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How To Design an E-course That Delivers Results


E-courses have become quite a hype lately – they are cheaper to deliver, could be used with larger audiences and taken by the participants at any paste and any time. While developing an e-course is similar to developing a regular course or in-house training in many ways, there are certainly some specifics you should mind.

Working on your first ever e-course and want to make sure people actually take it from start to finish? Here are some tips to make you look like a pro and spend less time on the development!

Find a Good Model To Take After

Wondering how to structure all the information and which type of delivery system to choose – video, presentations, worksheets etc.? Get some inspiration on the popular free e-courses platforms e.g. Khan Academy or Academic Earth. Browse for topics similar to yours and take notes on information architecture. Additionally, you may want to buy a few good courses yourself to check out “the insides”.

Include an Overview Module First

Start your e-course with an introductory chapter covering briefly all the topics and knowledge you are about to deliver.  Providing an introductory overview is helpful for a few good reasons:

  • Our brain frets the unknown. It always harder to start doing something when you face a major problem (e.g. How to Offer Better Customer Support) compared to learning to solve one tiny problem (e.g. dealing with bad clients). By giving your users an idea of what exactly to expect, you make them more motivated and thrilled to start and actually finish the whole course.
  • Once they have the idea of what they’ll learn (and actually start taking the course), Zeigarnik effect will nag them to finish it. Besides, your participants will be able to hit the ground running with what you are delivering and feel like they’ve made a significant headway quickly.

On Making Your Course Material Interactive

Different learners have different styles when it comes to comprehending information. With an e-course, you can easily cater the needs of different types.

Most e-courses come in forms of video lectures these days, but you can also include transcription for the “readers”, workbooks, quizzes, cheat sheets and more. The particular appeal of e-learning is that you can spice up your course with as many different types of materials as you like.

Here are some of my favorite tools from the arsenal:

  • Camtasia to shoot your computer screen and make some light editing.
  • Qudos Animations for commissioning professional looking whiteboard videos and animation.
  • Canva to style and create professionally looking print and downloadable materials.
  • I’ve previously talked about my 5 favorite cloud-based learning platforms here.
  • PDFEscape to create fillable worksheets
  • SmartBuilder – an amazing course authoring tool that allows you to create rich Flash e-learning with an intuitive interface.

Add The Incentives To Keep People Going

One of the reasons why a lot of training professionals are against e-learning is that the results often prove to be less than stellar. A lot of participants lack motivation to finish the course and often take it at random just for the sake of keeping the employer happy.

To avoid this scenario allow users to take course in their own pace, plus spice up their journey with attractive incentives to keep them going till the end. A simple progress bar can make miracles in terms of motivation and boost the spirits by showing how far they have already gone. Include efficient navigation between “old” and “new” modules to make it easy to review and get back to certain information whenever needed. This could be done through video bookmarks for example.

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