The reasons to create online or eLearning materials vary, but common motivators are include being able to connect with students regardless of geography, being able to standardize training materials, being able to provide training just-in-time rather than only at a scheduled class time, and supplementing class instruction. Regardless of the reason, people across industries find themselves faced with the assignment of, “just take the class and make it online.”
My article includes some basic information to help plan your new eLearning project and to use as other eLearning projects emerge for you.
First – let’s get some basic terms identified.
“E-learning is a wide-ranging phrase that’s used to describe learning by the use of a computer that’s typically linked to a network. E-learning can also be referred to as online learning or education, distance learning or education and technology, web or computer-based training. Due its rise in popularity, numerous educational facilities, businesses and organizations now offer accredited classes, degrees and training through their e-learning programs.” http://www.ehow.com/facts_4881587_what-is-elearning.html
Learning Management System (LMS):
“A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, and reporting of training programs, classroom and online events, e-learning programs, and training content.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_management_system
“…A learning objective should describe what students should know or be able to do at the end of the course that they couldn’t do before… Each individual learning objective should support the overarching goal of the course…” http://web.mit.edu/tll/teaching-materials/learning-objectives/index-learning-objectives.html
So, your elearning (the content) needs to be in a Learning Management System (content delivery) and be designed to fit learning objectives (content scope).
Now, let’s move in to your own elearning plans.
Here are some questions to use to judge your readiness to jump into elearning.
- Has the content been taught in another format (face-to-face or hybrid)? YES / NO
- Do you know how long the course should take to complete? YES / NO
- Will the content be designed as instructor lead? YES / NO (If yes, do you have an instructor who can lead the course? YES / NO)
- Do you have the learning objectives for the course? YES / NO
- Do you know the students’ learning will be assessed or graded? YES / NO
- Do you know how the elearning will be delivered to students? YES / NO
How many questions could you answer with“yes”? For most people, you can answer some questions easily – like how long the course should last – but probably paused a bit to other questions. Of the 6 main questions, you should be able to answer at least 4 with “yes” before starting work on content.
If you couldn’t answer “yes” to any question, you need to do some planning before you really get into developing your elearning. It is important to have those basic questions defined before you begin putting your content together.
The 6 questions listed touch upon the state of the existing content, the expectations of students’ time commitment, and content delivery. Although each area is individually important to your elearning, you must be able to address all aspects to have a successful elearning experience for both instructor and student.