Planning Your eLearning Development: Step 1 & 2

Adriann Haney | 08/06/2013

I realize I’ve not formally introduced myself here on the blog. So here goes; my name is Adriann Haney and I have the pleasure of working for Omniplex helping to build their US presence. I live in Buckingham County, Virginia, which is the middle of nowhere. However, if you were to look it up on a map, it would tell you I’m about an hour west of Richmond, VA (the Capital of VA). Buckingham is a pretty area with rolling hills but it is for sure “the country” and suits my hobby of raising and riding horses. 

Developers Chair I’m a classic horse junkie with my horse obsession starting at age 8. One thing I very quickly learned about riding was that nothing was done (well) without planning. Whether it’s getting your horse from the field and having to fight off the other 5 horses that want to “sneak” through the gate, deciding how to ride a course of 8 jumps or preparing for a horse show. It seemed all horse related activities took some degree of planning and preparation. Of course, most things do take planning but I learned with horses it was truly the case of “failing to plan” equalling “planning to fail”. So I learned early that planning was the key component to having even a glimmering chance of success with horses. I think the same goes with developing an elearning course. I’ve put together a list of planning steps I think are equally important in the horse show ring and in the elearning developer chair. In this post we’ll review the first 2 steps.

1. Planning  the Desired Outcome: What are we really trying to do here?

For horse showing: It seems simple, win. But it’s not always that simple (and winning rarely happens to me, so I’ve had to come up with some other criteria.) Depending upon the horse, the show, the weather, my training and many more items, I try to come up with a reasonable and attainable goal.  For example, I may be taking a young inexperienced horse to their first show, which would mean my main goal would be staying in the saddle.

For your elearning course: Determine exactly what it is you want your learner to do. Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself: Where is your learner at in their learning path? Are there basic training concepts, e.g. product knowledge, that they will already know or do you have to continue to impress and explain the basics? If there was one thing you wanted them to know after completing your course what would it be? Once you have clearly determined your goal, it will help you better plan and define what your course should look and act like.

2. Planning the Process : How do you go about doing it?

For your elearning course: Now that you have your #1 goal in mind, you can develop your learning objectives. Think about when your learner presses that “close course” button, what will they go back to their job and do differently. This exercise should help you plan your objectives and how you might go about conveying them in your elearing. 

Depending upon your content, you might consider using a Show, Try and Test method. This is helpful for multiple reasons including providing repetition, practice and opportunities for information recall. For an example, you can check out this link.

I’d love to hear feedback, anecdotes and ways you plan developing your elearning courses. Look for my next post which will cover additional planning steps, one of which is “Planning the Tools/Resourses/Equipment: What do we need to be successful?”