Successful learning content creation starts with you. To make an enjoyable, engaging and useful course, you must first fill in your own gaps, which means thinking through the concept of e-learning content creation and identifying the information you are missing. You’ll have to wear many hats in order to create a comprehensive learning program for employees. Here are three steps to creating content for training courses that will generate the best results.
1. Be the Employee
Ask! Develop a good idea of any gaps employees have and what they might like to learn. Knowing their skill and knowledge levels will dictate the intensity of the materials you create. You can also find out which types of materials resonate more with your staff and how they prefer to learn. Include a mix of multimedia content to maximize learning.
Before launching the program, it’s a good idea to survey the crowd. What do your learners think about the training course you’ve devised? Ask questions and use focus groups to gain feedback on the perceived performance of your course. Doing so allows you to:
- Predict how employees will fare throughout the course.
- Identify where there is missing information.
- Become aware of their learning preferences.
- See where the material needs to improve.
- Find out what may motivate them to complete the course.
After collecting this feedback data, you can start developing the details of the program. A good learning content creation process includes establishing learning objectives. Your learners will need to know the purpose of each module and what happens when they complete it. Establishing an emotional connection between the course content and the learner is also useful. Use language, examples and scenarios that employees are familiar with.
Make sure you present 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. Making it obvious how the training will help their careers and their daily tasks will help keep them interested and engaged.
Finally, are you having fun with the training? If you’re not enjoying going through each module, change things up. Learning that is fun is more likely to inspire and engage your learners and keep them going forward.
2. Be the Teacher
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 employees. Remember that you’ll have to break down the concepts so that less knowledgeable people will easily understand them.
Anticipate the points in the course where learners might get stuck, and try to break them into smaller bits of information. Assume that employees are starting from scratch, and give them the foundations on which to build their knowledge. For those employees who whizz through the content, make sure there’s an option to skip modules. You don’t want them to become bored and abandon the course altogether.
Develop the mindset of a teacher, and then take stock of the materials and tools you have available. Do you have videos, photos, interactive slideshows and other materials? Knowing what you have to work with is half the battle and will help you later on, when you’re organizing your training content into modules and micro-modules.
Next, create a plan! Crafting an outline will help keep you on track. Pinpoint what the employees must know when the course is finished, and provide recommendations for continued learning through 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 gaining from it. Keep each chunk of information short and sweet. You don’t want to overload the learner with too much information. Breaking the modules down into micro-content will make it more easily digestible.
3. Be the Designer
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 the needs these designers will have when creating the look and interaction of the training program. Gather 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! Giving them as much visual ammo as possible will help create the desired look and feel for the training. Keeping in touch with the graphic designer will help him or her better understand the visual needs of the course. Also, when collaborating with the web designer, make sure that your multimedia files are functional and applicable.
Content creation is no piece of cake, but it’s also not 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 will be to handle any issues that may come up along the way.