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How to Create Elearning Courses

A growing number of companies are considering self-authoring as an option for fulfilling their training needs.

There are many benefits to bringing this work in-house, but equally, there are also pitfalls to be avoided.

Find out the factors you should consider in deciding on your training content strategy.

Sometimes, customising off-the-shelf content may be a better solution. Or even hiring an e-learning vendor to produce bespoke content.

How to Create E-learning Courses

E-learning Need to Knows

All you need to know about the production of e-learning. From the pros and cons of self-authoring, processes, costs and how to brief the production of bespoke content.

Pros of In-house Authoring

The development of a range of authoring tools has opened the market to give everyone the tools to make high-quality e-learning. In many cases, these are the same tools as your e-learning vendor will use, so if you have the in-house expertise it makes sense to self-author.

Key advantages

  • Cost-saving.
  • Agile response times.
  • Access to Subject Matter Experts.
  • Decreased development time.
  • Alignment with business goals

So it is important that you choose the correct tool to get you started.

Authoring Tools

A. Choosing an Authoring tool

i. Types of Authoring tool

There are many to choose from, but your first decision should be between Desktop or Cloud based.

ii. Desk-top tools

These are more secure and do not rely on internet connection. They generally come with a one-off purchase fee which can make budgeting easier. On the downside, having the tool locally on your pc or laptop makes it difficult to share content or develop it collaboratively.

iii. Cloud-based Software as a Service tools

The key advantage of this is option is that you can access the tool from anywhere, and it is possible to collaborate with colleagues more easily than using a tool based locally on your machine. There may be security issues with putting your company information on a cloud-based system and they rely on you having access to a web connection.

B. Authoring tool features

Once you have decided what type of tool you want you will then need to choose from many products. Some things to consider:

  • Does it have an intuitive interface?
  • Does it cater for Accessibility?
  • Can you create branching content?
  • Are there a limited number of templates?
  • How does it handle translation?
  • Does it have a variety of exercises to test understanding?

You will probably want to try out a few before making your decision, and most authoring tool vendors offer trial period access.

C. Outputs

Most, if not all authoring tools will offer a variety of outputs but it is worth checking that all the options you need are catered for.

Example output formats include SCORM, AICC, MP4, Word and Excel.

Course Production Resources

The key to creating successful e-learning in-house is understanding the resources you will need and what you have available. Besides the basics of making pages in your new tool, you should consider the skill sets that go into a great piece of e-learning.

A. Content Writer

As an in-house author, you will have easy access to your subject matter experts, but as a rule, you will want to edit their input to turn it from a brain dump into effective learning. So, your first task is to structure the content to address your learning objectives.

B. Instructional Designer

Having created the basic storyboard, you will need to consider how you use the assets at your disposal in the authoring tool. In e-learning development, this is called instructional design and is often the difference between a good course and a poor one.

C. Creative writer

To bring the basic content alive, you may want to create contextual scenarios and exercises so your colleagues see the learning relating to their roles. You may also want to introduce a theme to the course to create engagement.

D. Graphic Designer

There are many competitively priced libraries of stock images, but you may wish to edit these or create your own to reflect internal processes. Having some design skills, such as knowledge of Photoshop, will be very helpful.

E. Project manager

Managing the inputs of your SME’s, reviewers, and additional resources will take time and planning, particularly if you are working to a hard deadline and have to keep several stakeholders happy.

F. Proofreader

No matter how often you read and re-read your content, there is usually some small typo that is immediately spotted by a learner the minute the course is released. Proof-reading is an under-rated skill, and you will want to ensure your content is thoroughly checked before going live.

E-learning Vendors

All authoring tools will advertise their ability to make top-quality learning, but it is not a golden bullet that guarantees success.

If you have the required skillsets to build your own e-learning courses, then it is a great option to consider.

If you need to recruit or train staff to fill the gaps in the e-learning production process it may be simpler and more cost-effective to engage a specialist e-learning vendor.

E-learning Accessibility

Making your service accessible is a requirement in the UK under the Equality Act 2010, and yet until recently, this has not been a high priority for corporate e-learning buyers. For years, the solution has been to provide a Word or PDF version of the content as the ‘accessible’ alternative.

Accessibility in e-learning involves using technology and standards to create training content that is fully accessible to all learners, regardless of whether they have a disability or not.

Many authoring tools will provide you with content that will automatically work with assistive technology, such as screen readers.

However, you will need a good understanding of accessibility design concepts, such as colour contrast, page layout, text and font choices.

It is a complex process that we explain on our e-learning accessibility page

Customise your Library

By definition, our library courses are generic, but we can tailor them to your specific needs. We've already done this for many of our key clients, including FTSE 100 firms.

It is a quick and easy way to get customised content, without the time and expense of a bespoke solution.

Book a Demo

Customise your Library