As more organizations turn to online instruction to train their employees and customers, more administrators and other leaders are finding themselves in the position of having to create a lot of course content. These leaders must turn their presentations, lectures, on-the-job training and years of experience into self-contained lessons that not only contain a great deal of institutional knowledge, but also convey it effectively. This task may seem intimidating and overwhelming. There are, however, a few tips that can simplify the process.
1. Take Advantage of the Medium
While turning real-world content into an online learning experience seems like a challenge, the online environment actually offers instructors a huge number of tools that make the teaching—and the learning—much easier. Incorporating video, audio, animations and interactivity is a snap with a good online learning platform like Litmos. Too many online courses merely replicate the material and formats found in textbooks. Don't limit yourself to writing blocks of text with the occasional graph or illustration; with online instruction you can teach more effectively using all the tools your platform provides.
2. Keep it Uncluttered
At the same time, it can be tempting to fill your course up with tons of videos, charts, Power Points and other materials that serve little educational purpose. Too many formats can cause your student to lose the thread of the important subject matter. In addition, it's important to keep the visual interface—what your learner sees on the screen—clean, clear and attractive rather than cluttered and confusing. A learning platform that's designed with an easy-to-use interface can keep your student motivated and minimize frustration.
3. Reinforce Frequently
In a traditional classroom or learning environment, an instructor may pause the lesson and ask questions to make sure the content is getting across. Online instructors should do this, as well, by incorporating frequent mini-quizzes, blog posts or other opportunities for the students to show what they've learned. Not only will you be able to track learning more effectively, but these check-up opportunities reinforce the learning for the students.
4. Seek Out Experts
Developing online learning content is a process that really benefits from collaboration. Get input from subject matter experts, video and audio specialists, classroom teachers, communications professionals and anyone else who might have a different, helpful way of looking at your content.
5. Keep Your Goals In Mind
Be sure you know exactly what you want your students to know, understand or be able to do by the end of each lesson and once the course is complete. Having an unclear or ambiguous goal makes the content writing much more difficult. You should be able to outline each of the steps the student must reach toward the final goal, and then shape your course around them.
6. Put Yourself in the Students' Shoes
If you're ever concerned about the effectiveness of your content, try to return yourself to your beginner's mind. There was a time when you didn't know this content, either. What do you wish you knew then? What advice helped? What approaches had the most impact? Sometimes it's difficult to forget our years of experience and put ourselves in the position of the learner. This becomes easier with practice.
In the end, the synergy between your expertise and the quality of the learning platform you choose will determine just how good your online content will be. Don't undermine yourself by using an out-dated, clunky, or hard-to-use system. Litmos will allow your content to shine.