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How to create eLearning content

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John Sherman
2017-08-07

An eLearning course can be made of many methods - but which one’s the best for you?

Now wait just one second… An online learning course isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal, you say?

And that’s quite right, it isn’t.

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The methods you’d implement in the creation of your very best content will vary depending upon a load of factors:

  • What is the course teaching?
  • Who is it aimed at?
  • What are your learning outcome objectives?

When creating eLearning content all of these questions must be answered. There are, however, a few useful suggestions and tips to follow that will lead the eLearning course leader to success in their venture.

In this article, we’ll describe some of these suggestions to help you create the best content available. Good luck!

Take the plunge - decide on your authoring tool

First and foremost, to create any content at all, you’ll need an authoring tool. And to acquire an authoring tool, you’ll need to select one.

An authoring tool is a generic name for software that allows their users to combine and curate a combination of digital and multimedia elements to stitch together great eLearning courses. The authoring tool is what turns the idea of the eLearning course into a reality. It is absolutely essential in the creation of content for any online course.

There is a huge array of authoring tools available, some free and some paid, though a selection of the best known includes: Adobe Captivate, Obsidian Black, iSpring Suite, Articulate Storyline 2.

The difficulty is in deciding on which to use. As with other software types, some authoring tools give the user control over every aspect of their work, but require more technical knowledge to use. Others offer limited customization but are much more straight forward to learn. It’ll depend on you as to which you choose.

Know where you’re going

Now, this suggestion should be at the forefront of your mind before you dive into the design of your eLearning course. It is simply this: what are you trying to teach, which can be alternatively worded as what are your intended learning outcomes for students, and how do you want to teach them?

This is a fundamental step in creating eLearning content simply because many other decisions will be based on how what you decide here.

Once you’ve decided upon a subject, try and bring in a known expert to offer an added air of expert knowledge.

Find out about the audience you’re addressing. Corporate eLearning courses are well-stocked, so your success will often be dependent upon your ability to focus your learning towards this niche.

And it goes without saying that you should know your subject inside out. If that isn’t true about the subject you’ve chosen then maybe choose a topic that is closer to home.

Source the resources

With so many competitors out there, your content creation needs to shine. Do this by including a selection of media sources to give your course high-quality sheen.

But where to find all this delicious multimedia? One option is to create your own. While this offers supreme attention to detail and value for money for learners, it also requires a large budget and takes up a lot of time. Alternatively, you can use resources already available online. Here are a few select options for you to peruse.

  • Videos – Videos are easy enough to find across the web. The obvious resources here are YouTube and Vimeo, with the latter tending to have fewer videos but being of higher quality formatting. These two sites can easily be embedded into your course using your authoring tool.
  • Images – Public domain images are often a treasure trove for you to rummage among. The obvious websites here are Pexels, Shutterstock, Flickr, and Pixabay. Just make sure that the images you select are in the public domain, not private. The websites have filters to easily allow you to check this.
  • Graphics – For the easy use of figures and stats, try Canva or Piktochart. Graphics and infographics are an ideal way to easily visualize key figures in a lesson.

Less is more

An amateur mistake to make in eLearning content creation is thinking that quality is all about quantity. In truth, less is almost always more.

Those taking online courses don’t want to fritter away time completing a mountain of ineffective videos, pop quizzes, or pointless tasks. Content shouldn’t be created merely for the sake of it. Instead, keep them focused as tools to achieve learning outcome objectives.

Multimedia should be used sporadically and only to emphasize or offer an alternative perspective.

The design of your content is more effectively streamlined when you cut away extra weight. Intended learning outcomes are clearer and there’s little fatigue for learners.

All in all, less is more.

Use the narrative

There’s a reason we use children’s stories and morality tales to illustrate rules and rights of our societies. The story is a brilliant medium through which to explain important messages. It’s malleable and movable and has infinite possibilities.

This is why we’re recommending them to you.

There’s the classic story arc offers a multitude of possibilities for use in your content creation. It usually goes something like this:

  • Set a background.
  • Bring about a problem.
  • Offer the solution.

This is a fantastic way to play out a learning objective in a “real life” setting and offers learners an alternative means for understanding.

Use realistic stories with life-like problems that learners may frequently run into. The moral of the story always stands out.

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