Top 6 Tips on Course Design from an Instructional Designer

blocksThis is the 2nd post in my “Online Course Design Tips” series and today’s expert advice has been very kindly contributed by Instructional Designer Jason Willensky:

  1. Old news: Make sure your learning objectives are clear and measurable, then make sure that your content and assessment align with your objectives. The current crop of eLearning tools are sensational and feature-laden, but don’t lose sight of what’s essential to a powerful training experience.
  2. Forget that you ever saw a PowerPoint presentation. Use text judiciously. Use graphics, video, and animation where possible to make your point. Use text to enhance or reinforce.
  3. Liberate your voice-overs from identical messages in text or graphics. Script in a way that allows the narrator to target what’s important about the visual elements on the screen. Your learners don’t want to hear a voice reading bullet points.
  4. Use white space. Don’t pack too much into one frame. Same goes for voice; introduce narration after the learner soaks up visual information for a short span of time. Experiment — not everything has to be simultaneous.
  5. Keep the learner’s mouse moving. Even a pop true-or-false question can be an oasis in a desert of one-way information. If you’re stuck with dry material, mix it up — a basic interaction is better than none.
  6. The learner doesn’t care about your tools. Think about creating a learning experience that’s completely usable, transparent, and effortless for the learner. Get feedback on your efforts, and make adjustments.

Jason is an Instructional Designer and eLearning developer in Phoenix, AZ. He creates ILT, eLearning, and blended solutions for corporate and institutional clients throughout the US.
You can follow his tweets here: @jwillensky