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Please note that “3 Tips for Successful Learning Content Creation" was originally published on TrainingIndustry.com by our team.
Successful learning content creation starts with you. To make an enjoyable, engaging, and useful course, you must first fill in your own gaps. This means, thinking the concept of eLearning content creation through and realizing what information you are missing. You'll have to wear many hats in order to create a comprehensive learning module for your employees.
Here are the steps to creating content for employee training courses that will generate the best results:
Ask! Get a good idea of what gaps your employees might have and what they might like to learn. Knowing what their skill and knowledge levels are will dictate the intensity of the material you put out. You can also find out what types of materials resonate more with your staff and what type of learners they are. Some of them will be auditory learners and others, visual. Include a mix of multimedia resources to make sure you maximize learning.
Before running the program, it would be a good idea to survey the crowd. What do your employees think about the training course you've devised? Ask questions and use focus groups to get feedback on the perceived performance of your course. Doing this allows you to:
Predict how your employees will fare throughout the course
See where there is missing information
Become aware of their styles of learning
See where the material needs to improve
See what may motivate them to go through the module
After recording the feedback data you can start developing the details. A good learning content creation process includes thinking about learning objectives. Your employees will need to know the purpose of each micro-module, and what happens when they complete it. Also, establishing an emotional connection between the course content and the learner is super useful. Use the language, examples, and scenarios that your employees are familiar with.
Make sure you present your employees with the benefits of engaging in the training. Motivation to learn is hard to come by these days. We're all so overwhelmed by the constant everyday buzz. So, making it obvious how this training will help their career and daily tasks, will help keep them interested and engaged.
Are you having fun with it? If you're not enjoying going through each module then you need to change things up. Learning that is fun is more likely to inspire, engage, and keep your employees going forward.
To teach, you must think like a teacher. If you have never been in this position before, don't fret! The best way to teach is by first learning. Make sure you have a handle on the subject you're about to teach your employees. Remember that you'll have to break down the concepts so that less-knowledgeable people will easily understand it.
You'll need to use foresight to anticipate points in the course where learners might get stuck. Try to break those points into smaller bits of information. Assume that your employees are starting from scratch and give them the foundations on which to build their knowledge. For those employees that whizz through the content, make sure the option to skip is there. You don't want them to become bored and abandon the module altogether.
Get into the mindset of a teacher and then take stock of what materials and tools you have available. Do you have videos, photos, interactive slideshows, and other materials you can use? Knowing what you have to work with is half the battle. This will help you later on in the game when you're organizing your training content into modules and micro-modules.
Now, create the plan! Crafting an outline will help keep you on the straight and narrow. You should pinpoint what the employees absolutely must learn once the course is finished. Provide recommendations for continued learning via external links or job aids that employees can choose to pursue.
Remember to outline the learning objectives for each lesson or module. Your learners will feel motivated to achieve the next step if they know what their objective is and what they're getting out of it. Still, keep each chunk of information short and sweet. You don't want to overload the learner with too much info. Breaking the modules down into micro-content will make it more easily digestible for the learner.
Okay, you most likely cannot be the graphic and web designer as well as the creator of the course content. But, you can keep in mind what needs these designers will have when creating the look and interaction of the training program. Gather the data, explain the outline, and give them as much visual detail as possible. You can also create mood boards and share a folder with inspiring examples. Remember, designers think visually! So, giving them as much visual ammo as possible will help reach the desired look and feel for the training application.
Keeping in touch with the graphic designer will help them better understand the visual needs of the course. Also, in collaborating with the web designer, you ensure that the functionality and applicability of the multimedia files are as they should be.
Learning content creation is no piece of cake. But, it's also not something insurmountable. Do your homework and read all there is to know about this subject! The more you know before you begin, the better prepared you are to handle any issues that may come up along the way. When in doubt, consult with the experts who can guide you in the right direction!
Andrew Hughes is the President of Designing Digitally, Inc., Professor at the University of Cincinnati, and is a consultant for ACICS and HLC as Curriculum evaluator. Andrew's mission is to deliver innovative learning solutions that educate in a way that allows individuals to retain information effectively and be engaged throughout the learning experience.