One of the most common questions we get from professional training developers and training providers is: what are the best practices for developing training programs right now? Our answer is that it starts with design principles and follows simple industry best practices for designing and developing training programs.

Adhering to e-learning content development best practices for training companies will help you create engaging content for your learners and the best possible outcomes for your business. Through research, simple and careful design, and product testing, you can ensure that your investment will pay you back in dividends through profits and with active learners and satisfied customers.

Know your audience 

Before you jump right in and start laying out lessons, you need to take a deep dive into audience analysis. Who are you designing training for, and what problem is it supposed to solve? Make sure to ask clarifying questions, and consider surveying your current clients about their needs. Get clear on your client’s objectives and your role in helping them reach their business goals, and ensure that the course outcomes match up with the learning objectives. Doing this research before you begin designing will help you determine how to configure the content.

You may want to consider using a learning methodology such as ADDIE or SAM to help you design and develop in detail. Using one of these approaches will help you decide on the best way to teach and train your audience. Both methods begin with a robust analysis phase, so you can choose what format or structure is best for the content and learner. It will greatly depend on the specifics of your target market and audience. For example, you can’t make a course without text or closed captions for an audience with hard-of-hearing learners.

After choosing your format, create a storyboard and script to help you organize your ideas and identify any issues prior to designing. Developing the storyboard and script with visual and audio tools, even simple ones, will give you a clear picture of the end product. Without knowing who your audience is and preparing and planning for the design that will best serve them, the training that you create may end up being irrelevant and uninteresting and fail to meet your clients’ needs. 

Learn, test, optimize

Before releasing training, test your LMS, Shopify store, and website to make sure the process is smooth for clients and learners alike. It is especially important to check multimedia and interactive elements. For example, do you have any long-running videos that could be cut into shorter chunks? Videos are beneficial in e-learning but make sure you’re using them effectively.

Trial and validate your course materials to ensure that you are selling the experience that you’ve promised. Ask yourself, “Does the course fully meet the clients’ needs?” Ask for and listen to client feedback, and act on it when appropriate. Continuously working to provide the best learning experience possible will make your training content sound. It will also make your clients feel heard and valued and keep them coming back to you for your expertise.

Your LMS plays a crucial role in your digital strategy. Use built-in LMS reporting tools to your advantage to access insights and direct future updates. With Firmwater, reports can be customized for your research and easily exported in different formats for further analysis. Review learner activity, assessments, logins, and more with LMS reports to gain valuable insight into how users interact with your system and content. Then, leverage this data to develop updates, address problematic content, and pinpoint engaging and valuable content to create more of what your audience wants.

Neglecting to test your training or analyze your learners’ experiences can leave you with less-than-optimal training for your clients. 

Provide an excellent experience

User experience (UX) is a vital consideration when designing and developing training programs. You must determine how to structure the course, what content chunking will be done, and what navigation is to be provided within the modules of the course. Choose an authoring tool that best reflects your capability to accomplish this. Set internal standards on how navigation within the e-learning content will be done so it is consistent within and between the modules that comprise the course. Some authoring tools provide templates to make this easier, and others will let authors develop their own templates.

Great UX is imperative to successful training, and this is especially true when it comes to device optimization. Most course-authoring tools have fully responsive design capabilities, so you don’t have to waste time worrying about designing separate courses for different devices.

The LMS interface for your clients should also be simple, intuitive, and easy to navigate. The Firmwater LMS provides this functionality for you and any client sites that you set up. The ease of use will help keep your content clean and free of distractions so clients can focus on their learning and learners.


To give your training company a boost when designing and developing training programs, follow simple industry best practices to make your content the best that it can be. Pay attention to your users, give them an excellent experience, and continuously seek and utilize their feedback. Implement these content development strategies to provide the best training possible.

Using best practices for designing and developing training programs will help your professional training company thrive. The most important elements of training design and development are simple:

  • Know your customer.
  • Continuously optimize your system and content.
  • Deliver an amazing user experience.

Getting these crucial elements right will make your training company unstoppable!

Firmwater is more than an LMS training provider. We partner with customers, providing them with the tools and expert insight that they need to implement the best in-practice e-learning course development and delivery. Our customers have been trusting us for years to deliver their high-quality training, freeing them up to focus on growing their business.

Ready to use an LMS that’s designed for the way YOU work, with a team dedicated to YOUR needs? Take Firmwater for a free 14-day test drive today!