Who Should You Include In Your Planning For Your eLearning Course?
Having worked with many companies over the years I have come across a high number of instructional designers and company managers that dictate what needs to be included in the learning materials for online teaching.
Many of these company managers have no formal training in teaching learners and hence have not compiled a complete picture of what needs to be learned by the student or learner. In their opinion, they select materials that they feel are suitable for the learner. Most often this falls flat on its face and the company and the learner are left frustrated and most likely the instructional designer gets the boot out the door at the first opportunity.
So how do we ensure that the right materials go into each course that you spend time creating?
The first thing that needs to happen is a TNA or Training Needs Analysis to identify what training is required. Some of the things to look at are as follows:
- Identify the various different groups within the company.
- Identify what skill level each employee has attained right now.
- Identify what training each employee will require within their role.
- Identify what levels of training will be required, (a junior IT person will not have the same requirements as a senior IT person).
- Create a discussion group to research what needs to go into each course.
- Identify SME’s or Subject Matter Experts to help with the content.
- Create an outline of the course(s)
- Identify the costs of creating the course.
- Revise course with the discussion group and SME’s
- Identify ROE or Return on Expectations for the Operations Manager.
- Seek approval of for budget to produce the course(s)
- Produce course(s)
- Roll-out to Test Audience
- Evaluate The Testing
- Redesign as Necessary
- Test Again
- Redesign as Necessary
- Roll Out to the Entire Company
The Discussion Group Should Include:
When designing courses its important that you get input from a wide diverse group as possible. You should try to involve the following when possible:
- Operations Team
- Department Managers
- Department Employees
- Subject Matter Experts
- End Users to Test
BY taking the views and recommendations from a larger group you have a better chance of getting the course right and this will benefit the company and the learners. Remember that the end users must be included in the testing, after all, they are the ones that will be completing it and they may be able to see pitfalls or errors that you did not know about or did not pick up on testing.
How Do We Get The Correct Information for the Course(s)?
It not an instructional designers/developers job to be an expert on any given subject and that where the SME’s or Subject Matter Experts come in to play. The SME’s will be able to walk you through a given process that is under their control and to show you how each step should progress. They will also be able to advise on what steps are important at each employee level and what can be separated into beginners, intermediate or advanced course(s).
Now just to be clear an SME’s is not always a person with an armful of degrees or certifications. They are employees that have extensive knowledge of the department or just of their own section within that department. They have worked at it for a long time and know what best practice looks like.
Different views of what the content should be. If we take a specialist that has spent seven years achieving their master’s degree in a certain subject, they may be able to tell you all the theory and the school book text that goes along with it. However, if you take a person that uses that information every day as part of the role in the company, then that person will be more beneficial in how you create and bring all of the information together. Why? Because they have the practical and thermotical experience to do the job.
Outside Sources of Information
Information is not limited to within the company, you can get journals, textbooks and consultants to help with the creation of your course(s). Consultants are very often used by larger companies to gather this information.
You can get information online as well, but, make sure that you validate the information and that it comes from a reliable source.
Check out the ADDIE Learning Model:
Again I hope this article helps you in the creation of your courses and I look forward to adding more articles in the near future.