Following is a high-level quick list of items to consider when starting a new instructional design/course authoring project.
- Target Audience: Language, average reading level, technical aptitude (computer skills)
- Training Modality: Will this be an eLearning course, instructor-led, blended? Why?
- Learning Environment: For eLearning – do computers have sound cards with speakers or headphones, what’s the average computer resolution, what kind of bandwidth is available.
- Source Content: Are you converting existing content to eLearning or creating new courses from scratch? What reference/research/source materials will you use?
- Learning Objectives: Why is the training needed? What specific skills or knowledge should learners possess upon completion? How will you measure whether objectives have been met?
- Development Timeline: By what date is this training expected to be ready to deliver to learners? What happens if your project runs late?
- Budget: What financial resources have been set aside for this project? What happens if you run over budget?
- Subject Matter Experts: Who are the subject matter experts and what is their contact information? What is their knowledge of the instructional design process? Have they been granted time to dedicate to this project and are they on-board or resistant at all?
- Seat time: How long should it take a learner to complete this course? What is the estimated course runtime and what is the estimated student seat time?
- Technology: What software will likely be used? Simply upgrade PowerPoint with audio lecture and upload to LMS? Custom 3D animations and graphics based in Flash? Computer skills demos with Captivate?
eLearning development levels definition:
What is the difference between Level 1 eLearning and Level 3? Following are some high-level definitions to help you to identify the level of development you require and to communicate your desired level to your internal outsourced instructional design and multimedia teams.
Level 1 eLearning
Level 1 eLearning is often referred to as “page-turner eLearning”, which should not be considered derogatory, simply a descriptive way to differentiate this style of development from others.
At a minimum, the course design should reflect the corporate or organizational style guide (colors, corporate logo, etc.) and should include basic page-level navigation such as play/pause, next, back, and so on.
Courses at this level may or may not include audio. All courses, regardless of complexity level, should offer basic SCORM functionality such as book-marking and performance tracking.
Multimedia elements (audio, illustrations, pictures, Flash files, etc.) are generally simplistic and non-custom. Meaning, graphics are pulled from stock libraries, clip-art, and otherwise not created from scratch.
Level 1 courses generally have very limited interactivity (where the user clicks on the content and something happens). Additionally, the inclusion of a post-test (true/false, multiple-choice, etc.) is easily included at courses of any level. Quiz creation and deployment is now one of the easiest items to include in a course.
Level 2 eLearning Level 2 eLearning includes all of the features of Level 1 but raises the bar. Courses at this level have more complex interactivities and therefore require more detailed instructional design, writing, and storyboarding in order to get it right. That is why the cost is generally higher.
For example, Level 2 courses generally have in-line interactive elements such as drag-and-drop, hot spots, categorize, and other items that require the user to manipulate objects on the page using mouse or keyboard strokes. Additionally, custom illustrations, graphics, and simple animations may be included.
Level 3 eLearning Level 3 eLearning courses include the same elements as Level 2, but raises the bar further still.
Courses at this level have more interactivities, and these are also more complex in their design. These may actually be custom interactivities rather than template-based standard interactivities.
The multimedia experience is also increased with sharper custom visuals, more animations, and more complex instructional design.
For example, problem-solving activities like performing financial calculations, simulating software environments, developing multi-step “branching” scenarios, and so on, may be included.
Courses at this level may also have more complex SCORM communication built-in.
For example, you may set the course up to include multiple topics and require topic A as a prerequisite for the learner to take topic B. You may also include remediation that points the learner back to previous lessons if an interactivity or quiz question is not answered correctly.
Level 4 eLearningWith Level 4 eLearning, the sky is the limit. This level is replete with high-impact graphics, 3D illustrations/animations, complex interactivities, and more.
This is where the real fun begins!