Transitioning from instructor-led to eLearning instructional design may be daunting because it appears to require a new mindset. But, while the technology provides new options not available in an ILT (instructor-led training) class, many of the instructional design principles remain the same.
1. Know your audience and what they will be doing with the learning following the course. Consider what’s “nice to know” and what’s “essential to know” and the duration of the learning event. This will guide your learning objectives and high-level design that should be signed off by key subject matter experts and stakeholders before you get into the development of the course itself.
2. Chunk your content into sizeable and logical components (we call them modules and within them are lessons). Once the course design is completed, lay it out in sequence and ensure it flows logically, and that there are varied activities (see more about potential activities below). We suggest an activity every 5-7 minutes for ILT programs and every 1-2 minutes for elearning.
3. Provide “milestones” that learners must pass before they advance to more-difficult content. This may include self-assessments, demonstrations or role-play activities, all of which can be done in either venue. As the content gets more complex, continue to roll-up the information into a visual depiction and summarize before completing the course.
4. Provide reinforcement or “high-touch” ideally by the managers of the participants before the learning event (to ensure readiness for the learning and an understanding of the context for the learning or WIIFM) and following the event (to ensure application to the workplace and motivation for continuous learning).
5. Vary activities by considering such possibilities as:
6. Always remember that learners prefer to be in control of their own learning, so opening up the environment to provide choices or paths that are not always linear can be more engaging and fun. Adult learners bring with them so much experience – regardless of age – that we can provide a truly memorable path for continuous learning when we give them an opportunity for choices whenever possible and regardless of the venue.