Discover the Blueprint to eLearning Success
In life, there are many things most of us would prefer to grow or develop organically. Take for instance produce or love. When given the choice between an organically grown apple and one genetically produced and coated with pesticides, the decision is simple: go natural! When it comes to the budding of a new relationship, organic love is the best kind. Nothing compares to the natural development of compatibility between two people that is not forced by outside circumstance or influence. Unfortunately, not all things in life come to be through organic means. Certain tasks, goals, and actions require careful consideration and precise planning. Elearning development is one such challenge.
Before elearning developers can lay their first metaphorical brick, they must first tackle the blueprint like any good contractor. In the industry, we call this oh-so-crucial step of development, previsualization. In layman’s terms, this is a wireframe or storyboard of an elearning platform. Everything, from the content structure to interactive learning aids, is mapped to ensure each element works towards producing an end result that will succeed in accomplishing its goal of increasing trainee knowledge and competence. From a development standpoint, adequate previsualization fosters enhanced efficiencies and productivity, two things every client hopes to experience as it often equates to contained budgets and kept deadlines. So how’s it done?
Step 1: Outline and Organize: As any Type A Personality will tell you, good things result from adequate outlining. In development of an elearning platform, analyze learning objectives and course content to determine the most effective and logical presentation of material. Structure the plan in a clear outline, then share and refine the plan with the client to confirm that expectations are met.
Step 2: Design and Refine: Just as a website design should echo the visual identity of an organization or company, so too should the aesthetic of an eLearning platform. After meeting with the client to understand their visual desires, explore design possibilities through the creation of various mock-ups. Start small with the design of the main graphical user interface. Then, once an agreed upon approach is established, apply the style and aesthetic to other visual elements, including course graphics, animations, and videos for a consistent look.
Step 3: Founded Functionality: Programming interactive elements is oftentimes the most complicated and time-consuming part of development. It is also the most challenging aspect of an eLearning platform for developers to describe and clients to visualize. To ensure every interactive feature is useful and well-received by clients and end-users alike, do your best to mimic functionality before programmers get to work. This can be relatively easily achieved through the creation of linked static HTML pages. With just a little effort, clients can experience a non-functional simulation of an interactive process and identify areas in need of improvement.
Step 4: Ponder the Plan: It can go without saying that things are more easily modified at the conceptual stage then retroactively. With that being said, analyze your eLearning blueprint for potential pitfalls, design flaws, and areas in need of improvement. Adjust and then reanalyze. The more sound the plan, the more smooth-going development. Importantly, stick to the plan. Elearning platforms, especially complicated ones with varying elements, are most often built by a team of talented specialists rather than an individual. An established plan will help all parties understand the development objectives and stay on track.
Previsualization …don’t move forward without it.