Developing eLearning courses without the essential knowledge of the various stages of an eLearning development process, particularly, the starting point, can be rather tricky. There are lots of variables in terms of tools, parameters etc. that can influence the success of your exercise; how does one have guarantee of an exceptional eLearning experience for their trainees? There is one vital distinguishing point between an effective eLearning course and one that’s not: planning.
Courses that offer the finest possible eLearning experience involve a substantial amount of preparation, organization and most importantly, planning. There is no single roadmap to eLearning content development. The size of the team and project, the nature of the course and the particular client demands constitute the deciding factors affecting the modus operandi in important ways. The stages in eLearning development process necessitates not only a blend of creativity and technical skills but also a great deal of team work and efficient time management, something with ultimately leads to something almost definitely rewarding.
There is a natural, logical, yet often overlapping flow to efficient design and development of an effective eLearning project. A rule of thumb more often than not implemented is to engage the whole project team, incorporate key elements of the ADDIE model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation) while also integrating the SAM (Successive Approximation Model) agile approach. The combined methodology starts with the project initiation phase and concludes with the delivery of the project.
Project Initiation Phase is a collaborative phase that discusses details, strategies, communication, documentation, and materials needed to get started. The Project Manager establishes timelines, milestones, and selects the project management tool. This is followed by the instructional Design Phase (sometimes considered as one of the first stages of an eLearning development process).
Here, the requirements of the client are comprehended and the inputs provided by him are analyzed. The role of an instructional designer (ID), at this stage, is to analyze the inputs, formulate the instructional strategy and prepare a detailed outline of the content. The creative phase (sometimes called the storyboarding phase) may overlap with the end of the Instructional Design phase; multimedia designers establish the user interface and overall style guidelines that determine the look-and-feel of the eLearning.
After this comes the development phase, where the instructional designers with the help of visual designers (VDs) and based on the approved script and user interface design the storyboard and make it better graphically. This incorporates appropriate functionality and converts the Instructional Designer’s vision into an engaging and interactive eLearning program. Finally, the delivery stage is when the eLearning is published to the required format and tested to ensure proper functionality.
The above are generic stages of an eLearning development process; though rules do apply for their customized counterparts. It goes without saying that designing an online course is about moving beyond the tangible efforts above. It pays to have a considerable amount of knowledge, passion and the dedication to offer training recipients the ability to update their skillset and improve their productivity.