In today's technological world, eLearning can be an effective tool for those who want to expand their knowledge without attending traditional school, or for businesses who want to increase their employees’ expertise in a particular area. Virtually anyone can create an online course, however, designing one that is effective at conveying information to a student requires more than just throwing information and graphics together. There are several design elements that need to be considered in order to make your eLearning course effective.
Determine what needs to be taught
The first step of designing any course is to decide what your students need to learn. Establish clear goals for what needs to be accomplished using your course. Make sure you are clearly communicating the needed information before worrying about design elements. If your course doesn't provide all the necessary information, or is vague, then even the best designs won't be able to teach your students what they need to know.
Present information in all learning styles
Some people are visual learners, while others learn faster with an audio component. Others still learn by doing. When designing your course, consider how you can incorporate all of these elements. When choosing what to incorporate, use just one instance of each style. Redundant elements can hinder learning and make your course less effective. If you have a graphic to explain, you may be tempted to provide both a written text and an audio explaining it. Having an audio clip that simply reads the text aloud, however, actually decreases learning, because it overloads the brain, and students are less able to remember what was on the screen.
An interactive lesson will reinforce what the students have learned from the course, as well as help those who learn by doing. Just like with visual and audio elements, there are effective and ineffective ways to include interactive elements. If you're not certain how to design such a feature, it's worth visiting a site like Gumtree and hiring a designer to do it for you. Quality is important when producing effective eLearning courses.