E-learning development process

Apr 17, 2018

Hi everyone, I'd love to get your expert brains on the process below which my team uses to develop e-learning courses. We'd like to know where we're going right, and where we need to make some changes. How do you develop e-learning? What's working really well for you? I've love to hear your thoughts and hope you'll share.

1. Receive request for e-learning course
2. Work with requestor to:
• clarify the challenge they are facing
• determine if training is the appropriate solution
• determine if e-learning or blended is the most suitable mode of training
3. Work with stakeholders and subject experts to:
• confirm training requirements
• identify the audience and what they need to know, do, and believe after training
• agree scope of the e-learning course
• determine if existing content is to be used or new content needs to be developed
• check that existing content is current and accurate
• identify pilot testers
• confirm availability of subject experts
• define and confirm project roles
• decide authority for sign-off
• produce development timeline
4. Develop visual design of the course. Develop course blueprint:
• high-level content
• content link to learning objectives
• learning pathway
• approach to be used
• seat time estimate
• potential narration
5. Review and sign off blueprint and visual design
6. Research and develop content
7. Develop storyboard from blueprint.
8. Review and sign off storyboard
9. Build course in authoring software. Finalise, review, sign off and record audio script.
10. Create pre-alpha version of course for review by project team in LMS
11. Review pre-alpha feedback and prepare alpha version
12. Review alpha feedback and prepare beta version
13. Review beta feedback and prepare gold standard version
14. Set up soft launch of course in LMS

Thanking you in advance!

9 Replies
Holly MacDonald

Hi Hannah -

The items you have in your #2 item above are great! 

The only suggestion that I'd make is that you don't go too far with the visuals until you are clear on the content. If you ask the client to sign off on visuals too soon, you might find yourself making instructional sacrifices to fit the imagery, rather than have the visuals support the instruction.

While visual is important, I think it's more powerful to nail the narrative aspect, so that it's compelling. Sometimes I write the script as part of the storyboarding, then do the visual and interactive pieces to support that. Then I can identify the pain points or the context for an aha moment and tie the content in that way. 


Daniel Brigham

Hi, Hannah: 

A couple of things:

1. Is someone making an actual request for elearning before you (or the ID team) determine whether or not elearning is appropriate? That could get a little weird, especially if your team says elearning isn't appropriate. You might take a look at the form the requestor uses, if indeed there is a form. Always good, at the beginning, to take a "solution-neutral" approach.

2. I don't see any mention of observing actual workers, so IDs/ process improvement folk can confirm that what stakeholders say about workers in actual true. Stakeholders, as a general rule, only kinda know what workers are going through day to day. 

3. Perhaps I missed it, but it's always good to socialize the course through various channels to learners to let them know it's coming, get buy in, and so on. So maybe a bullet around writing and delivering pre-launch communication. 

Good start on this, and thanks for sharing. --Daniel 


Hannah Lim

Really appreciate your thoughts on this, Holly. You are so right about making instructional sacrifices to fit the agreed design. It is painful! I guess I didn't clarify what visual design looks like for our team. We don’t have anything locked down too tightly, but rather work from a range of visual elements. So what the stakeholder is signing off on is really a look and feel rather than exact imagery. I should clarify too that our team is an in-house ID team for an organisation so our visual elements are very much guided by our corporate branding.

Hannah Lim

Hi Dan, thank you for responding! 

I should clarify that our ID team is part of the training team in a large organisation, so we do often receive requests for training. People have been very excited about e-learning so this has led to requests for that solution straightaway. Hence the need for Step 2. We definitely try to approach it as neutrally as possible, as you mention. 

Being in-house IDs also means that we have access to a communications team who help us take care of socialising the course and soft launch comms. 

Your second point is one that we have not thought of doing before, but I can really see the value in it! Thank you. Do you have any tips on how to do this diplomatically when the stakeholder is the customer?

Daniel Brigham

Hi, Hannah:

Regarding observing workers...I'm not sure I have any persuasive magic to making this happen. Here is what I usually say..."For me to understand this job role and the training required, I need to observe the people doing the actual work. I need to fully understand the context, the constraints they have to deal with. A supervisor, manager, or director telling me about the role is quite different than my observing it first-hand. Observing also gives me the opportunity to talk to the people we are training, get their perspective. And surely we care about that, for they are the people whose behavior we are trying to shape." (Here Hannah you could slip in any organization values like "Be human-centered" or whatever for support.)

Observing the actual work being done is so important. Managers and above don't see the many day-to-day challenges, and so discount them. 

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