The US e-learning market is estimated to grow by $12.81 billion between 2020 and 2024. In 2020, mobile learning was one of the fastest-growing markets in the sector. It maintained an average steady growth rate of over 23%.
Due to COVID-19, e-learning and virtual learning has become the standard business model for many training providers. Successfully developing an e-learning module should always start with completing a detailed learner analysis.
Start by thinking strategically about your learners, the people you are developing your course for. Do they sit at a computer all day? Are they busy salespeople, truck drivers, or nurses who are constantly on the go? Understanding your learners will drive the design and delivery of your e-learning course. Be sure to give it the time it deserves to get it right up front.
As an example, let’s develop a compliance training module for truck drivers. The following steps follow the ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate) method, but the same steps can also be taken in an agile method, like SAM.
Our learners are truck drivers. These are busy people. They spend most of their time behind the driving wheel, so they can’t take a course that requires them to sit at a computer. But this compliance course is something that must be taken on an annual basis.
Notice that our learner analysis has covered four key data points:
- Who is the learner? They are truck drivers.
- How will they interact with your training modules? We don’t know yet, but we know that they cannot take anything that requires them to be at a desk.
- How much time can they commit to our training program? They can’t commit that much time because they are busy people and are always on the road.
- What do they already know? This course must be taken on an annual basis, but the information is not new. The course is not only a compliance course but also for performance improvement.
Armed with all this information, you can take the next step, which is to create a storyboard.
What is a storyboard?
A storyboard is a tool used to share information about the training module. It contains the visuals, audio/text information, quiz questions, and other crucial information about the course. Having this information will allow you to clearly map your course design and structure.
After completing your storyboard, you can move on to developing the training module. If you are in need of a storyboard template, click here to download one.
Developing Training Modules
This often requires the use of e-learning authoring tools and a learning management system (LMS). E-learning authoring tools are used to develop training modules quickly and create a more dynamic learning experience. There are two main content categories: SCORM-compliant (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) authoring tools and traditional file formats, such as MP4 and PDF.
Examples of SCORM-compliant tools include:
- Adobe Captivate
- Articulate 360
- Articulate Rise
These tools might seem intimidating, but they are preferred when loading courses into an LMS. That’s because a SCORM module can be tracked within the learning management system. For example, an authoring tool can be used to convert a PowerPoint file into a SCORM module, providing course tracking capabilities. These tools also have the ability to help transform click-through PowerPoint slides into interactive and engaging e-learning content. Using a SCORM-based authoring tool in tandem with an LMS benefits both the learner and the organization distributing the learning. It benefits the learner by showing proof of course completion, providing learners with 24/7 access to the content, and giving the learner flexibility when they can complete the training modules. It benefits the organization because:
- E-learning modules can be creatively designed to maximize learner engagement.
- It can create scale for mass distribution of training content.
- Well-designed training modules can easily be reused and adapted to specific learners.
- There is LMS reporting to track completions to determine the return on investment.
- It can embed quizzes and knowledge checks into your modules that can create better accountability and be a catalyst for behavior change.
However, an authoring tool is not the only method for developing e-learning content. PDFs or MP4s, for example, can be used on their own or in tandem with content published from an authoring tool:
- Create a podcast to teach a topic. Develop a video podcast using Vimeo, and upload the file directly to an LMS.
- Video can be great for adult learners, and with the current technological advancements, video production has never been easier. Progress can still be tracked in an LMS, allowing learners to stop and return where they left off.
- PDFs can be uploaded directly into an LMS for use as additional resources or study guides.
Bringing It All Together
Now that we’ve completed our learner analysis, we know that our truck driver learners require micro-learning. Short chunked content should be created, and it needs to be accessible on a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet.
This information will help us decide what types of tools to use to develop our training module. In this example, we are looking for e-learning authoring software that can create engaging, mobile learning. We also need to use a learning management system that can support a mobile training program.
Mapping objectives and design and delivery goals early in the development process makes it far easier to scale and expand an online training business..
For more tips on how to develop a training module, check out these resources:
- Should we build in-house or outsource?
- How to write achievable e-learning objectives
- Graphic design basics for the instructional designer
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.
Ready to use an LMS that’s designed for the way YOU work, with a team dedicated to YOUR needs? Book a no-obligation consultation directly with our team today!