Trading Quality for Speed is a False Choice

Our mission at the eLearning Network® is to promote the advancement, adoption, and quality of eLearning courses, technologies and the eLearning professionals who use them.  Help support our mission by becoming a free member, downloading our free resources, and hiring our custom development team anytime you need help.

We understand that it may not be feasible for every course to have professional audio narration, advanced graphic designs, etc. Sometimes it is necessary to build rapid eLearning that is “good enough”.  Its worth noting that at the eLearning Network® when we say “good enough”, our good enough is usually what most people consider outstanding!  That said, if you must deliver courses rapidly and simply do not have the time to create content with a high quality production value we recommend taking a middle-ground approach.  You don’t have to sacrifice quality for speed so long as you have the budget necessary to produce a quality experience. Instead, you can deliver a rapid course quickly and then use that content as the foundation for building and releasing a new and improved version of that course a little later on. For example, you could knock out a screen recording in a day or two just to hit a deadline and then turn this project over to the professional development team to “remodel”. Following is one strategy for doing just that…

Steps to transform eLearning from good to great:

  1. Create a course outline (storyboard) in PowerPoint: PowerPoint is an excellent tool for organizing your thoughts in a linear step-by-step fashion. Keep your bullet points and other on-screen text brief and to the point and use the notes section to include all of the information you want to cover on each slide. Try to limit the narration in the notes section to 150 words, which will be about 1 minute per slide. Include stock art, illustration, charts, and other visuals to reinforce graphically the key concepts being discussed.
  2. Deliver your presentation using eLearning screen recording software: Go ahead and deliver your presentation while recording it using your favorite screen recording software. Be sure to use a good quality headset or microphone.  Screen recording software that we use and like include Camtasia, Adobe Presenter, Adobe Captivate, and Articulate Storyline.
  3. Publish the rapid eLearning version of your course: If the course content is solid and the audio/visual quality is at least minimally acceptable, then you could release this course to your learners now while you further refine the course. Be sure to collect learner performance data and survey your learners about their overall satisfaction with the experience. You’ll use this data later to compare the new to the old version.
  4. Rewrite the narrative and have it professionally recorded: Now that you have a rapid eLearning course in play you can focus on upgrading the quality of your course starting with instructional design and narration. If you ad-libbed some or all of the course you can send the audio to a transcription service (like what eLearning.net offers). From there you can edit/refine your narration to be more concise and say exactly what you want. You can then send this final script to a professional voice talent (again like what eLearning.net offers) and include high quality professional audio narration.
  5. Give your course a graphic design upgrade: Just as a professional voice talent makes a big impact on the overall quality of the learner experience, so too does professional visual designs created by an experienced graphic artist. Because you did a decent job arranging stock artwork, bullet points, charts, etc., a graphic artist and can understand immediately your intention and produce visuals that really impress your audience.
  6. Use high quality template designs with possible: Once you have a solid eLearning design look and feel nailed down, consider reusing those designs as your own personal templates. You can also purchase pre-created templates from the eLearning Network store and other sources. Beware of the high volume, low quality eLearning template providers out there. And even if you do use pre-created off-the-shelf templates, be sure that your courses receive a final design pass performed by an experienced graphic artist. Well meaning eLearning developers armed with tons of stock images and templates can lead to really bad designs that distract your learners and reduce the quality of the eLearning experience.
  7. Add custom interactivities: If your course is limited to users simply clicking the Next button after each page is complete, you may want to create some activities, quizzes, and other interactive elements to make the course more engaging.
  8. Publish your new course and swap out the old on in the LMS: Now that you have a new and improved course, remove the rapid course and replace it. You satisfied the short-term “need for speed” and now have a course in place that should last you for years to come.
  9. Compare the new vs. old: After you collect learner data from both courses, compare the surveys. Did your new course rate higher or produce better results? If so, this may make the case for creating eLearning that has a little more interactivity and polish than the low budget rapid development approach.

The eLearning Network® offers full-service and a la carte eLearning development services. Whether you need a little graphic design support or you wish to outsource complete projects from start-to-finish, we can support you at any and all steps in the development process.

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