Rapid e-learning tools have saved my skin many a time! They are vital when you’re pushed for time but you still want to get your point across and produce excellent e-learning.
When producing rapid learning the emphasis is on speed, but it’s still crucial that you construct a good foundation for your projects and the correct resources (I always find rapid projects run smoother if I invest in a little planning up-front).
In the following post I’m going to be exploring these practices and help you plan and produce your rapid e-learning, well.. more rapidly!
1.) Choose the right authoring tool
Before you start your rapid e-learning you need the correct tool.
The best tools for rapid e-learning:
- Should allow all of your team, from IDs to SMEs to be able to use the tool and make changes.
- Should allow instant prototyping.
- Should allow you to cater for all devices.
- Should allow you to create engaging interactions and eye catching designs quickly.
- Should allow you to create templates which will be usable in future projects.
Develop a basic project structure for a course that focuses on three core elements (don’t go too over the top!):
Visual: Consider how your course will look – use images, colours and fonts that will be appropriate for your course.
Think about which devices you are designing for and how you would like each layout to work (remember, the best rapid elearning tools allow you to create for specific devices).
At this stage I normally use Elucidat to create a prototype of my concepts which means that both my client and I have a clear idea of how the final project will appear (much better than jotting down some vague concepts which your client must imagine).
Information: At this stage consider who your learner is, your learner’s objectives and the appropriate tone of voice which you will be conveying your information with.
Interactive: Consider what exercises may help your learner apply the knowledge they have absorbed in the project. This could include case studies, games or blended learning activities (even though you are working on a rapid project, interactive elements are still very important to creating effective learning). I normally create prototypes in order to evaluate the effectiveness of my exercises (for more tips on how to use prototyping when developing your rapid e-learning, see our previous post here).
Prototyping is a powerful way to draw your full team’s ideas together, accommodating for those of us who are less visually-minded (often I need to see things before I understand them) and allowing you to collaborate with your clients.
At Elucidat, we believe that there are 3 principles for creating rapid learning prototypes:
Do it soon – Produce a sketchy prototype in the first few hours of working on a project to ensure that you and your stakeholder are on the same track, don’t wait until week 4 for their feedback as you may have misunderstood the brief.
Do it rough – We have found in the past that when we present polished prototypes (that look finished) to stakeholders, they see them as ‘set in stone’ and hesitate to engage with them. With a rough prototype you can outline your ideas, whilst benefiting from the contributions of your client.
Do it often – Prototyping with collaborative rapid e-learning tools is so quick and easy that we would recommend producing several prototypes. This increases engagement with your client and reduces uncertainty. Don’t forget, you’re using the Cloud, so the amount of time it will take you to share your prototype is a matter of seconds!
Following these steps will help you get a satisfactory result sooner.
4.) Use templates and pre-made graphics
During rapid development I try to use as many pre-existing assets as possible (even though I can hear the artistic side of me saying ‘you’ve sold out man!’)
If you’ve chosen a rapid tool that allows you to create templates then make the most of it!
By taking a template and tweaking it to your clients needs you will vastly speed up development.
One handy function that I use in Elucidat is the ‘Image Library’, this is full of e-learning images that I can put directly into my course without leaving the authoring environment.
5.) Use tools that allow you to communicate quickly
When starting your project, develop a project spreadsheet that is viewable to everyone (I use Google docs to do this). List and label each page with a Page type (e.g interaction, MCQ etc.), what graphics it requires, who is responsible for the development of the page and what it’s status is (completed/in progress etc.).
Tools like Elucidat also have that allow you to communicate such as the ‘Comments Feature’. We use this to add notes to specific elements in projects which prevents misunderstandings.
6.) Evaluate your workflow
Once you have finished your project it’s time to evaluate your workflow! Spending a little time focusing on what worked and (most importantly) what didn’t will help you increase the speed of your rapid development in future.
At Elucidat, we’re passionate about helping people to create e-learning in a more intelligent way.
Has this post helped you to author rapid e-learning more quickly? We’d love to know. Have any thoughts or questions? Leave them in the comments below!