Alright, a new position has opened up in your university: eLearning Technician. And the job requirements seem impossible. Why?
The main task revolves around converting (tons of) faculty discipline-related content into the new eLearning platform.
Why the jeepers!!
Let us tell you why universities and educational institutions are increasingly going for the eLearning make-over. Before you think of anything to do with the unselfish educational spirit, halt your horses! This is also a marketing and enrollment retention (and increase) strategy. More students are inclined to use mobile devices (read: a very broad spectrum of mobile devices) to access learning materials that not only are multi-media in nature, but also somehow connect with their preferred social media.
Learning has also become a trend to follow. And universities who have broken into and climbing the social media scene are the only places to be seen! It has finally caught up with parents too.
Parents who have been doing anything and everything to motivate their children from kindergarten to high school to keep up with their grades, also prefer universities that replicate their motivation schemes. Digital media has captured the education scene and parents know their teens would do better if provided with a digital learning environment.
Professors, hauling their back packs have been struggling to keep up with the student needs too. But, that’s just the handful of them. The remaining faculty is intensely aversive to the notion of converting their hard-researched “notes” (eLearning translation: content), into something that can be downloaded (shudders).
How do you convince them that their knowledge is safe as well as the “edge” and expertise they have acquired over the years? How do you motivate the professors to convert their content (as simply as possible) into eLearning courses?
What challenges am I looking at?
While the university is hunting for an eLearning Technician who would be using course authoring software to create the eLearning content, you can help in the meantime. The fact that faculty carry a life-time of expertise in their wheel bags is a daunting thought. But, don’t get so easily bewildered.
We’ve already talked about how you should proceed with the eLearning content development process. In this article, we cover five simple steps that will help you convert volumes of content into chunks of learning material. Actually, those are good starter adjectives: volume vs chunks.
Always remember, eLearning content is in small bite-sized information that is hyperlinked to optional or mandatory research or resource material. Your goal is to sift the bite-sizes from the longer reads. Follow these five simple steps and feel like a hero (with bragging rights!).
Five Simple Steps to Convert Content into eLearning Material
Step 1: Analyzing Content
Perform a content audit with the faculty whose content is under review. As a university who is stepping into the eLearning bandwagon, empathize with the eLearning “naysayers”. They believe that the classroom is a place to study and they truly have done it the hard way. Coax them into believing that they have done things the harder way, and now it’s time to stop re-inventing the wheel, rather embellish it in increments with new features!
Believe me, simple logic usually works well with professors! Your objective here is to show how technology will do all the hard work! And of course these five steps will provide you with a road map.
Before dissecting the faculty’s material, have a simple example ready to show how volume is converted into chunks and presented in the eLearning format. Encourage the notion that this format of learning will motivate and retain their learners better.
First things first, establish a course goal.
Once the faculty is (close to) being convinced, analyze their content into specific (as compared to overlapping) chapters, sub chapters and related exercises.
How many chapters were you able to come up with after this exercise? It has to be less than what they have!
Step 2: Determining Learning Objectives
As faculty, these individuals are already familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy. Lets do a refresher here:
Once you analyze faculty content under these areas, you can easily think of supporting multi-media as well as create learning objectives. This step will help you eliminate the surplus content, which can be reviewed as a resource for the content.
Learning objectives will ensure your content remains aligned with the course goal. They will later help create assessment items. This is ID 101! Do not move forward unless this step is complete!
Step 3: Choosing the eLearning Course Format
Depending on the technological infrastructure available, the budget, the target audience, and the learning context of the course, you can demonstrate to the faculty the multi-media tools and software that will bring their courses to life. Show examples of complete eLearning courses that utilize video, audio, diagrams, animation, interactivity and decision-making branches.
Your faculty and you can select the applicable multi-media for the content.
Step 4: Planning the eLearning Course
Planning is a crucial step to accomplish a well thought-out course. Storyboards are great for this step. Teach your faculty how to use storyboards that typically involve adding information in the designated places.
Learn more about the audience of the faculty. Create a course outline complete with the navigation flow. Each screen in the storyboard will show the chapter number, sub chapter, the learning goal of the module and its related content with interactive multimedia. While no screen is purely textual, overusing “eLearning bells and whistles” are not the goal here.
Keep in mind that the total length of the module should be no more than 20- 30 minutes to ensure learners stay interested. So, focus on time limit, not slide limits.
Step 5: Developing the eLearning Course
This is the ultimate step where you convert volume into chunks. Refer to the ADDIE/SAM, Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction, Action Mapping, and many more from this list to determine which one you are comfortable with. This step will help divide the content into increments that can be updated when needed. Information is broken into bullet points per screen. It will also ensure that learning and skills are tested for effectively.
You have all the basics in hand. Good luck in creating the course with the help of your LMS!