Building elearning courses is hard enough. Most people are working with limited resources and time. So having to deal with anything that slows down the process is a hassle. Here are three common roadblocks and ways to avoid them.
Lack of Clear Objectives
I get to look at hundreds of courses during the year. One of the biggest issues I see is that the objectives of the course aren’t clear. They’re all wishy-washy with statements like you’ll “learn” or “understand.” They tell you what you should learn, but they should be telling you what you’ll be able to do.
Don’t make a list of objectives based on what a person should learn or understand. Instead declare what the person will be able to do. And then determine how you’ll prove that they can do it.
At a previous place we used to ask, “If I saw it in action, what would it look like?” This helped us to focus on actionable results. If there’s nothing to see or no real action associated to the course completion, then you might want to consider not building the course.
Sloppy Asset Management
One of my pet peeves is tangle cords. There’s nothing more frustrating than going to get an extension cord or a power adapter out of a box and find it all tangled and knotted.
In the elearning world, sloppy asset management is like a box of tangled cords. It wastes time because it’s hard to find what you need when you need it. This is easy to avoid.
Here are two simple things you can do:
- Create a generic folder structure for your courses. I have a folder that I copy when I start a new project. Inside that folder are other folders that will hold the courses assets. Some of the sub folders I have are: Quizmaker, Engage, Flags, audio, images, notes, fonts, templates, etc. Every course I build uses the same folder structure so I know where things are and it’s easy to share the project folders with others.
- Come up with a consistent naming structure. I’ll have to admit that I can get a little sloppy on this myself. I don’t know how many “temp” folders I have on my desktop. There’s no set rule on how to do it, but come up with a consistent way that you and your team can identify and label your files. Common elements are version numbers and date created.
Who Controls the Content?
Who owns the content and has final say on the design and implementation of the elearning courses? If you’re the subject matter expert and final authority of the content, then that’s perfect. But for many, that’s not the case. Find out who owns the content.
There are a few things to consider:
- Who can help you identify and craft actionable objectives?
- Who gets to offer feedback and make changes to the content?
- Who owns the final sign off? Pull those people in right away so you don’t have to make last minute changes.
There’s a lot that goes into building elearning courses; and with that a lot that can slow things down. Develop clear objects, keep track of your files, and make sure you’re connected to the right people. That’ll help you stay on top of things and make the development process much more successful.
What are some roadblocks you experience? What do you do to avoid them? Feel free to add your thoughts via the comments link.
If you’d like me to come to your area, the best bet is to connect with a group like your local ISPI or ASTD chapter and have them contact me.
Here’s a list of upcoming conferences and presentations:
- October 16-19: Las Vegas, NV (CUNA)—Experience Learning Live! I’ll be presenting on building communities and how to build elearning courses with limited resources.
- November 1: Las Vegas, NV (Elearning Guild)—Devlearn. Doing a pre-conference workshop and presentation at the conference.
- November 12: Los Angeles, CA (ISPI)—Articulate Workshop. Details to follow.
- November 14: Minneapolis, MN (ASTD)—Articulate Workshop: Build Interactive E-Learning…Rapidly. Click here for updates.
- December 8: Charlotte, NC (ASTD)—Rapid E-Learning Design. I’ll also be doing a free Articulate jam session while in town. I’ll have the details in next week’s post. If you want to attend let me know.
2012 is just around the corner. If you’re interested in having me present, now’s a good time to connect with me since my schedule is filling quickly.