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Designing an eLearning course? Use our pre-course checklist

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Kerrie-Anne Chinn, Content & Editorial Manager
2017-11-21

Following on from our recent article on how to prepare before creating eLearning content, we thought we’d put together a checklist to help you out even further. Having a checklist is really handy when it comes to eLearning course design – you can mentally tick things off as you go, to make sure your course design is on track and meeting the needs of your learners.

As we’ve said before, the best eLearning courses always involve a good amount of preparation and planning.

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Earlier this year, we published an eLearning course design checklist that focuses on important aspects of eLearning design such as graphics, fonts, multimedia, and accessibility. And our eLearning content article (mentioned above) was all about creating the best content and storyboard for your audience.

Feel free to jump over and have a look at those articles too! But today’s checklist is more about the practical elements of course design – almost like a project management tool for the eLearning course design process.

Covering these practical aspects will help you to keep your course design running smoothly, making the process of designing an eLearning course a whole lot easier.

Are you meeting the expectations of your learners?

I recently came across a great article for eLearning Rapid Blog, which likened the course design process to a pre-flight checklist carried out by flight attendants before taking off. And that’s a good comparison to draw! You don’t want to launch your online course into the world without checking you’ve hit the mark on certain things.

One of the things the author of this article kept coming back to was being aware of expectations – of both your learners and the client. When designing an eLearning course, it’s best to keep this in front of mind throughout the process. eLearning Rapid Blog recommends setting clear expectations, to better understand the client’s needs and determine how training will help. And knowing the expectations of your learners – the employees or students who will be taking your course.

What do you know about your audience? Exactly who is your eLearning course being created for? What do they expect and/or need to get out of this course?

Do you have a learning project or training budget?

You’ll also need to look at the costs involved in creating your online course. Is there a clear budget?

If you’re working for a client, have that conversation before you start designing the course.

A good tip from eLearning Rapid Blog: “even if you don’t need the money, it’s a good idea to build the expectation that you need a budget to go with your training project.” This way, you’re encouraging the client or organisation to invest in learning and development for their employees.

With the Go1 platform, you can easily create your own online courses, from just $1 per user per month.

What’s the plan for implementation?

How are you going to roll the online course out to users?

Make sure you’ve thought about the implementation process before creating your course. You’ll need to know exactly how you’re going to deliver the training materials to employees.

Will you roll it out to managers or senior leaders first? What marketing strategies will you use to launch the course to staff? It’s best to take the time to think about all these factors before you get into your course design.

What approval processes do you need to go through?

We all know that lengthy approval processes can really slow things down, for any project.

You’ll want to be aware of any approval layers and processes you need to go through before getting started on your course design. This is because the changes that can come back from those decision-makers will most likely mean changes for your course design.

eLearning Rapid Blog raises a good point:

Often you’ll work on a course and then right before launch someone higher up in the food chain gets involved and wants to make changes. Find out who this person is before you get too involved in the project and be sure to keep them in the loop throughout.”

Solid advice! Make note of  all approval processes and key decision-makers at the very start of your eLearning project, so you don't get any last-minute surprises.

How will you evaluate your online course?

Last, but certainly not least, make evaluation part of your checklist.

All projects benefit from an evaluation process, and it’s no different when it comes to eLearning. Surprisingly, while most companies invest a significant amount of time and money into learning and development, very few organisations take the time to evaluate the impact of employee training.

You’ll need to show how you plan to collect and evaluate data and figures, to see whether your online course is successful with learners. You can find useful information in our article about measuring the impact of employee training, including guidelines for using Kirkpatrick’s ‘four levels of evaluation’ model.

Covering off this checklist will ensure you’ve taken the time to consider five very important aspects of eLearning course design:

  • audience expectations
  • budget
  • implementation
  • approvals
  • evaluation.

This will go a long way in helping to keep your course design process running smoothly, while making sure you’re designing your eLearning course in the best way possible for your learners.

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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