Unfortunately there is no secret formula for eLearning success. What works for one eLearning course may completely miss the mark for another. However, when you're developing your next eLearning deliverable, you may want to focus on the important elements that all successful eLearning projects seem to share. Does your current eLearning project possess all 5 of the following characteristics?
- Clear goals and objectives.Without a clear idea of what you need to achieve by the end of the eLearning project, you have no way of determining what steps you must take to get there. Most importantly, every member of your eLearning team needs to be on the same page when it comes to the eLearning project goals and objectives. Ultimately, the collective eLearning team should be able to sum up the desired outcomes in just a few sentences, and articulate how the eLearning course is supposed to fill the learning gaps that currently exist. Sit down before you begin your eLearning project and go over every aspect of eLearning design and development, being as specific as possible. Talk about the requirements, criteria, and which eLearning authoring tools and learning management system you’ll have at your disposal. Make sure everyone knows what the learners need to know upon completing the eLearning course, and address any questions that your eLearning team members may have.
- Defined expectations and roles.Every eLearning pro working on the project should know what is expected of them, the eLearning team as a whole, and how they fit into the grand scheme of things. What is their role and responsibilities? Who will they be working with on a regular basis, and how can they get in contact with the other members of the team? During your eLearning project kickoff meeting, go over all of these specifics, and be sure that everyone knows about the tasks they will need to handle and when these tasks are due. Using a project management platform makes this process much more productive and streamlined. You can simply login to the platform to share files, feedback, and reminders. For example, if your Subject Matter Expert and Instructional Designer need to collaborate on an interactive scenario, they can use the project management platform to get the job done quickly and effectively.
- Audience research.No matter what the learning objectives are or which eLearning authoring tools you are using, you need to have a firm grasp on who your learners are and what they need from the eLearning course. To do this, you should be willing and ready to learn as much as possible about your audience. What is their experience level and educational background? What information or skill sets do they need to master during the eLearning course? Do they have specific learning needs that you need to keep in mind, such as disabilities, or learning preferences? These are all questions you need to ask before you being storyboarding your eLearning course and figuring out which learning activities you’ll be using. Conduct surveys,focus groups, interviews, and diagnostic assessment to determine what they know versus what they need to know, and how you can most effectively convey the information to them. For example, if you have a group of learners who would prefer mobile learning, this can completely change the eLearning course in terms of design and development.
- Effective eLearning assessment strategy.In order to determine if your eLearning course is truly successful, you need to be able to track learner progress. This involves an effectiveeLearning assessment strategy that includes a wide range of test types, such as multiple choice, essay, and scenario-based. Virtually every member of your eLearning team will take part in the eLearning assessment development process and needs to be aware of the eLearning assessment goals. What are you measuring and how are you going to measure it? This is also where the learner research comes into play. If you know their learning preferences, current knowledge base, and experience level you have the opportunity to create an eLearning assessment strategy that caters to their specific needs and challenges.
- Open communication.Without a doubt, this is the most important trait of a successful eLearning project. If open communication is lacking, then all of the other aspects of the eLearning project will suffer as a result. When a problem arises, address it as quickly as possible and let every team member know that they should do the same. If there is a dispute, sit down with both parties and encourage open communication so that there are no hard feelings that may compromise the eLearning project.
- Foster communicative online communities.Ultimately, successful eLearning projects are those that foster a communicative community. Everyone should know that their opinions are being heard and acknowledged, and their thoughts matter. If they understand that the eLearning team is there to support them, rather than ridicule or judge them for needing help, then they are more likely to reach out when they require assistance. This, not only makes the eLearning project run smoothly and avoid missed deadlines, but also it produces a better finished product. Keep the lines of communication open, and enjoy the benefits of a collaborative and supportive working experience.
There may not be any "sure things" in life, but there are ways to improve your chances for success. Keep these tips in mind to create high quality eLearning courses that leave a lifelong impression.
Looking for ways to involve every member of your development team? Read the article The Top 7 Qualities Of A High Performance eLearning Team, to ensure that your team is not only a truly great eLearning professional group, but also 100% dedicated to attaining their shared goals.