We have been designing eLearning for quite some time now, but this blog post from Canva made us realize that great design is actually simple to create if you follow a few rules. So we thought we will spill the beans and let the world (the other eLearning designers who are still fumbling with the rules of the game) know about the 9 essential design tactics that will magically transform ho-hum eLearning courses into scintillating works without compromising on instructional effectiveness.
Topics: visual design
Why do you think film makers employ scriptwriters to write dialogs? Why can't anybody write an ad copy? Why do writers spend hours polishing the language of their texts? Why do our political leaders and heads of nations depend on speechwriters to write what they want to say to their followers? That's because words matter!
Words are powerful tools that can stir emotions and rouse crowds to action. A cheery "hello" breaks the ice. A heartfelt "how are you" is the start of many lasting relationships. A sincere "sorry" mends broken hearts. And think of all the great political speeches delivered throughout the centuries. Those words have led entire nations to war and ushered in social revolutions. Words are so powerful that they can change the way the brain perceives to make us act and feel.
Remember those days in school when you used to cram in whole books the night before the test? Did you remember afterwards even a wee bit of what you gobbled up within the space of a few hours? You didn't because you had to cram in the same chapters again when the next test was around. On the other hand, you still remember the multiplication tables that you learned years ago.
Why do you think you forgot what you learned the night before the test and remember what you learned years ago? It couldn't be that you didn't work hard to learn. No it isn't. The answer is in the way you learned. Crammed or typical learning (learning in a hurry and all at once) does not aid retention. But when learning is both spaced out and repeated, you remember more. As an instructional designer, it is imperative that you know the difference between the two learning methods, so you can design courses that stick.
Topics: instructional design
What’s the point of creating a course that no one wants?
No point at all, right?
YET, we find hundreds of eLearning designers creating courses that nobody wants. Courses which the designers themselves can’t figure: who would want!
It should ALWAYS be the other way around.
Designers must first understand their target audience and then build content around their needs, circumstances, limitations, preferences, and wants. This means that one must move beyond the common descriptions handed out by SMEs, the manager, or even the client.
Hence, this post where I will talk about empathy mapping — an intuitive, yet highly powerful framework that uses a set of questions that puts you in your audience’s shoes. It is a great way for engaging with SMEs as well as performing your own research.
Topics: instructional design
For freelance eLearning professionals and training consultants, building and nurturing relations with clients is integral to the success, growth, and sustainability of their business. Poor communication is a surefire way to damage any project or relationship.
Regular/prompt, detailed, and personalized communication.
That’s the secret to keeping clients happy and your eLearning projects on track.
This post will highlight the important tips for keeping healthy communication with your clients, without losing your sanity.
Topics: client relationships
There's you. Then there are the graphic designers, the coding guys, and the client. How do you ensure that you are all on the same page about the eLearning course that you are developing so painstakingly? How do you ensure that at the end of the developmental stage, your client does not come back perplexed with these words, "But I thought you were going to…?" These ominous words usually trigger a flurry of activity back at the drawing board. Efforts increase, costs escalate, and tempers are frayed (usually at the client's end).
How do you ensure that all stakeholders get a fair idea of how the eLearning course will turn out to be right at the outset, so you are spared the re-work? Do Rapid Prototyping.
Here's everything you need to know about it.
Topics: rapid prototyping
A well-designed eLearning course is a treat for the eye, punches in the message hard, keeps you glued to it, and sticks in your mind. But as an instructional designer, you know how challenging it is to develop such a course. From client and SME interviews and chunking content through to storyboarding, developing, and deploying, the eLearning workflow is time-consuming and demands exacting standards. And there are the time and budget constraints. You have to manage your time, so you can keep up with the pressure and still pull off winners.
You learned about some productivity hacks in an earlier post. Here are some more hacks to amp your efficiency and happiness at work.
As eLearning designers, we have to wear many hats and juggle multiple tasks. We write storyboards, interact with clients and SMEs, coordinate with team members from multiple functions, keep an eye on how the course is shaping up, and ensure the project sticks to the schedule. Oh yes, most of us work on more than one project at a time. Of course, we are expected to be on top of our games and be productive always. It is easier said than done. But, there's nothing that you cannot achieve with sincerity, patience, and a wee bit of effort.
You just have to make small changes at work and shift certain thought patterns to become more productive. Below are some ways of becoming more productive. Not all may work for you, but it never hurts to try.
With the coming of the Internet, gathering information on almost everything under the sun has become easier than ever before. Just type a few words and Google will throw up tons of information. For instance, there seems to be as many web pages on instructional designing strategies and Photoshop tutorials as there are eLearning designers.
But there's a catch. You still have to click open the websites, scroll through them, and read up pages of text to fish out information that is relevant to your needs. It is easy to get lost in the minefield of information that the Internet is. What is scarier is that not all websites house authentic information. So how can you find what you are searching for quickly and easily? How do you make sure that you learn instructional designing theories and skills only from authentic sources?
We have put together a list of Web resources to help you get hold of the most comprehensive and authentic sources of information on eLearning and instructional design. Here they are:
You have 60 seconds to hook, engage, and keep learners in your course.
Within these 60 seconds you have to make a connection with your audience of learners, introduce them to your course, and show them why they need it and how it will make a difference. You must address and succinctly answer all of the following:
- Is this the right course for me?
- Will it be covering the right topics?
- How good is its content and delivery?
- How long before I lose interest and get bored?
Achieving all of this within the first 60 seconds is the objective of your introduction.
This post will explain four simple but useful ideas to make your introductions powerful and memorable. Let’s see how you can hook your learners and reel them in within the first 60 seconds.
Topics: eLearning tips