Sometimes you need to work on a course with multiple subject matter experts or instructional designers. But like with any group project, it can be a challenge for everyone to work together effectively. Luckily, the collaboration features available to Articulate 360 Teams subscribers in Rise make it easy to build lessons simultaneously, so you can finish your courses faster.
If you’ve never co-authored a course before, you may be wondering if there are any best practices to follow to get everyone on the same page. After co-authoring a few courses, I came up with the following tips to help ensure the success of future collaborative projects.
Go Over Collaborative Parameters at a Kick-Off Meeting
As with any e-learning project, I start by inviting everyone involved to a kick-off meeting to go over all the project parameters. In addition to standard kick-off meeting questions, I cover things like:
- Who will create which lesson? How do you want to split up the course? By chapter? By lesson? Who will write the conclusion? Who will create the quiz?
- Who will apply changes requested in the review process? Will I apply all the changes? Or will each course author be responsible for the changes that impact their lesson?
- What style of images should authors use? Photographic or illustrated? Black and white or color?
- What writing style should authors adopt? Formal or conversational? Should they write in the first or second person? In order for the lessons to feel cohesive, it’s important for the writing style to be fairly similar throughout.
If I’m working with a large group of people or with people who don’t usually create courses, I typically make these decisions myself and lay them out in a document prior to the meeting. If people have questions or suggestions, we can always make changes to the document, but it’s always easier to have a jumping-off point than to start from scratch in these instances.
If I’m working with a small group of experienced instructional designers, however, the kick-off meeting often takes the form of a brainstorming session where we define these things together.
Either way, after the meeting I clean up the document and share it with everyone via a shared document app like Google Docs in a view-only format. This way everyone can reference it as needed.
Write the Author’s Name Next to the Lesson Title
After the kick-off meeting, I start pulling together my outline in Rise. As I do that, I add the name of the author after the lesson title. That way, everyone can easily see which course they’re responsible for creating.
I like to leave the names in place until the course is 100 percent finalized. Even if I plan to apply all the requested changes myself, it’s nice to be able to refer back to the person who originally created the course in case I’m unsure about something.
Pre-Select the Lesson Types
Once again, depending on the project and the people involved, I sometimes pre-select the different lesson types before sharing it with my co-authors.
For example, if I’m working with people who’ve never created a course before, I might pre-select the lesson type so the team can focus on their content instead of getting hung up on choosing a format. However, if I’m co-authoring a course with another instructional designer, I might let them select the lesson type they think best fits the content. It all depends on the project and the people involved!
To select a lesson type, I just click on Add Content and select the desired lesson type.
Share Course with Collaborators
When I’m ready to share my course with my collaborators, I simply go up to the Share tab, click on View Collaborators, enter the relevant e-mail addresses in the box one by one, and click Invite.
Now my collaborators can go in and add content to the course. If someone else is working on a lesson, Rise will notify me with a pop-up to prevent us from overwriting each other’s edits.
Create Blocks Templates
Sometimes I need to create custom lessons, but want others to be able to use the same general format. That’s where blocks templates are really handy. For example, in this course on working across cultures, each blocks lesson is structured the same way. And, instead of rebuilding each lesson from scratch, I simply saved my blocks lesson as a template, inserted it into a new blocks lesson, and updated my content.
Check out the gif below to see how I created my blocks template:
Blocks templates are also a great way to ensure consistency when working with others. Once I’ve created my template, everyone on my team can access it, allowing them to replicate the structure of my blocks lesson.
Share Course with Reviewers
When my course is ready to go, I publish it to Articulate Review and send the link to anyone involved in the review process.
If my reviewers don’t have an Articulate account, it’s no biggie. They just need to enter a valid email address to leave comments.
As they view the course, they can add any questions or suggestions they have in the box on the right-hand side, making it super quick and easy for reviewers, who are often pressed for time.
Articulate Review also makes it easier for me and my co-authors to interpret reviewer comments, since it takes a screenshot of what the person was looking at when they left their comment.
If any comments are ambiguous or if I need more information, I can simply respond to their comment inline. I can even tag my co-authors when comments pertain to their lesson, so they can go ahead and update it directly.
The Bottom Line
With the collaboration features in Rise and the tips I’ve outlined in this article, you’ve got everything you need to make sure your next collaborative project goes off without a hitch.
Have you come up with any other strategies that make collaborating in Rise even easier? I’d love to hear all about them! Feel free to share in the space below. And remember to follow us on Twitter and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.