course materialA subject matter expert (SME) gives you hundreds of pages on a subject you know nothing about. So, how do you handle such a daunting task? Well, there are a few methods you can add to your design routine to aid you in creating an optimal course. First, you need to learn about the course material.

Learning About the  Course Material

  • Read up about the organization you are creating the course for. This helps you get an idea of their overall message. If you’re creating training for an internal project you can probably skip this. 
  • Take notes when going through the material. Identify the main points within the content. You may need to know more about these topics. Jot down some questions for the SME. 
  • Whenever you encounter a word you don’t recognize, look it up. If you’re not able to find a definition, ask the SME. Put the terms and their definitions together in your notes for later reference. Including an example sentence for each word or term can also be helpful. 
  • Take note of important quotes. You might want to cite them in the course. 
  • If you feel distracted when working, you might want to try turning on music or soothing ambiance to improve your concentration. If those don’t work, try listening to podcasts or finding a new workspace. 
  • Note how you feel when consuming the material. If you enjoy a certain aspect of a pre-existing course, describe why it worked so well for you. You might be able to reuse some of the ideas. 
  • If you feel overwhelmed by the volume of the material, break it up into sections visually. You could organize files on different sides of the desktop. Put the incomplete files on one side, the completed ones on the other. 
  • Assign yourself a small amount of material to consume at a time, such as every twenty minutes or every hour. People’s attention spans only last for so long. After a while, the quality of their work begins to decrease. By working on a little bit at a time you’re more likely to finish the work steadily, without getting burned out. 

Now Onto Creating the Course

  • Outline the course, noting the highest priority points that need to be included. Put this in sequential order and state what each topic is meant to teach the learner.
  • Create storyboards, or prototypes, based on the outline.
  • Read over what you composed, at least once. Also, have at least one other person read the piece and give you their feedback before you send it to the client. You can make appropriate changes based on their feedback before you send it in for official approval.
  • Set a different goal for each day, depending on your schedule. Maybe on Tuesday, you want to finish writing scripts for two slide decks. Then on Wednesday, your goal might be to design ten graphics for those slides. Once you have completed those, cross them off your checklist. Doing this will give you a sense of accomplishment and help track your progress.
  • Time yourself. This isn’t meant to pressure you. You can even keep the timer out of sight so you don’t worry about it. With the timer, you’re able to see how long you took to complete a project or how long you worked for a single day. Keep a record of your time. You can use it to help give time estimates for your next project.

Hopefully these tips help with your future eLearning course material. Good luck!

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