In this digital age, e-learning has become an increasingly popular and effective way to deliver educational material. In this article, we’ll take you through nine steps that will help you create the best e-learning content.
Why Is E-Learning So Popular?
The global e-learning market has exploded since 2020. In fact, two out of five Fortune 500 companies are taking advantage of e-learning and online training courses for their employees, and 98% of universities have moved their classes online.
Flexibility and accessibility are the primary reasons that e-learning has grown in popularity. Being able to learn from anywhere at any time is a very attractive option for busy professionals looking to learn a new skill to stay relevant and up to date in their industry.
While many businesses offer online training courses for their employees, e-learning platforms, such as Udemy or edX, are also helping individuals learn more at no (or a very low) cost. Some platforms even offer certificates of completion, which students can use on their resumes.
Nine Steps to Creating Amazing E-Learning Content
Nine steps follow that will help you get started on creating e-learning content or an online course. Keep in mind that such an undertaking is not quick or easy if you aim to create high-quality content.
The amount of time and energy you’ll need to dedicate to this process will largely depend on two factors: the subject matter of your content and the length of the course (i.e., how many units or modules you’ll include).
1. Define Your Learning Objectives
Start by clearly defining what you want your learners to achieve. This step is arguably the most important one in the process because it will set the tone and guide the rest of the steps. Make sure you consider the following points when defining your learning objectives:
- Clearly identify the subject or topic your e-learning content will cover.
- Determine the scope you want to cover (e.g., is it comprehensive or introductory?).
- Use action verbs with your objectives, such as identify and create.
- Avoid vague or general statements to describe your objectives.
- Be specific and measurable.
- Review and revise your objectives and consider having experts or prospective students give you feedback.
If you’re interested in creating effective and specific learning objectives for your e-learning content, consider reading educational and curriculum development literature, such as Bloom’s Taxonomy, to get more information.
2. Analyze Your Target Audience
Before designing your e-learning content, you need a clear understanding of your learners’ demographics, educational backgrounds, and existing knowledge. Creating e-learning content without your intended students in mind can result in ineffectual materials that do not serve their intended purpose. Here are some tips on how you can analyze your target audience:
- Conduct surveys and interviews with prospective students/users.
- Collect and record demographic information about prospective users and consider building “student personas” (similar to buyer personas) to get a clear picture of who your target is and what they want from your e-learning content.
- Consider learning styles.
- Conduct focus groups or user testing if possible.
- Consider the technological access and proficiency of your target audience.
- If possible, consult other subject matter experts to gain better insight.
3. Structure the Content
You can structure e-learning content in many ways by utilizing units, modules, microlearning, videos, PPT-style presentations, and much more. The only thing that should remain the same for all e-learning content, regardless of the style, is that it be clear and consistent throughout. This stipulation comprises headings, subheadings, bullet points, and color schemes.
Additionally, try to keep learning units short and sweet. For example, if you utilize video lectures or presentations, keeping them under 12 minutes will help your learners stay engaged in the content.
4. Use Multimedia Elements
The key to creating effective and engaging e-learning content is incorporating a variety of multimedia elements without going too far. If you include too many types of multimedia elements, you risk overwhelming your users or making navigation and usability complicated. Always keep in mind your target audience, their technological access, and their skill set.
Text is the main multimedia element in all e-learning content. However, try to avoid lengthy blocks of text, which can be dull and boring. Instead, use a variety of formats, such as narratives, examples, bullet lists, and testimonials. If you must include long blocks of text, break them up with graphics, images, charts, or tables.
You might consider using the following additional multimedia elements in your e-learning content:
- Images and graphics
- Audio elements, such as voice-overs, music, and sound effects
- Video content
- Gamification elements, such as quizzes, polls, and games
- Animations and simulations
5. Maintain a Conversational Tone
For a few reasons, we recommend using a conversational tone in your e-learning content. The main reason is that such a tone will make your materials more relatable and engaging for your users. Regardless of the tone you decide on, just ensure that it’s consistent throughout all your materials.
Here are some tips on how to achieve a conversational tone in your e-learning content:
- Write as if you’re having a conversation with your intended users. Use language that’s warm, inclusive, and welcoming and avoid language that’s too formal, technical, or exclusive.
- Use the second person (you) when addressing your users.
- Use everyday language that a variety of people can understand and relate to. Avoid jargon, complex terms, or academic language if you can (of course, this type of language may be necessary and appropriate depending on the subject matter).
- Be concise and to the point.
- Use storytelling techniques and lots of examples when introducing a new concept or a point that may be difficult to understand.
6. Provide Clear Instructions
Clearly communicate the objectives, instructions, and expectations at the beginning of each module or activity. You might consider indicating whether learners should complete a unit within a specific period or whether they can complete it independently. Additionally, you can use checklists, FAQ sections, and step-by-step guides throughout the e-learning content to ensure that everything is user-friendly.
7. Ensure Accessibility
Accessibility is crucial in e-learning content because your users may have various learning needs that should be accommodated. For example, use alt text for images, provide transcripts for videos and audio recordings, and ensure the design and layout are user-friendly for individuals with disabilities.
8. Test and Revise
Before launching the e-learning content, test it thoroughly to identify errors and areas for improvement. If possible, conduct a pilot test to gather feedback from learners or colleagues and make revisions accordingly.
9. Proofread and Edit Everything
Make sure to proofread and edit all your e-learning materials. Considering the many courses available online, make sure yours stands out by using high-quality text, images, and designs. While proofreading, you should also look out for a consistent tone throughout your materials, a consistent style (try using a style guide to help), and clear and concise language that’s easy to understand.
If you’re not sure about your proofreading knowledge, check out our comprehensive proofreading checklist.
Remember, creating the best e-learning content is an iterative process. Continuously seek feedback, adapt to learners’ needs, and strive for continuous improvement to create a valuable and engaging learning experience.
If you need help with proofreading your e-learning content, look no further. We’ve helped thousands of businesses around the world create high-quality and error-free learning materials. Schedule a call with us today to see how we can help.