The challenges of developing an eLearning course can be distilled down into 9 key areas. Let’s dive deeper into them and find out how you can overcome them.
1. Design and Develop Relevant eLearning Solutions
One common challenge of developing an eLearning course is Designing and Developing Relevant eLearning Solutions. To make this possible, first and foremost, you have to define clear learning outcomes (separate for different learner journeys). It is helpful to write them down so you will have a clear description of what is needed to be done, and you will stay focused on your objectives throughout the design phase.
Then you have to make sure your online course follows a logical structure. Just like a traditional course, learners will start from the beginning of the learning outcomes and progress through the course. Besides ensuring that your eLearning course is well written and comprehensive, part of your job is to help learners apply the skills they learned in their professional lives. For this reason, always try to use examples and case studies of situations that provide real-world insights. This ensures that your audience can easily relate to what is being taught.
2. Design effective navigation
The next challenge of developing an eLearning course is to get a sense of how your learners are reacting to the course. This means you have to set up proper testing methods and procedures to evaluate their progress. It is crucial to design effective navigation. The last thing you want is confusion among your audience who waste their time trying to figure out how to navigate the eLearning course. You have also to put together appropriate eLearning authoring tools, educational technologies, learning management systems, and of course, instructional design theories to overcome critical challenges.
If you do all of the above, you’ll be on your way to developing eLearning courses that keep your learners focused on the things that matter instead of getting derailed.
3. Arrange your online course in a practical way
Another challenge of developing an eLearning course is dealing with huge chunks of content and finding ways of arranging it. To make this possible, you have to be extremely careful to identify common issues in complicated topics.
One way to effectively arrange all this content is to break it up into smaller modules, in other words, you have to integrate micro eLearning solutions into your course. The trick is to divide the information into smaller pieces, which are ideal for learners since they can be easily digested and offer more flexibility to learners. It also boosts their focus and avoids cognitive overload.
Here are a few microlearning techniques you can apply for your eLearning course:
Add gamification: Games are designed to impart knowledge interestingly and engagingly. They integrate traditional aspects of gamification such as leveling up and points, with learning materials. The result is very effective because it makes learners forget what they are learning. Try to add gamification elements to make learners feel like a video game protagonist who is out on a quest for a new adventure.
Simulations: A simulation can mimic real-world environments and give Learners more vivid experiences. This way, instead of just reading about the task, they’re able to experience it right away. The best part about micro eLearning simulations is that they are easy to repeat. Online learners can easily reboot the simulation they were struggling to complete and master it at their leisure.
Use Infographics: Infographics can provide useful tidbits and information related to a complicated task. They can also highlight trends and reveal statistics with compelling visuals and concise content. For example, you can pair statistics with visuals that illustrate the point. Try to give your learners essential details, without overwhelming them with too much unnecessary information.
Pro tip: Try to include social media buttons so that your learners can easily share them within their network.
4. Choose an Instructional Design Model
A key challenge of developing an eLearning course is choosing the most compatible instructional design model. Most course designers fail to apply this concept and end up switching halfway through, which means having to start over from scratch.
A key step in choosing the right instructional design model for your online course to assess your online learners and the level of peer interaction needed.
Try to answer this important question: what makes this model better than others? In general, your personal beliefs and experiences will play an important role. A lot of deliberation goes into choosing the most suitable model for your eLearning course. You will have to learn from past experiences, such as what worked before and what you could improve upon.
However, your own experiences can work against you. Especially if you have formed a bias or opinion that prevents you from expanding into other instructional design models. Make sure to reevaluate your thought process to determine if your cognitions are beneficial or just getting in the way.
A key ingredient of any instructional design module is its survivability with future possible changes. It has to be adaptable for future audiences and adaptable. This is true if your eLearning course doesn’t come with an ‘expiration date’. Think of it this way: online learners from the future will be accessing your course to get the information they need.
So is your instructional design model going to facilitate learning or hinder it for those audiences? Is the design model tried and tested? Is it flexible? Can it be adapted for future audiences? Ideally, it should be tech-forward and flexible to stand the test of time.
5. Face Time Management challenge
It’s a well-worn adage in the professional sphere that “time is money”. This is especially true for professionals in eLearning who are constantly struggling with tight deadlines.
It’s a major challenge of developing an eLearning course because you have to take care of both design and time management – without breaking the bank. Successfully overcoming this challenge requires the effective allotment of time, evaluating critical tasks, and accurately making estimates of the required development time.
Then, you should focus on improving communication between all stakeholders, including the learners and your team.
6. Effective Communication with Online Students
Another key challenge of developing an eLearning course is the difficulty of communicating with the students – both visually and verbally. Effective communication in your online course aids in the retention of your learners. Your goal should be to provide them with a sense of community while they are enrolled in online classes.
Try to foster a sense of community in your online classes to make the learning experience more meaningful for your learners and help them stay connected as the course progresses. Most learning management systems (LMS) have tools that allow you to communicate with your online learners, but you can use other technology tools to bridge the gap between you and your online students.
Here are a few tips to help you communicate in a way that is timely, useful, and relevant to your online learners:
The shorter is the better: When you write a message that you will send to your students, try to use fewer words while ensuring that your intended message is clear and simple. Online students have to deal with a constant influx of communications that mostly involves text, so the last thing they need is to read lengthy online messages from you. Your students are more likely to read messages that are concise and well crafted.
Get Rid of the Jargon: Your message should be concise and clear, leaving no room for confusion that could throw off the student. Give them all the details they need to know without including the fluff.
Be Courteous: Make sure your message sounds the way you intend it to sound. Check the tone of your message to check for clarity and completeness of the message. Ask your students for feedback about the message. You have to make sure your messages are professional and courteous.
7. Adaptability is key to success
The next challenge of developing an eLearning course is adaptability. To overcome problems, you should be able to anticipate future problems and prepare to handle them. At the same time, you have to be cognizant of unexpected problems. It would be reckless to assume that your online course is perfect and has no problems.
One way to improve your efficiency skills is to get involved with the online learning community. Try to connect with more eLearning professionals and bounce off ideas with them. Share your concerns, discuss issues, and get ideas on how to deal with difficult situations. Don’t know where to start? A good place to look for eLearning professionals would be social media, such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
8. Identify and Resolve Mistakes while developing an elearning course
It would be foolish to assume you are perfect and cannot make mistakes when developing an eLearning course. A big challenge of developing an eLearning course is having to admit that mistakes will be made and to overcome them. Just as your online learners can benefit from their mistakes, so can you.
As an eLearning professional, you have to realize that the process of online course creation is not possible without some mistakes. They play a key role in facilitating innovation, and more importantly, encourage learning. This brings us to the next key challenge of developing an eLearning course.
9. Keep Learning All the Time
Developing an eLearning course requires constantly learning and expanding your knowledge. If you want to be able to stay up to date and solve your audience’s pain points, you have to keep abreast of new changes.
It does not matter whether you have been creating online learning solutions for the last 10 years or just starting, you will have to keep reading other eLearning courses and textbooks, online blogs, and participate in the eLearning community. More importantly, a true passion for eLearning is required in developing eLearning courses.
10. Keeping Up with the Latest eLearning Technology
The earlier you embrace new trends and tools in eLearning technology, the more you grow. This is the last but not least challenge of developing an eLearning course. You cannot afford to become complacent with the set of tools you use.
You can learn about the latest trends in eLearning technology by visiting online forums and blogs where you can exchange opinions with other professionals.
Now that you know about the most common challenges of developing an eLearning course, you can focus on creating improved learning experiences for your audiences.