Nowadays more and more companies are starting to use e-learning solutions to deliver their training. E-learning became a trend. So, what is e-learning?

E-learning is electronic learning and it means using an electronic device for learning goals.

A general process of e-learning resources design

Below is an outline of the design process for a e-learning resources.

Step 1: Identify e-learning requirements

Step 2: Make a research

Step 3: Design a specification

Step 4: Implement e-learning

Step 5: Evaluate the outcomes

Every project starts from the setting up requirements that can be aggregated in Project Brief.

Project Brief is a document that provides an explanation of the background of the project. This document identifies goals, scope, target audience, resources and potential risks of the project.

Before you start with it, you may ask yourself or your client the following questions:

  • What are the main objectives?
  • Are the objectives clear? Do they include evaluation criteria?
  • Who is a potential user of e-learning?
  • What specific needs does he have?
  • What resources are available to support analysis, design, development, marketing?
  • What is the budget of the project?

These are questions you may start from, nevertheless, you should continue to ask questions until you feel totally clear.

Target learner characteristics

Characteristics of the target learner groups that should be considered when a design e-learning resources is being planned, depending on the nature of the learner could include such specifics:

e-learning design - learner characteristics
E-learning design – target learner characteristics

Learning environment

The content should be delivered in a different way up to a specific environment. It matters where the learner located in because information perceives differently in different places.

The place can be something like:

  • Workplace
  • Classroom
  • Home
  • Community
  • Mobile

Instructional Model

You must adapt learning materials for your target auditory. It means you need to find all possible ways how to approach your pedagogic strategy in the best way.

Instructional Models are guides to approach the learning process based on learning thesis statements of learning.

Typically used instructional design models:

  1. Model 1 – Mentoring. A mentor is the one who supports you during the training.
  2. Model 2 – Problem Solving. Students learn from solving some given problem.
  3. Model 3 – Instructional. Learner receives a set of instruction and gains experience by studying them.
  4. Model 4 – Game. Gain skills through gaming.
  5. Model 5 – Simulation. Performing inside simulated situation.

E-learning design: ADDIE Model

The ADDIE model stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.

E-learning design - ADDIE Model
E-learning design – ADDIE Model

Step 1: Analysis – define goals, metrics, and aims, check information regarding learner preferences.

Step 2: Design – define educational methods to achieve your goals.

Step 3: Develop – create a content for chosen educational methods.

Step 4: Implementation – deliver the content.

Step 5: Evaluation – summaries measured outcomes and plan improvements

Check more about ADDIE Model:

E-learning design: Kolb’s Learning Cycle

David Kolb defined a four-stage learning cycle.

E-learning design - Kolb's Model
E-learning design – Kolb’s Model

Concrete Experience

Kolb suggests that we cannot learn simply by watching or reading about something, to truly learn we must do. This means active involvement in learning, getting stuck in and trying things out.

Reflective Observation

This is the review stage. Learners watch others or develop observations about their own experience, pausing to consider what has taken place. We learn by collecting and analyzing data, asking lots of questions.

Abstract Conceptualization

Learners develop theories to explain their observations. We make comparisons between what we have already done and what we know. Learners may draw on information from textbooks, models, and other people. We are logical, analytical and objective and tend not to like information which relies on emotions or feelings.

Active Experimentation

Learners use theories to find solutions. They like to plan for practical application and see problems as challenges. They need to see how the training fits with the job. They will consider how they will put learning into practice in their own context. Without linking the learning to how we can use it, learning will quickly be forgotten.

What is VAK?

The VAK stands for (Visual-Auditory-Kinesthetic). All people are different and their learning styles will be different as well. Someone prefers visual information to audio, someone like me prefers to read it.

While you design the e-learning course you should include all types of information to cover the field from different angles.

Visual information – diagrams, video, pictures, demonstration etc.

Audio information – audio recordings, videos etc.

Kinesthetic information is about experience of practicing something.

Learning Activities

To engage your learners based on their learning style you can use such learning activities. Every learning activity in your unit should be intentional, meaningful, and useful.

E-learning design - Learning Activities
E-learning design – Learning Activities

Production requirements

The main features you should include in design specification:

  • access to facilities and resources
  • assessment strategies
  • budget and deliverable
  • learner characteristics
  • milestones
  • student personality:
    • number
    • availability
    • expertise
  • prototyping
  • technical issues, including:
    • delivery platform
    • disk space
    • bandwidth
    • testing plan
    • timelines.

Design e-learning: Usability

Usability refers to the quality of a user’s experience when interacting with products or systems

Good usability means:

  • Intuitive to use
  • Easy to use
  • Efficiency
  • Low possibility of mistakes
  • User satisfaction

Quality assurance

E-learning design - QA
E-learning design – QA
  • Functional testing: verify that all functions work according to specification
  • Non-functional testing: i.e. performance and security checks.
  • Acceptance testing: ensure that e-learning materials fit for the target audience.

Prototypes in e-learning

Prototypes are functional, interactive sketches that help you design meaningful learning experiences.

An interface prototype allows designers to test the way users respond to the interface in terms of clarity, consistency, navigability, and ease of use. Interface prototypes also enable designers to test various methods of performing the same activity to determine which method best suits the intended users. A functional prototype, on the other hand, is used to build and test a certain feature without the overhead of the complete program. These prototypes simplify the process of creating and debugging new features or controls. The scripts from the prototype containing event handlers can then be integrated into the complete application with minor modifications. Test as much of any design as possible, use the results of the tests to revise the design, then test it again.

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