Professional dilemmas

I’m
a training manager and have been asked to write some e-learning material for
some in-house product training. Are there any guidelines you can give me?

Designing
and writing e-learning content is much more complex than producing classroom
material. You need to understand how to organise course material so it is
logically ordered and includes plenty of meaningful interaction. You must be
able to write precise behavioural objectives and have a clear understanding of
learning theory – especially related to learning online.

The
ability to design questions and analyse responses are both essential skills.
You will also need a good writing style and the ability to adapt to meet the
needs of different learners. You must also be able to set up
statistically-based validation tests that demonstrate where courses need
strengthening or adapting.

You
can write acceptable basic e-learning courses using only HTML code. However,
access to well-designed authorware will be helpful. Look at a number of
demonstrations before you commit yourself. You need to consider whether you
will be adding more e-learning courses and, if so, whether the authorware will
enable you to manage them. For this, you would be better off with a learning
content management system (LCMS) than simple authorware.

E-learners
need a lot more support. You could provide e-tutors and ensure the organisation
provides face-to-face support. These should be subject experts who provide
feedback to learners’ exercises. Face-to-face support can come from an in-house
‘mentor’, whose role is to allocate time and resources and provide
encouragement.

I
would recommend you take some training on an accredited course. There include
the Institute of IT Training, the CIPD, Sheffield Hallam University (MSc),
Sheffield College and Sherpa Integrated Learning.

Make
sure you take a course that deals with learning design, not just the
technology, –  with an appropriate level
of accreditation.

Brian
Holley is MD of Sherpa Integrated Learning. He has written Designing and
Writing E-learning Content and Effective Online Tutoring www.sherpa.org.uk

 

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