10 Pieces of E-Learning Advice to Live By Illustration

Last week Community Manager David Anderson invited you all to share the best e-learning advice you’ve ever received in this discussion. It was exciting to see how many people wanted to take part and the gems of invaluable advice they provided! In case you missed the discussion in the forums, we’ve picked a handful to share with you here.

  1. Know your tools like the back of your hand. Do you think the first time Michelangelo held a paintbrush he ended up with a masterpiece? Then why should you expect to create an amazing e-learning course the first time you use a new tool? To come up with original and innovative ideas, you have to get to know your tools backwards and forwards. Right on, David Anderson.
  2. Put yourself in the learner’s shoes. It’s easy to get caught up in the details while developing an e-learning course, but don’t forget to step back and consider the learner. Paul Huckett, Jan Vilbrandt, and Carmel McShea all emphasized the importance of bringing the learners—their needs and their environment—to the forefront of the instructional design process.
  3. Less is more. When it comes to design, Michael Jones, Jennifer Valley, and Jessica Schuster agree that the best approach is to resist the urge to go over the top. Don’t be afraid of a little white space! Stick to clean and understated and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.
  4. Seek inspiration everywhere. TV shows. Billboards. Books. Video games. Magazines. Your family and friends. And, of course, right here on E-learning Heroes! Thanks for sharing, GC.
  5. Don’t (always) listen to “the experts.” David Anderson reminds us that every project is different. What works for one project may bomb with another. So unless the so-called experts have the same level of understanding of your project as you do, trust your own instincts.
  6. Include stakeholders every step of the way. Super Hero Steve Flowers really says it best, so I’ll just let his words do the talking on this one: “Those riding in the balloon with you are less likely to try to shoot it down.… Revealing the skyscraper from behind the stage curtain at the end of the project is risky.”
  7. Show your SMEs appreciation. Remember that a lot of times SMEs are less than thrilled about all the extra work involved in developing an e-learning course. Tom Kuhlmann reminds us to be sure and let them (and their managers!) know how much you appreciate all their hard work. A little recognition goes a long way.
  8. Remember, there are no problems, only solutions. With any large project, there are going to be a few bumps in the road, but don’t go running to your boss or client until you’ve already got a handful of possible ways to solve the problem. Wise words, Richard Watson! Once you stop seeing problems as roadblocks, and start seeing them as opportunities to get creative and come up with solutions, you’ll stop stressing and start shining.
  9. Test early, test often. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. This sound advice from Holly MacDonald helps ensure that when problems do come up, they come up sooner rather than later, making them easier to handle.
  10. Never stop learning. This maxim really applies to anyone in any field, no matter how long you’ve been doing what you’re doing. Jeff Kortenbosch put it simply: “Stay teachable.” Remember that you can never know it all, and that the learning process never ends. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something. Don’t be too proud to seek help. Things are constantly changing, and if you think you know it all, you’re already behind the pack.

That about wraps it up! Don’t forget to check out the forum discussion and if you spot any amazing e-learning advice that we missed, let us know in the comments below! Follow us on Twitter and visit E-learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.