Demo Design - Escalae

This course teaches you how to develop engaging e-Learning by outlining the steps needed to create an instructionally sound course. 

 

The easygenerator team

 

 

The steps in creating a course (copy)

What is your goal?

 

We will use the development process of this course as an example. In this course some sections are marked with this logo. They describe the process easygenerator used when we created this course. 

Our problem: Many non e-Learning experts use easygenerator. However, the quality of their courses are not at the highest level.  We wanted to fix this problem.

Why is this a problem?  It is a problem because the courses will be less effective and therefore these authors may stop developing eLearning courses, and no longer use (or buy) easygenerator!

So it is our business problem to increase the quality of the courses to support non eLearning developers so they will continue to use and buy our product. 

Our goal: The goal is the flip side of the problem. This means our goal is: Easygenerator authors should create instructionally sound eLearning in 50% of all created cases in January 2015 (instead of 30% now). Please note we made this goal measurable by setting the 50% target and a we added an end date.  

We brainstormed ideas and came up with the following solutions to help fix the problem:

  • Organize webinars
  • Improve easygenerator
  • Create a tool to help authors build good learning objectives
  • Create an e-Learning course on the design and authoring process
  • Write blogs about the topic
  • Create a video on the didactical principles of easygenerator

All six elements are part of the solution. Not one of them is the whole solution. 

E-Learning is a solution for a (business) problem. You need clarity on what the problem is before you can create a clear and measurable goal for an eLearning course. After you identify the problem you can find your goal by turning it around. The goal is the opposite  of the problem.  Here are some problem/goal examples:

Problem Goal
We don't have enough customers. We will increase the number of customers from 500 to 1000.

Our customer service staff don't know enough about

our product to answer customers' questions.

Our customer service staff can answer 95% of all customer questions.
The 6th grade students don't know the history of our country. All 6th grade students can write an essay on our nation's history scoring a passing grade. 

Once you have defined your goal think about solutions to reach it.  Most of the time multiple solutions are needed to achieve your goal. We will illustrate this in the example below. 

Defining the e-Learning course

The course goal The course will have a specific goal. The goal of this course is: "Users can design and author an instructionally sound eLearning course". We shortened this goal into a clear course title: 'How to design and author a course'. The next step is to define learning objectives to help the learner reach the goal. 

Learning objectives

Our defined learning objectives are:

  • understand which steps to take when creating a course
  • understand the why, the what and the how of learning objectives
  • assess these objectives with questions and create the learning content

You can put these full objectives in easygenerator as learning objectives. But the learner doesn't always need that kind of detail. We decided to simplify them into:  

  • Identify the steps in creating a course
  • The why, what and  how of learning objectives
  • Questions and content creation

 

Once you've identified the problem, goal and possible solutions, you can begin working on the solution part of the course. First we need to define the goal of the eLearning course and then add details of how we'll reach the goal. These details are captured in the 'learning objectives'.

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After defining learning objectives you need to write questions and content that support the learning objectives and the goal of the course. Please restrict yourselves to two levels of objectives: The overall goal (in the title) and the learning objectives. As the course author you need to work out the details of the objectives for yourself, but the learner may not always need that detail. You can use a simplified version of the learning objectives in the course.

The steps in a course design

Time for a recap. We now have covered 5 steps in the design process of an eLearning course:  

  1. Clarify the problem
  2. Define the goal
  3. Determine possible solutions
  4. Define the course goal
  5. Create learning objectives

Before creating any learning solutions you need clarity on the you're trying to solve. Once you've identified the problem you can define  your . As a third step you need to identify possible that can help the learner reach the goal. The course will probably only be a part of the solution. Now you can define the and create  that support the goal in more detail. 

Which steps to take and in what order?

The entire process consists of seven steps. Creating assessments (questions) and creating content are steps 6 and 7. These last two steps form the third chapter of this course. But first we'll take a closer look at the why, what and how of learning objectives.  As a final recap of this chapter: The seven steps in the design process of an eLearning course are: 

 

  • Clarify the problem
  • Define the goal
  • Determine possible solutions
  • Determine the course goal
  • Create learning objectives
  • Create the assessments
  • Write the content

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The why, what and how of learning objectives (copy)

The importance of learning objectives

The quality of a course's learning objectives determines the quality of the course. Learning objectives also drive course design and  structure and play a major role if a course is co-authored. Finally, they support the learner to meet course goals and show how learning goals are tied to business goals. 

Design Learning objectives support the design process. They provide a structure for the course and help drive and define development of appropriate questions for assessments.

Co-authoring Courses are often created by more than one author. Easygenerator facilitates the co-authoring process. Learning objectives ensure all team members are aligned to the course goal. 

From the learners perspective When learners see objectives at the beginning of a course they know what is expected of them. Learning objectives help the learner decide whether or not to take the course, and in doing so, make a connection between one's own learning goals and the objectives of the course. 

From the organization's perspective A learning objective is derived from a business need or goal so there is a direct connection. Easygenerator reports learners' results of correctly answered questions per objective. This shows that a direct correlation of learning objectives to business goals can be made. Objectives help connect the learning to the business and provide a measurable outcome to show and report on that contribution.

  • They limit the amount of content and help structure it
  • They give guidance to the learner
  • They connect to business goals
  • They increase the time a learner will spend in a course
  • They help assess the learner

Learning objectives are important because: