eLearning Development Process - Ultimate Guide
How can you look and sound like a seasoned elearning developer even when you’re new to elearning? How can you grow your skills and understanding when you’re an experienced developer?
Start here, with eLearningArt’s Ultimate Guide to eLearning Development!
In this useful online guide, we’ll walk you through the phases of developing an elearning program, from idea to delivery, and everything in between.
Feel free to read the guide in order, or jump to the spot where you need info fast. Either way, you’re sure to learn what you need to know to walk the talk of elearning development!
This guide is set up by and for elearning people just like you. Enjoy!
1. Plan Your eLearning Project
So, you’ve said yes to the project of building an elearning program. Great! You can look forward to an interesting experience, for sure. One way to make sure it’s “interesting-fun” and not “interesting-awful” is to spend time planning your project before you get started.
We think of this like painting a room. Before the exciting part of seeing the color go up on the wall, there are lots of preparation steps. Of course we’d like to skip those steps and go directly to the funnest part, but we know that the prep work is what makes the color go on easily and look great.
Planning is part of the prep work in elearning, necessary and — good news! — not too painful. Get started here.
2. Manage Your eLearning Project
One thing that’s important to note about an elearning project is that second word: “project.” Like anything that requires multiple phases that break down into multiple tasks and steps, it’s important to think about workflow, timings, and other project management factors.
Some of these (file-naming, anyone?) are pretty mundane, we admit! But getting them worked out from the beginning makes for better and easier project execution.
Put on your “organized project manager” cap, and take in the following elearning project management insight.
3. Structure and Script Your eLearning Project
Script-writing. It’s the super-important step in elearning development that everyone wants to get done yesterday!
A thoughtfully produced script serves as the foundation for your program and — really, truly — this step in the development process deserves ample time and attention.
You want a script that addresses the program topic clearly and succinctly for a particular target audience. You want a script that’s written with both voice over and on-screen visuals in mind. You want a script that already includes section breaks, summaries, quiz questions (with answer feedback), and micro-copy, such as the infamous “Click Next to continue.”
In short, you want your program in written form. Here’s how to get started.
4. Design and Prototype Your eLearning Project
Something we find useful in our elearning programs is the development of a prototype. This is a super-short version of the planned program that shows off proposed solutions for program design, different slide types, interactions, and anything that might be of concern to your stakeholders.
It’s recommended that you complete the prototyping step early in the project. Doing so helps set expectations about program design, and gives you an opportunity to resolve any issues around look-and-feel factors before the building begins.
Prototyping isn’t difficult and, really, it’s actually kind of fun. Take advantage of prototyping to set the course for your program while the time pressure is low and the design options are wide. Here’s how to do that.
5. Visualize and Storyboard Your eLearning Projects
One way to speed up elearning program development is to group the activities in the process and work through one process at a time. For example, in this section, we’re talking about storyboarding.
It’s an activity that’s all about the process of making decisions about what will go on each slide.
Because you’re not building your final program with a storyboard, you can move through the visualizing process more quickly and that, in turn, can lead to more consistent visual decisions across the program. Then, later, when you’re building the program, you aren’t having to stop, think, and decide about how things should look on each slide, because your storyboard already shows you that.
In short, it takes time to storyboard, but that time is made up during the building phase.
6. Develop and Build Your eLearning Project
You’ve completed many preliminary steps to develop your successful elearning project, and now it’s time to build! We often hear this phase referred to as the “fun part” =) so you’re probably eager to get started.
Creating an elearning program requires an authoring tool, time, and know-how, and each of these require some decisions and training, of course. Here, to help you get started right, we’ll get the top-level questions answered.
7. Publish and Deliver Your eLearning Project
Congratulations on getting through all of the steps involved in creating a great elearning program! Now, what do you do with it, how do you get it out into the world?
This section is all about publishing, uploading, and delivering your project, and it’s worth a read even if you’re far from the project finish line!
We’ll start basic and help you understand the confusing world of elearning publishing and delivery. It’s not difficult at all, once you know the options.