia and tools (wisely), keep your information simple, engage students with fun practice activities, test your students and tie your content into real-world contexts. These are the keys to eLearning course success.

    Attention-Grabbing Course  

     About the Author

    Steve Aedy is a freelance writer, active blogger and content creator at writing service He is a big fan of everything new and technological, his favorite topics for writing are education and content creation. Follow him on Twitter


    Related Posts

    6 Proven Principles to Create Memorable eLearning Courses

    Picture this: You've invested countless hours in creating a brilliant, engaging eLearning course. It's chock full of relevant information, interesting modules, and interactive quizzes. You've done your part, but there's one question that haunts you as you stare at your masterpiece:"Will my learners remember any of this a month from now?" It's a fair question. After all, the true measure of successful training is not just the initial understanding, but also the longevity of the knowledge imparted. So, how do we ensure that the valuable information you're providing sticks in the minds of your workforce long after they've logged off the learning platform? Understanding how human memory works is pivotal in this quest. But to truly elevate your eLearning strategies, we need to delve into the ways that can help learners not only acquire but also retain new knowledge effectively. This pursuit leads us to six key premises that can transform your eLearning from a fleeting moment of instruction to a memorable learning journey. Join us as we navigate the fascinating world of learning retention, tapping into cognitive science, cutting-edge research, and proven strategies to help your workforce remember what they've learned. For training leaders like you, this blog will be your guidebook, transforming the way you think about eLearning and its potential to empower your workforce in a whole new way.

    How To Avoid Designing Cluttered eLearning Screens

    How many times have you found yourself sitting through a course, feeling bewildered and lost because you couldn't determine what to focus on? And how often have you strained your eyes during a presentation, attempting to decipher the minuscule content squeezed into a tiny space at the bottom of the screen, from your distant seat in the fifth row? Unfortunately, these dreadful experiences are all too familiar. Even the most well-intentioned instructional designers have been guilty of creating cluttered and chaotic eLearning screens, where the intended message gets drowned amidst a chaotic mix of images, icons, text, charts, and graphs. This mishmash of visual elements not only overwhelms the screen but also tests the patience of learners, hindering their ability to grasp meaningful concepts from the course. To alleviate this issue, here are seven effective strategies to help you declutter your eLearning screens:

    9 Ways to Use Video in Your Online Training Courses

    In today's digital age, attention spans are becoming shorter, and learners crave captivating content that resonates with them. That's why incorporating video into eLearning courses has become more vital than ever before. It's not just a trend; it's a transformational tool that L&D leaders must embrace to engage their learners and drive meaningful knowledge retention