In this article, I will list 10 eLearning design and development practices you should avoid while working on your eLearning deliverable. Keeping these practices on-hand, will help you to avoid these common eLearning pitfalls and create deliverables that offer maximum value to your learners.
Avoid These Common eLearning Design and Development Mistakes
As any eLearning professional will attest, learning from our mistakes allows us to become better in every aspect. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a way to bypass all of the downsides of mistake-based learning, while still reaping all of the benefits? Well, to save yourselves from the trial and error, and the cost and frustration that come with hard-won experience, be aware of the following eLearning practices that can hinder the overall success of your eLearning deliverable.
1. Not Researching Your LMS and Authoring Tools Options Beforehand.
Selecting the right LMS and authoring tools is all-important. This is primarily due to the fact that eLearning software are going to be the foundation for every eLearning course, module, or deliverable you create moving forward. Be sure to choose the eLearning software that offer the features and functions you want, while they also offer you the ease-of-use and versatility that you need. Don’t hesitate to ask for demonstrations and carry out extensive research before settling on a learning management system for your eLearning deliverables. Without an effective LMS and the proper authoring tools, you simply won’t be able to design or develop the eLearning courses and modules that achieve the respective learning objectives you desire.
2. Losing Focus of Your Primary Objectives and Goals.
Speaking of eLearning objectives, the next item on my list of top eLearning design and development mistakes is delving into your eLearning course design without having fully developed the objectives and goals. The learning goals and objectives should act as guides throughout the entire creation and implementation process, and serve as a road map as you develop each and every module, multimedia element, or block of text. It also doesn’t make a lot of a difference if you do have fully developed objectives and goals but you end up losing sight of them as you are developing the deliverable. So, keep focused!
3. Creating Verbose and Cluttered Modules.
Simple, clear, and concise are the three words to keep in mind while you are designing and developing any eLearning course. Verbose modules that lack clarity and focus will only confuse the learners. In addition, those that are cluttered with an abundance of images or decorative elements will draw the learners’ attention away from the one thing that truly matters in eLearning deliverables: the subject matter. Avoid wordy pages that feature large blocks of text, such as lengthy paragraphs, and break information down into bullet points or numbered lists, if at all possible. These graphic design practices though simple can really offer true value to your audience.
4. Adding in Irrelevant Content for the Sake of Aesthetic Appeal.
Each and every piece of content you include in your eLearning deliverable should be on-topic and relevant. Including a myriad of images, graphics, and design elements simply for the sake of aesthetic appeal will only take away from the value of the eLearning deliverable. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t take the overall design into consideration. After all, visual appeal is important. However, you should always make every attempt to include aesthetically pleasing content that is actually relevant to the objective or goal.
5. Underestimating the Value of Carefully Crafted Content.
Even eLearning courses that are stunning and include a variety of multimedia elements just aren’t going to be successful if they don’t feature carefully crafted content. All of the content in your deliverable must be clear, well organized, and well written. If you aren’t knowledgeable about the particular topic, then consider employing a subject matter expert to help you create the content for your eLearning deliverable.
6. Concentrating on Graphic Design Instead of Course Navigation.
This is one of the most common eLearning development and design practices, and one that can quickly lead to the downfall of any eLearning course or module. While the graphic design of a deliverable is a top priority, it should never win-out over easy of navigation. Your learners must be able to navigate through the eLearning course and modules without any sense of frustration or confusion, no exceptions. Hiding navigation icons for the sake of aesthetic appeal or focusing so much on the design that you fail to check all of your links is a major mistake to avoid while creating eLearning courses.
7. Not Utilizing Emerging Technologies or Multimedia Tools.
One of the most amazing things about being an eLearning professional today is that there are so many tools and technologies at your disposal. Reading up about the various tools available and how they can benefit your design and development strategy is key. Keep an eye on where the technology is heading, so that you can create eLearning courses that will easily integrate new tools and applications in the near future. At the same time, use multimedia elements that are going to benefit your learners, such as podcasts and videos, in the here-and-now.
8. Integrating Content that Does Not Offer Real-World Value.
The content you are offering to your learners should always be applicable to real world situations or problems. By doing this, you allow the learners to see the true value of your eLearning courses and deliverables, which leads to increase motivation and engagement. Include real world scenarios and directly tie your content to real world applications or benefits.
9. Using Only One Learning Strategy.
Every learner is different. As such, you should utilize a wide range of learning approaches and strategies when creating your deliverable. For example, include both audio learning tools and visual aids. Integrate a number of different Instructional Design principles/ theories that will provide effective and meaningful learning experiences for every learner of your audience, rather than just pick one for every eLearning course that you design and develop.
10. Forgetting to Incorporate Assessment and Feedback Tools.
You cannot get a true sense of how successful your eLearning course or module really is without feedback and assessment tools in place. Surveys, exams, and tests will allow you to determine what is working and what needs to be fine tuned.
While this is, by no means, a complete list of “don’ts”, it will offer you the opportunity to evaluate and assess future eLearning projects to ensure that they’re always on-target and deliver the best possible eLearning experience. If you are looking additional tips that will allow you to circumvent the pitfalls of eLearning design and development, so that you can move forward on the path to eLearning success the article Top 11 eLearning Mistakes That eLearning Professionals Should Avoid is really enlighten.
If you are a company that considers developing an eLearning course to train your human resources and you would be interested to know what are the most common mistakes in the development of an eLearning course, I recommend you to read the 10 Common Mistakes In The Development Of An eLearning Course article