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ELEARNING CONTENT DEVELOPMENT

Developing modern eLearning that is truly effective requires expertise in learning methods, tools, processes, platforms and in managing the people involved along the way. 

Much of the chatter in the learning industry today is about such topics as user-generated content, self-directed learning, microlearning, AI and learning experience platforms. However, it’s still the case that many L&D departments are struggling to work out the practicalities of how to harness the capabilities of this newly available technology.

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The demand to get a wide variety of digital learning resources in a shorter period of time with a limited budget, is a common challenge for organisations.

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Larger organisations will have an LMS, but often feel they are wedded to it and its functionality.

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Organisations have many pieces of organisation specific content that needs to be accessible to employees; policies, processes, procedures, guidelines, charts – many of which require frequent updating.

WHAT DO I NEED - TRADITIONAL eLEARNING?

Traditional SCORM eLearning courses are still relevant today and lend themselves well to certain requirements, particularly for large topics where context and flow is important. SCORM gives the obvious ability to track progress and completion. Custom eLearning course development should focus on being engaging, relevant, well structured and in alignment with learning outcomes. There are many SCORM eLearning authoring tools to choose from. The more modern tools have the ability to create a very pleasant and successful learning experience, with responsive designs for mobile devices.

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WHAT DO I NEED - MODERN ASSETS AND RESOURCES?

The demise of the LMS, the diminishing popularity of lengthy SCORM courses, and the acceptance that not everything needs to be tracked - has given rise to a more asset-driven approach to eLearning. The “resources not courses” argument seems to be winning out. Platforms and content are converging in new Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs), that offer a more modern environment in which to access learning activities. Rather than trackable SCORM courses, these platforms offer up content in many forms and encourage self-directed learning. Microlearning principles are being adopted and learners have access to a variety of short learning nuggets. The millennials of today, and changing cultures in how we access information, are demanding change from Learning & Development at work. Learners want relevancy and variety, learning that they can access in the flow of work, and training that fits into their busy, hectic workstyles.

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What to do with all the internal topics

An L&D head may be inundated with training requests, on top of all the training he or she has identified as being required. Very quickly, the list of necessary training topics is too big to source or develop affordably. So what goes to the top of the list? Compliance topics. What gets pushed down? The useful, short, relevant pieces of (often internally generated) content that boost employee performance. Organisations need fast, easy development and deployment.

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USER EXPERIENCE STANDARDS

Today’s learners are used to having quick, easy, immediate access to high quality, high definition resources that do exactly what they say they do, on all their mobile devices. Social media shares access to world experts delivering their chosen specialist subjects. Learners want a non-laborious process of accessing content on a range of devices and expect a variety of – appropriate – media types.

The technology now exists to deliver eLearning projects in all these forms and more. There is a move away from LMS completion criteria and towards creating a library of valuable assets into which learners can dip in and out, based on need and self-direction. It’s reasonable therefore, that learners would expect a rich user experience in their online learning.

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MICROCONTENT BENEFITS

The benefits of developing microcontent are becoming clear, for both business and learner.

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    Developing short assets will help you respond more quickly to business needs.

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    Individual assets can live anywhere, be created and deployed quickly, and can be reused and updated with little effort.

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    Creating focused, single-outcome activities will help achieve what you want, when you want, and give control over scalability and eLearning content development cost.

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    Creating impactful types of eLearning content are ideal for key messages; creating a series can cover a larger topic.

If you can give learners variety, relevance and an enhanced user experience, you could change the culture of learning within your organisation. This can then allow you to flourish as a provider of modern learning services.

A FASTER, MORE AGILE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

Hand in hand with the popularity of individual reusable learning objects (RLOs) is a much more agile and flexible development process. This has resulted in the ability to get short, focused pieces of content out to the masses more quickly and cheaply than before. These learning resources can sit on many platforms, not just on a Learning Management System. They can be reused, repurposed and reframed to suit, making them valuable assets in a learning toolkit. The speed at which individual assets can be developed enables business challenges to be addressed much more quickly than before, allowing L&D departments to be much more responsive to learner needs. Developing a series of short, chunked assets means that the time and planning required from Subject Matter Experts is also more focused and manageable than for larger, more traditional custom learning courses.

