Learning & Development employee Marcel has been instructed by his manager to transform a classroom training about compliance into an e-learning. Smart choice: classroom trainings have become as rare as a day without video calls. Marcel is eager to start developing. However, he first has to consider some fundamental instructional design principles that will bring his e-learning to the next level.

What is instructional design?

First things first: what is instructional design? Well, it’s a process in which an instructional designer determines the concept and structure of the e-learning. He or she does so based on the target audiencelearning goalslearning environment, the medium and the support that is available. Of course, the learning content has a big impact on those five aspects. The concept that the instructional designer lays out during this phase, determines the future development as well as the success of the e-learning in a later stage.

Are you planning to transform learning materials into a digital training, just like Marcel? Ask yourself these five essential questions first.

1. What is the e-learning’s target audience?

Who are the people who will be following your training? Which job title do they have and what role do they play in the organization? Why do they have to take this course and what do they already know about the subject?

The more extensive your target audience is, the more general you should keep the training. If you want to work with practical examples, make sure that they are more or less recognizable for both worker profiles and employees. Do users have limited or no experience with digital tools? Add clear instructions and give some extra TLC to the e-learning’s user experience.

2. Which learning goals do you want to achieve?

Which results do you want to achieve with your training? Are you aiming at building awareness about certain issues, or do participants have to pass a test after finishing the e-learning? These are important nuances to take into account when considering the instructional design.

So, try to identify clearly what users have to be able to do and to know after the training. That way, you keep the content of the course focused and aimed at achieving the learning goals.

3. In which environment are users learning?

This question is extremely relevant for the practical development of the e-learning. Determine where and when users will be taking the course. After all, this can have a major impact on (technical) choices in the development process.

For example: does your target audience work with computers that are unable to play sound? Then leave out any voice-over or sound effects. Are users always on the road, or do they have limited access to a laptop or desktop? Then provide a responsive, mobile-friendly version of the course.

4. Which e-learning format do you choose?

The way you present your learning material makes or breaks your course. An absolute no go: bury users under a huge pile of facts and information. An information overload like that guarantees that users drop out. The content won’t stick.

At Neo Learning, we strongly believe in scenario-based learning. That means presenting the learning material in a situation familiar for users. By working with realistic scenarios in which users play an active role, we increase their motivation and involvement as well as retention of the content. A win-win, that’s for sure.

Add interactive elements to your course in the form of videos, short games, scenarios, questions, etc. Or chop a bulky course into small bites of microlearning, each in their own style or format. Always keep in mind what the user needs to make the learning content his or her own.

5. What support can users count on?

Users need some form of support during their learning process. So, never leave them to their own devices. What goes without saying for you as an experienced Learning & Development specialist, may be brand new input for participants.

Support can take the form of clear instructions that accompany the e-learning, or even a theoretical part that users can consult if needed. Technical support (on the LMS) or assistance from a trainercoach or subject matter expert offers users the necessary help to explore their digital learning program.

Are your e-learning concepts on point?

Do you want to pitch your e-learning concepts to our instructional designer? Or place the entire instructional design in Neo Learning’s capable hands? We are ready to assist you with advice and action. You can also count on us for the full development of the e-learning course. We’d love to get to know you! Contact us today.

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