30 questions to improve your e-learning course development

The Online Scientist - e-learning development optimizerWhen you are thinking about developing an e-learning course, it’s good practice to think about the purpose, your target audience, and the learning goals before you start. For this purpose we developed the e-learning optimizer that helps you to discover what you need before you start building an online tool. It helps you to define your ideas, and will help us understand you and help you better.

So if you can, please fill out this optimizer for your project and take it to our first meeting! If you have no idea about some of the questions, just skip them and we’ll talk about it.

Download the optimizer as a PDF

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E-LEARNING OPTIMIZER

optimize the development of your e-learning course

But first, tell us about you!

Nameyour full name
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Function
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Organization
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Phone number
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Address:Street, number, zip code, city and country.
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PURPOSE AND GOAL OF THE COURSE

It’s important to think about why you want an online course. You can see it as a thought experiment; e-learning is nice, but sometimes it’s better to use a dynamic PDF, a brochure, video, animation, poster or even a classic lecture. We ask this specifically, because e-learning is expensive, so it has to be worth it! The following questions help you to think about this and serve as a solid foundation for the (development of the) contents and design of your course.


Why do you want to develop an e-learning course?

I want to develop an e-learning course because...
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What is the goal of this e-learning course? 

(And of making it an online course in general?)

What is the goal of this e-learning course?

What kind of e-learning do you want to develop?

What kind of e-learning do you want to develop?

What is the context of this course, and how will it fit into that?

Is it, for example, part of a course, or a course by itself? Is this an addition to another set of materials or a lecture, or perhaps the other way around and are there booklets supporting this course? Is it obligatory or voluntary?
The context of this course is...
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Can you briefly describe the topic or subject of the e-learning module?

The topic of this e-learning course is...
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What are the learning goals of this course?

What will the students know, be able to do, how will their thinking and behavior change as a result of the teaching/learning experience?

The learning goals of this course are...
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How are you going to fulfil these goals?

We will fulfil these learning goals by...
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In case of a voluntary e-learning module, what will make it urgent or valuable? Why would people take it, and what will keep them motivated and invested?

People will take this course because...
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WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?

Understanding your audience makes it much easier to make certain decisions about the content and the design and makes your course much more effective.


Who are your students?

Describe their age, education level, relevant courses they may have completed. 
For example: MSc students in their final year, with a background in biochemistry, that need to know how to apply biochemical theoretical knowledge in the field.
Our students are...
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Do we need to take certain skillsets of the target group into account?

For example: if your target group is the elderly, you need to keep in mind that they often lack advanced computer skills.

The skills of our students are...
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What is/are the type(s) of learning you will be (or want to be) applying in your course?

Answer if you know, or indicate those you know for sure.

What is/are the type(s) of learning you will be (or want to be) applying in your course?

How will you know whether the students have learned what you wanted them to learn?

How will you know whether the students have learned what you wanted them to learn?

STRUCTURE AND CONTENTS

What does the organization of the module look like? Are there, for example, various modules that the participants will have to do in sequence (or in their own preferred sequence), is it a course with one module every week, or do they do everything in one session?


Do you have an idea of the size and contents of the course?

Check the boxes for which types of pages you think you would need in your e-learning course:

The types of pages and content of the course:
Total amount of pages:your full name
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If you can’t be sure of how large the course will be, could you explain a little bit of what you expect from the course in terms of time? For example: we want to make six weekly, one-hour courses.
About the size of the course:
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Do you have anything that can be used as the basis for the parts mentioned in the question above?

We already have these materials:
Other materials...
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Is there a corporate identity that we must use for the course?

Is there a corporate identity that we must use for the course?

Which (design) elements do you want us to develop? 

If you don’t know yet you can skip this question.

We want the following design elements to be developed:
Other elements...
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DEVELOPMENT OF THE E-LEARNING COURSE

The development of an e-learning module is done in three steps. It starts with the learning goals and the content, which are collected and aligned. This information will be used by a didactic party like The Online Scientist to develop a storyboard that outlines the course, the various pages and how they will be filled with text, images, assignments etc. The third step is designing and building the course.


A perfect, comprehensive storyboard comprises: 

  • A structured document (such as PowerPoint) containing all the pages of thee-learning module
  • All texts (succinctly), titles, questions and feedback
  • Images(duty free) or suggestions for images (plain)
  • All questions and assignments
  • Feedback for each possible answer
  • (optional) Instructions for applying interactivity such as mouse-overs, hyperlinks, animations. e.g. "When you move the mouse over the information icon, it triggers a pop-up text"

Which roles do you have in house?

Inversely; if you don’t have these experts, we can take on these roles.

Which roles do you have in house?

Where will you publish the module?

Where will you publish the module?

Who is going to maintain the course, both technically and in terms of content?

Technical maintenance includes changes to the website, technical updates, fixing bugs and crashes and updated to design and functionality. Content maintenance includes new course materials or updates questions

Who is going to maintain the course, both technically and in terms of content?

If you chose the third option in the previous question; do you need training on how to update the e-learning course?

Do you need training on how to update the course?

Do you already have an authoring tool you want to use?

At The Online Scientist we normally work with Lectora, a solid authoring tool that is SCORM and Tin Can compliant and can deliver great courses.

Do you already have an authoring tool you want to use?
Name of authoring tool:
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Are there technical requirements for the course? 

You can skip this question if you don't know.

Our technical requirements are:
Other technical requirements...
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PRACTICAL ASPECTS


Will you be selling the course to students, or is it part of an existing course? How will students be able to log in?

This course will be part of...
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How many modules (separate lessons) does the course exist of?

This course will exist of...
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Do you want to monitor or analyse the results of the course?

Do you want to monitor or analyse the results of the course?

Where can students ask questions about questions about the e-learning course?

For example: via a dedicated email address, a forum or on your website.

Students can ask questions about the course at...
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COLLABORATION WITH THE ONLINE SCIENTIST


How quickly (or when) should the course be finished

We want the course to be finished by...
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Do you have a specific budget for this project?

It’s good to know in advance what you can/want to spend on a course. There are restrictions to what can be done for specific budgets. If the budget is a limiting factor, it’s good to know in advance so we can work out how we can make the best of the budget available. For larger projects (>€10.000), we require a 50% deposit.

Do you have a specific budget for this project?
€………
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Do you want other (offline) products that match the design of the course?

We want the following offline products:
Other (such as a pen, business card, notebook):
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Who is our contact person for direct communication and who is able to make decisions?

Name of the primary contact person:your full name
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Contact information:
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How quickly can you, generally, give feedback?

How quickly can you, generally, give feedback?

How would you like us to stay in touch?

We would like to stay in touch by:

And finally ... When do you consider the e-learning course a success?

We consider this course a success when...
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2017-03-09T20:00:48+00:00

About the Author:

Liesbeth combines her knowledge of science communication, technology and design to explain difficult topics to a wide audience. You can use her practical tips immediately in your presentations to create a bigger impact. She developed dozens of websites, e-learning modules for The Online Scientist and published a best-selling book about nutrition science.