I am a passionate horse-rider. One thing I very quickly learned about riding was that nothing was done (well) without planning. Whether its getting your horse from the field and having to fight off the other 5 horses that want to sneak through the gate, deciding how to ride a course of 8 jumps or preparing for a horse show. It seemed all horse related activities took some degree of planning and preparation. Of course, most things do take planning but I learned with horses it was truly the case of failing to plan equalling planning to fail. So I learned early that planning was the key component to having even a glimmering chance of success with horses. I think the same goes with developing an eLearning course. I’ve put together a list of planning steps I think are equally important in the horse show ring and in the eLearning developer chair. In this post we’ll review the first 2 steps.
1. Planning the desired outcome: What are we really trying to do here?
For horse showing: It seems simple, win. But its not always that simple (and winning rarely happens to me, so I’ve had to come up with some other criteria.) Depending upon the horse, the show, the weather, my training and many more items, I try to come up with a reasonable and attainable goal. For example, I may be taking a young inexperienced horse to their first show, which would mean my main goal would be staying in the saddle.
For your eLearning course: Determine exactly what it is you want your learner to do. Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself: Where is your learner at in their learning path? Are there basic training concepts, e.g. product knowledge, that they will already know or do you have to continue to impress and explain the basics? If there was one thing you wanted them to know after completing your course what would it be? Once you have clearly determined your goal, it will help you better plan and define what your course should look and act like.
2. Planning the process : How do you go about doing it?
For your eLearning course: Now that you have your #1 goal in mind, you can develop your learning objectives. Think about when your learner presses that close course button, what will they go back to their job and do differently. This exercise should help you plan your objectives and how you might go about conveying them in your eLearning.
Depending upon your content, you might consider using a Show, Try and Test method. This is helpful for multiple reasons including providing repetition, practice and opportunities for information recall. For an example, you can check out this link.
Id love to hear feedback, anecdotes and ways you plan developing your eLearning courses. Look for my next post which will cover additional planning steps, one of which is Planning the Tools/Resources/Equipment: What do we need to be successful?