In our last blog, we looked at the process and tools that organizations leverage in order to get their learning content ready for a great learning experience. If the content is going to be used to create an online self-paced eLearning course you will require some type of technology to make it engaging and interactive.
In case you are not familiar, eLearning is a structured course or learning experience that is delivered electronically to a learner to take independently without an instructor. In this blog we look at the elements that can be included in your eLearning courses using the tools in the eLearning production tools category.
Tools to Produce eLearning
Ok, you’ve structured and written your content in word processing tools or in a content creation or content authoring tool like LEAi (LearnExperts Artificial intelligence) and have decided that you want your learning to be available as self-paced eLearning that is interactive and engaging.
Within the eLearning space you can create a variety of different learning experiences depending on the content you want to teach as well as the time and budget you have.
You could create a simple course with text and images (we call these “click-and-read” courses), and for something like this your technology needs would be relatively basic. The benefit of a course like this is that it can be released quickly.
To take it beyond the “click-and-read” format and include guided examples and automated graphics you will want to use a more advanced eLearning production tool. Examples of eLearning production tools include:
- Adobe Captivate,
- Articulate Rise and
- Lectora (to name just a few)
eLearning Add-ons for Greater Engagement
If you are looking to make your simple eLearning courses more impactful, here are some features to consider adding:
Animations: Create visual representations of a process flow, set of tasks, or actions making the eLearning engaging, like watching an animated video. This is particularly helpful for visual learners.
Embedded videos: Build videos that include capturing the screen while describing what is happening to demonstrate a task or a scenario which can provide an instructor-like experience for learners. This is a much better alternative to simply reading a description of the scenario or demonstration as learners can see the natural flow of the tasks together.
Simulated hands-on exercises: Create “try-me” experiences where the user can’t fail. Providing a safe environment for your learners to have hands-on experience is the most crucial way for them to retain the knowledge you are transferring. Keep in mind that out of all the elements covered here, creating simulated hands-on exercises can be the most challenging to achieve as it typically requires longer development time and an experienced content creator. These types of exercises should also be used strategically.
Built-in testing: Test how well your learner retains the material with built-in tests. Many eLearning production tools allow you to include a variety of question types (multiple choice, fill in the blank, mix and match, etc.) and give you visibility into the resulting metrics so you can measure the effectiveness of your course.
PRO TIP: When possible, keep content that changes frequently in a format that is easier to change like text and graphics and save the more complex elements like animations and simulations for those parts that change less frequently.
Leverage Templates and Export Capabilities
In addition to animations, videos, hands-on exercises and built-in tests, many eLearning production tools provide easy-to-use templates to quickly take the learning content you built and follow a layout, or access repositories to create your course. This allows you to build courses that have a consistent look and feel.
Many also enable you to save your completed eLearning course in a format, such as xAPI, that can be used as a standalone course or exported to a Learning Management System (LMS).
eLearning Tools are Now Easier to Use
Many of the tools in this category used to be very technical, challenging to use and required deep technical skills to produce a quality course. Fortunately, eLearning production tools have come a long way in the last few years and are now quite user friendly and intuitive – you no longer need programming experience to create engaging and interactive courses for your learners.
The bottom line: It’s easier than ever to create an eLearning experience that will wow your learners, just make sure the tool you choose has the capabilities you need.
Once you have your courses created, then you are ready to load them into a Learning Management System (LMS) to deliver them to your learners which we will look at in our next blog in the series.
When deciding on what eLearning production tool to use, look at the features that it offers to take your courses from basic to fantastic. Look for features like the ability to:
- Create animations to visually represent processes, list of tasks etc
- Embed videos to describe what is happening or demonstrate a task or a scenario
- Allow learners to have hands-on experience through simulated exercises
- Develop built-in testing so you can test how much knowledge the learner has retained
- Also consider that are the export capabilities and whether the tool supports integrations to learning management systems.
About LEAi and LearnExperts
At LearnExperts we developed a tool we call LEAi and it allows businesses to use the content that they already have to create well-structured knowledge-sharing and training programs.
What does this mean? Our clients take their existing product documentation, presentations and meeting scripts and LEAi instantaneously transforms them into learning content like step-by-step instructions.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can speed up the creation of content for your learning and training programs, let us help you!