When you know where you’re headed, it is tempting to get into the car and start driving. However, the journey to masterful online training delivery must be planned and plotted before you start the car. While you could jump into e-learning development once you know the kind of content that you need to create, your company should recognize and follow the learning and development industry’s best practices to reach your destination of masterful e-learning delivery and developing training.
One of the most vital best practices for e-learning content development is selecting an industry-recognized learning methodology that you will use to guide your e-learning creation. There are a wide variety of learning methodologies, so pick the one that you think will best fit your style and company’s needs. One of the most common methodologies is ADDIE. Other popular options include SAM and Backward Design (Understanding by Design).
Because ADDIE is widely recognized throughout the learning and development industry, this post will use it as a roadmap to developing training. If you follow the approach set out by ADDIE, you will arrive at your intended destination: delivering training that engages and educates your target audience. The five stages to ADDIE are:
In the analysis phase, you will assess your training needs and determine the best way to meet them. You will identify the problem that you are trying to solve with training and define the methods that you will use to solve it with e-learning. As a training provider, you must fully understand your learning audience and their preferences. This understanding will allow you to determine the audience’s obstacles to learning, so you can decide how to deliver the training and define the timeline on which the training should occur.
The tools that you may need to design and deliver this training should also be determined here. Examples to consider are course authoring tools, multimedia tools, and learning management systems (LMS). By choosing authoring tools and LMS that support the SCORM standard, you’ll be assured compatibility with each other.
When you are finished with the analysis phase of ADDIE, you will enter the design phase. This is where you determine the structure of your training and its content. Training providers should design learning with the audience in mind. How will you keep your audience engaged? How will they interact with the content you create? What are their learning needs? Answering these questions will help you create content that is valuable to the learner.
It is best to make decisions at this point regarding assessments. As a training provider, you’ll want to be able to demonstrate that your training is providing value to your customers. Decide how you will assess learning while it is happening and once it concludes. Will you need a pre-assessment? What type of post-assessment is necessary to evaluate the knowledge that a learner has gained? Will you give the learners the option to provide feedback on their experience after they’ve completed the training? Be sure to plan for these assessments such that the LMS captures the data to support the reporting needed to enable analysis of the training.
Also in the design phase, you will document the strategies that support your training, including all instructional, visual, and technical design considerations. Then, you will apply the strategies to the training to help meet your learning objectives. From there, you will make a storyboard, design the user interface and user experience, and create a training prototype for review.
In the development phase of ADDIE, you will create your training. You will expand the content assets that you identified in the design phase here. To ensure that you have created sound, credible online education, get feedback on your creation and test it. Involve key stakeholders and a test audience that is representative of your target learner population at this stage by having them take and review the training that you developed. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make as an online training provider is not sufficiently testing your content before you launch.
Training managers should ensure that all developed content is best for their core learning demographic. Content should reflect the cultural diversity of the audience. If you are developing e-learning for a global audience, take care to avoid assumptions about geo-cultural norms. Choose your words wisely, and work to include learners of all backgrounds and experiences.
In the implementation phase, you will develop a plan on how you are going to deploy your training to your target population. At this stage, clear and concise communication with your learners is key to achieve good acceptance of the new program within the population. Be sure to notify your learners of new training requirements via trusted sources. For example, if your LMS is new to the learners, be sure that they are made aware of the new system and its role via their organization’s communications channels. This may be an email from their manager or another source within the organization describing the new initiative.
During this stage, depending upon the role of the training program within each target population, training program managers must determine if the program is going to be optional or required for learners. In some situations, it may be required for some learners and optional for others. If required, you must consider how you will assign the content and what deadlines will be set for the learners. When the program is optional, you’ll need to make the target user community aware of its availability and how to access the program. Firmwater offers a variety of features to meet the specific needs of a training company. For example, it enables customers to auto-assign content based on location, department, job title, languages, and user roles. Or you can add the program to the course library and allow users to add it to their plan.
Although it is the last phase of ADDIE, evaluation should be considered in each stage of the methodology. In the earlier stages, the project manager should ensure that the program is saving the data needed for the evaluation.
Analyzing your audience’s responses and scoring can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your content on a continual basis. Be mindful when collecting data, especially regarding sensitive topics like gender, race, ethnicity, or abilities. For EU users, GDPR compliance is imperative. Consider limiting access to reports that include sensitive or protected information to specific administrators who are performing the analysis.
A learning methodology like ADDIE provides you with a roadmap to developing training that will result in a learning experience that is engaging and sound in practice. Each stage of ADDIE is necessary for the success of your e-learning content development to get to masterful delivery. That said, you can adjust the steps as necessary to suit your specific needs—particular learning and learning design approaches are never one-size-fits-all solutions. Using the right tools, following the right processes, and selecting the right LMS to deliver your content are all necessary steps in delivering effective learning solutions. With this roadmap as your guide to training development and masterful delivery, you can start your engine and press the gas with confidence. You’ll reach your destination in no time!
Here at Firmwater, we don’t just sell an LMS for training providers. We partner with our clients, giving them the tools and insights they need to implement the best practices in e-learning course development, growth, and delivery. We care too much about our customers’ businesses to have them wade through forums and chatbots for help.
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