January 14 2009

eLearning Course Development

Written by Shevy Levy

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Recently, I was asked about our elearning course development approach so I thought I might just share it with all of you. 
Our approach to course development is to work in close collaboration with our clients through our 7 step course development methodology.  

Step 1 Needs Analysis  

 We conduct a learner profile analysis, learning environment analysis and content analysis. The learner profile analysis allows us to get into the shoes of the learner so that we can design an online course that meets not only their learning style but also their work life. The learning environment analysis gives us the technology specifications that we must use as we develop the course. The content analysis helps us understand the readiness of the content and is the basis for our next step; Design

Step 2 Design

To ensure that the resulting course is based on Adult Education Principles, Lambda Solutions uses an instructional design methodology based on the ADDIE model. In this model we work with your team to:
o   Map content to objectives
o   Identify missing content
o   Collaborate with SME’s
o   Fill in missing content
Next Learner Engagement is designed into the process by identifying opportunities where content can be enriched through media and interactivities. Our instructional design(ID)  team creates an ID script that explains what type of media will be used in each module and topic in conjunction with your input. Where appropriate, storyboards are created for specific media pieces.
To ensure Ease of Use Lambda Solutions designs appealing screen interfaces with a consistent presentation of functionality. All of our screen designs incorporate Adult Education best practices as well as usability principles from the Advanced Distributed Learning’s (ADL) Guidelines for Design and Evaluation of Web-Based Instruction.

Step 3 Development

Based on the design specifications above we build the desired media and the user interface. Next we migrate all the media and text content into the interface. Common media elements in our courses include rich graphics, animations, interactive mini games, video demonstrations, video case scenarios, audio narration, reinforcement quiz questions, assessment questions, and glossary items.  

Step 4 Deployment

In the deployment phase we integrate the course into the deployment  environment and ensure that the course is working properly. Any bugs that come up are fixed and documented in our issues management system, which is highlighted in Section 2.2.

Step 5 Train the Trainer

The Train the Trainer program is customized based on your need. Essentially it helps teach you how to make the most of your eLearning course by covering such topics as eLearning support, updating your content and improving outcomes for eLearners.

Step 6 Pilot & Evaluation

Pilots in general are means of validating the objectives of a project. In eLearning  this translates into assessing if the learners can meet the learning objectives after having taken the course as well as assessing the  subjective data of usability and user engagement.
During this step we start by creating a pilot plan where we identify:
o     Scope and objectives of the pilot
o     Pilot participants
o     Support for pilot participants
o     Technology needed for the pilot
o     Pilot location
o     Pilot communication strategy
o     User tests and feedback methods
Once the plan has been created we lead your user group through the testing phase by:
·             Explaining the procedure to him/her.
·             Determining their prior knowledge.
·            Observing him/her using the program.
·             Interviewing him/her afterwards.
·             Assessing their experience and feedback.
·             Documenting how the course could be revised.
We generally find that interviewing is best done through questionnaires as users tend to feel more confident in providing truthful answers when asked questions indirectly. Once the questionnaires are completed we  then aggregate and analyse the data to determine what might be changed and improved. The data summary is then provided to you with recommended changes and improvements. Changes are completed based on your approval.

Step 7 Maintenance

Our maintenance programs allow your piece of mind and ensure that your course is congruent with the latest technology updates. Our issues tracking system provides you automatic responses when issues are identified and also notifies you with the steps that have been taken to mitigate the issue. Our maintenance programs can be course specific, learning management specific or specific towards both.

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