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THE ART OF INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN IS CHANGING

Good instructional design is at the core of all content development. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that learning resources are effective because they look good (learning resources should always look great!). Nothing can make up for well-written, well-designed learning assets. Whatever your deliverables, a good instructional designer will:

  • Be clear on your needs and your learners’ needs

  • Add real value to the design of any resources

  • Always maintain high writing standards

  • Employ modern, best practice methods of teaching

  • Offer appropriate methods and tools for delivery

  • Ensure the structure, flow and pacing of content is such that the learner can progress with ease and fluency

  • Make UX paramount in design decisions

LEARNING ARCHITECTS

With an asset-based approach, content development skills become ever more crucial. A different set of ID challenges now exist, but they’re challenges that a competent instructional designer will relish.

The merging of content with platform requires an extension to the traditional instructional design skills. It’s necessary to think much more holistically about the whole learning experience. Elearning developer skills now include the ability to scaffold a full eLearning solution.

It’s not enough now to list learning objectives and match well-presented slides to those objectives. Shorter, bite-sized learning assets are of a ‘single-outcome’ nature, often as part of a suite of such learning resources. Learning experience design requires a thorough knowledge of the target audience and its competencies, and an in-depth understanding of what exactly needs to be remembered. The ability to teach is paramount. Microcontent is short by nature, so an ID has a limited ‘time’ to effectively convey each key learning outcome in a focused, concise way.

In addition, developing content for a full and pure microlearning programme, complete with adaptive learning and spaced repetition, requires inventive and smart planning of microcontent activities and their strategic deployment.

A full range of high-class ID skills is required:

COMMUNICATION

COLLABORATION

ORGANISATION AND STRUCTURING

MODERN LEARNING METHODOLOGIES

MODERN TOOLS AND PLATFORM

RESEARCH

CREATIVITY

VISUALISATION

WRITING

QUESTIONING

TEACHING TIPS AND TRICKS

The modern learning experience designer will have ideas and methods for eLearning content creation at his or her fingertips, and be jumping at the chance to create effective and flexible resources.

TRANSLATION SERVICES

Handing over the localisation of your content to a trusted and proven translation provider ensures a high level of quality and consistency. This consistency should cover texts, video subtitling, voiceover artists and a multi-language rebuild of your learning resources. Finding a content provider that can also fulfil all your translation requirements is an added bonus. It’s possible to receive cost and time benefits from integrating the translation step into the overall content development, as well as having the benefits of an already established relationship

Read here about Logicearth’s strategic partnership with Comtec Translations.

WORKING WITH EXTERNAL PROVIDERS FOR SUCCESS

The nuances of good content development can be lost in the constraints of time, budget and available expertise. Creating courses and developing the high-quality learning resources expected by learners can only be done by high quality content developers – there’s no easy way to shortcut this. The good news is that building a relationship with a good content development partner can, in the long run, save time and money. It can greatly reduce some of the pressures on L&D personnel by becoming that safe pair of hands that is heavily invested in the success of the business.

  • Using an external content provider, you gain all of their skills, expertise and business acumen, and access to a range of the latest and greatest tools and methods.

  • Professionalism will be at the heart of all they do for you – products, services and process.

  • An outsourcing model will help to smooth out the peaks and trough of content demand, reducing stress and ensuring consistency in standards and quality.

  • You can expect your content partner to keep on top of current trends in the marketplace.

  • Your partner will offer tools and solutions on the forefront of today’s thinking around learning effectiveness.

CO-DEVELOPMENT

You may have your own team of content developers, but a good provider can act as an extension of this team, assisting with peaks and troughs and adding to your expertise and skills. It will collaborate and share knowledge, and ultimately help establish your team in working independently to develop its own resources.

A competent, credible provider will de-risk your content development strategy. It will manage timelines, scope creep and multiple stakeholders. It will invest time at the beginning of a project to ensure it understands what’s needed and be the safe pair of hands you need to get the job done and make your hard efforts shine within your organisation.

Read how our digital designers help make custom eLearning a joy to the senses.

Learn how you apply microlearning principles to traditional content development.

Click to read about the shift from SCORM to scalable solutions.

TALK TO A SPECIALIST TODAY

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