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4 Tips for Managing and Developing Your E-Learning Courses


Developing a great e-course means you need to master the basic project management skills. No, you don’t need to use things like Gantt charts, but some training for your organizational and visual thinking muscles is highly favourable.

The entire process from creating the concept to evaluation can become overwhelming at times.  What you need is a system to follow to smoothen up the development cycle.

1. Have a blueprint to manage your files and asserts

My case was that whenever I received/created new materials for my course, I used to randomly save them in different places (and afterwards struggle to find them).  Add up the fact that I often leave notes in Evernote; my work PC and personal Mac, finding the right piece of course puzzle got really tricky at times.

So the golden rule is – create one organizational blueprint and stick to it. I’ve chosen Nomadesk cloud storage to keep and organize my data. And created a separate vertical of folders, broken down into more very specific folders, where I store all the materials I need.

2. Storyboard your project

I’m a visual type of person and love creating mind maps and visualizing my courses in storyboard form when I work on them.  Sure, for click & read courses using the linear fashion is fine, but for branching or scenario-based courses building a visual storyboard before building the slides works great.

The simplest way to do it is to open a black PowerPoint slide; create thumbnails of your slide mockups and organize those the way you like in flow chart style. Alternatively you can use any other graphical software that allows building flow charts.

Storyboards allow you to easily spot any course bottlenecks or dead ends and analyze how your navigation works.

3. Decide on your style

The visual appeal of your course is important.  By style I mean the type of visuals, colors and fonts I use.  Now, if you are not a pro designer, don’t try to mix-match too many fonts. Choose just the two that pair well together (here’s a cool guide for beginners).

As for visuals – base them on the metaphors you use. For instance, if you are illustrating sales via a lemons stand concept for example, use whimsical or cartoonish pictures, rather than big areal shots.

In general, choose text-friendly photos – those having enough background space to include your texts.  Also, it’s often worth to tone down the background with a little blur or color filter to make the letters pop.

4. Include tangible takeaways

Your course should appear valuable, right? However, people these days get overwhelmed with information just too quickly, especially during live training sessions or webinars.

Add the “sticky” factor to your course with the following smart tips:

  • One action per one day.  At the end of each course section ask your students to make one exact step today to consolidate the knowledge.
  • Prompt participants to share their biggest takeaway per week at your discussion space e.g. Facebook group or seperate forum.
  • Ask people to send their one takeaway to your email and get a comprehensive feedback and additional tip in return.

Takeaways are important to make your students actually feel that they’ve learned something, not just flipped through another course/book and forgot everything the next day.

While a lot of e-course designers assume that students don’t want “homework”, so point out how much value they actually receive by making an extra step.  

2 Responses

  1. One other item, that really
    One other item, that really ties into everything you said, is look to a collaborative cloud based authoring solution. This type of solution inherently provides you with a level of organization and central management function that can save you loads of time (especially if you weren’t careful in where you put things etc.)

    1. Absolutely, if you are not a
      Absolutely, if you are not a sole developer – cloud-based e-learning platforms work best. I did speak of them, in fact, in an older post here.

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