Developing an Effective eLearning Course Part I
Recently a few folks from the Pathways team, including myself, flew to Vancouver to shoot a 360 video in partnership with St. Johns Ambulance. While I will be writing about that experience in the next few weeks as it was certainly an exciting project to be a part of…for today I would like to talk about a discussion I had with my seat mate on the flight over.
About halfway through the flight my seatmate and I got in to a brief discussion about what we each did for a living. After hearing I was a Manger for a training and eLearning company, he opened his laptop and invited me to review an eLearning module related to the launch of a new software program that his company had just purchased. He further explained that he was asked to provide feedback on the training and asked if I would mind offering my opinion. I happily agreed to lend a hand and watched the eLearning module with my new friend. The training opened with explaining the objective was to give the student a better understanding of how to use the software, to what capacity it should be utilized and what to do if assistance was ever required. ...and then the fun really started.
The first scenes were live action video of race cars speeding through mountains, beautiful people enjoying the sun and sand on some secluded island, and a few images of satellites in space. This was followed by several scenes of office employees using the new software and talking about how great their lives were now that they had this magic elixir in their lives. The final scene was the workers leaving the office, turning out the lights and high-fiving each other in some local pub, presumably celebrating the greener pastures which most certainly must lie ahead.
Once the video ended my seatmate asked me what I thought. I told him that while I appreciated the visual elements of the material, the eLearning module failed significantly to meet the stated objective of showing the earner how to use the software.
While the above scenario may sound a bit ridiculous to some I think the situation is a good reminder on the importance of understanding your objectives when developing eLearning, and not just how you plan to deliver on that message, but also how you intend to prove the learner took from the material what was intended. Had the developer of the eLearning software module I watched considered these factors, I have to assume a much different program would have been created.
Next week I am going to continue this discussion, talking specifically about what other elements should be taken in to consideration when designing and developing an eLearning module.
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