In the instructor-led training world it is quite common to roll out courses with little or no validation. Validation involves testing a course before it is delivered to the end-user. We often validate or test a course by conducting a pilot session—the first live classroom session for real end-users. When designing elearning courses, best practice advocates a thorough validation before the module or course is rolled out.
The three key areas outlined below are essential to a well-designed elearning course and will ensure that your elearning modules are as effective as possible. Maybe your elearning programs are functional and graphically pleasing, but if they are not instructionally sound the course objectives will not be met. Or maybe they’re instructional and functional, but the graphics are not clean, fresh and relevant. This may put your leaners off and make it harder for them to understand what’s expected of them.
To have the most effective elearning programs, we must validate the course in all three of these areas:
1. Instructional Soundness
Ensure the instruction is based on tasks and that the tasks are broken down into performable steps. Often elearning content is informational with long narratives about a particular topic, but the content may not really be geared to performance-based training.
Make sure the overview of the elearning module is clear by having an agenda. Your learners need to know the objectives, benefits, and what they can expect from an elearning module.
Ensure the module follows a logical sequence. The exercises should be as realistic as possible, and if quizzes are used, the appropriate type of questions should be used and feedback must be timely, clear and relevant.
Ensure the module is easy to navigate and instructions are clear.
Make sure all the features and functions of the module work as intended.
Any job aids included in the module should be easy to access.
If video and audio are used, ensure they are of good quality and play smoothly.
3. Graphic Appeal
Make sure the overall look of the course is appealing.
Confirm the colors used meet corporate requirements and follow good instructional design guidelines.
Check that graphics are instructional or functional and are not used for cosmetic purposes. Make sure the text is easy to read and that graphics aid in the learning and are not distracting.
Using these tips will help your elearning modules hit the mark! You may want to check out Langevin’s
Web-based Training workshop, too!