So, you have completed your eLearning course or module, and you are ready for learners to begin learning from it. Does this mean that you can move onto the next project and forget about the existing one? Absolutely not!
If you think of eLearning Designers as project managers, you begin to see that there are specific ways in which to interact with already created courses. There are essential questions to ask, features to check, and maintenance windows to update in any existing course.
We present the top 5 ways to continue the design process after successful completion of a course.
1) Measuring Success of eLearning Course
No matter what type, of course, you’ve developed, you will need to measure the success of your course. These measures should be identified before completing the course, but do not need to be fully developed until post-production. This data is essential to making well-informed future decisions. If learners are struggling with a particular point in the module, you will not know this if there is no assessment data collected.
In addition to assessment results, both formative and summative, there should be an evaluation of the user design, enjoyment, and interaction with the course. So much of eLearning design is focused on the content, but we should be striving to design beyond content. The learner’s experience and perspective on the course bring to the forefront the affective components of learning.
There are a multitude of ways to collect this information. Consider ideas like card sorting, focus groups, qualitative interviews, learner analytics, and surveys. All of this information informs future iterations of the course and tailors it to your audience.
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2) Adjusting Based on User Feedback
It is not enough to collect user data to inform the success of the course. You also need to make adjustments based on this feedback. This is known as iterative course design, and it is one of the best ways to improve the user experience. Regardless of the amount of pilot testing you did before releasing the course, you will always learn more from learners who complete the entire course in a way that is meaningful.
Look at your quantitative data to see if there is a stumbling block present for several learners. Reflect back on the learning objectives and identify how this content could be revised. Use your qualitative data to gain feedback in the form of narratives. As you hear more of the user’s voice, certain trends will emerge. When you keep hearing something over and over again, consider that compelling evidence to adjust the course. This iterative course design can be time-consuming so set realistic expectations and milestones.
“Engagement with the course does not end when learners begin engaging with the content”. Click to tweet
3) Keeping an Eye on Course Content
Some eLearning design teams have a dedicated person for quality control. However, this is a luxury and not a necessity! Often, it is up to the initial designer to ensure the course is still functioning. The course might stop flowing well for a variety of reasons. One of the most common is that externally cited links will break. If your course runs in a cohort-based model, take advantage of the downtime to manually check the links. If your course can be continuously offered, set-up specific dates to update external resources.
Another action that impedes learner flow in the course is in the case of outdated content. This outdated content could be due to a major news story or research study. The best way to identify areas of old content are to keep the final outline of the course, so you have a sense of the topics covered. This allows you to have an eye on existing courses while you are engaging in professional development in the field. Set a timeline for making regular content updates and make sure to change the information in all necessary places such as the introduction to the course or quizzes.
4) Revising for a Current Look
At first, you might be thinking that this is the same as the above tip. However, this tip is focused more on the overall look and feel of the course and less on the content. With the constant and rapid changes in technology, the look of courses also change. There are a plethora of online options, and if people are looking for a course to take, they might skip yours if it does not look current. Even if you have a captive audience, you should take advantage of the current best practices for design, usability, and accessibility.
In addition to the overall look, you should constantly be monitoring for new technologies that could be incorporated into your course. Think about the activities that you currently have and consider how technologies could improve learner engagement. For example, do you have a lot of discussion boards? Consider using platforms like Piazza or Flipgrid to support a different type of interaction.
5) Celebrate Successes
When your workers start completing your eLearning courses, start sharing their successes with everyone. For instance, communicate completion rates, quotes, experiences and case studies in your company newsletter to build positive associations with your eLearning programs and motivate employees to take the course.
Using testimonials from learners is often one of the most effective marketing tools. Gathering user feedback from those taking the course uplifts the design team and helps them to see that their efforts are valued. These acknowledgments can take the form of electronic communication to potluck lunches or direct communication from leadership.
This feedback can take the form of surveys, short quotes, or video messages. Giving learners the opportunity to leave a video message commenting on what they enjoyed about the course is a great way to visually communicate this information.
"As much as we might like to design it and forget it, this is not the optimal strategy for compelling eLearning courses". Tweet this
As much as we might like to design it and forget it, this is not the optimal strategy for compelling eLearning courses. Built into your initial project management needs to be a plan for keeping the course current, complete, and user-friendly. This plan can adjust once you have gained experience, but it is important to set out in your design process knowing that engagement with the course does not end when learners begin engaging with the content.
Also read: Now What? Five Things You Should Do After Launching Your eLearning Course