Julian Stubbs gives us 15 top tips for designing great online learning
Date: 14 May 2018
Author: Julian Stubbs
The Contraceptive Counselling eLearning course was launched earlier this year. In his blog below, Julian Stubbs (the instructional designer for this course) shares some hints and tips on creating an engaging online experience for your learners.
As an instructional designer for online learning it’s my job to make sure that the learning is fit for purpose. This means that it needs to grab the learner’s attention, provide all the information they need, be relevant to them and provide an enjoyable learning experience. It’s also important that the content is accurate and that means working with great subject matter experts.
I’ve put together some hints and tips below for anyone designing an online learning module.
1. Map your content to your learning objectives to ensure it is relevant and focused. I use action mapping, which allows you to focus on delivering key information and mapping activities to this.
2. If you want to provide more information, provide links to further reading. You can link to resources directly on the page and include a full list of resources which are accessible from a button on your interface.
3. Create some impact at the beginning - give the learner a reason to take the course – in the Contraceptive Counselling course, we created a video.
4. Structure your learning into a logical order.
5. Create a story, with real-life characters that your learners can relate to. These characters can provide a thread throughout the learning and the learner can find out more about them as the course progresses.
6. Use the right language for your audience. If it’s worldwide, use plain English to reach the widest audience.
7. Create a varied range of exercises and interactivity to ensure the learner maintains interest and engagement. It’s important to be aware of what’s possible in the development tool. We used Adapt, which has a range of templates which work on most devices, from laptop to tablets and mobile phones.
8. Break up the learning into small chunks – you don’t want to overwhelm the audience with too much information.
9. Ensure that the images are relevant and don’t clutter up the screen needlessly. White space is good!
10. Include video. Video can really bring your course to life. You can consider shooting a video yourself (Smart Phone now provide excellent quality video) or embedding an existing video from YouTube. This is particularly useful if done in the form of a scenario. If appropriate, ask questions about the video to reinforce learning.
11. Ask the learner lots of questions before providing feedback. Remember, sometimes there is not just one correct answer.
12. Summarise key points regularly to reinforce learning.
13. Provide good sign-posting so the learner doesn’t get lost i.e. instructions for navigating the page, where to go next.
14. Encourage collaborative learning. This can be done using social media and/forums.
15. Include an evaluation questionnaire to get feedback from learners. You can make tweaks to the course based on this.