Build content with confidence and competence by using rapid authoring tools
Rapid eLearning is more than just a trend, as evidenced by the fact that “77% of US companies used online learning in 2017.” Rapid development tools empower designers to quickly and easily create state-of-the-art courses, with stylish designs, engaging interactions, and embedded multimedia that truly transforms dull content into meaningful learning experiences. Achieving these goals can become a reality when designers are mindful of the following guidelines to ensure their content doesn’t sacrifice any quality in the name of rapid development.
Follow the Principles of Instructional Design
Rapid development tools allow novice designers to jump in and create content without a steep learning curve. The instant gratification of seeing immediate results can be thrilling; although the content is not effective simply because it exists. The basic principles of instructional design still apply no matter the authoring tool or delivery method. Writing and following clear learning objectives, following adult learning theories to engage learners and guide them in applying the content, and adequately assessing learners’ knowledge are all possible, and in fact recommended, with content created in rapid development authoring tools. Just because the development time is rapid doesn’t mean there’s any excuse to skimp on following the principles of good instructional design.
Make Use of the Built-In Features and Templates
The features and templates that your authoring tool provides offer many benefits. They can give your course a professional look and feel, they can create a sense of unity and cohesion across a series of courses, and they give you immediate results with no bugs or design flaws. Built-in features and templates are tested and quality-assured and are ready for you to customize with your unique content and media. Whether you’re a new designer in need of design inspiration or assistance, or an experienced designer short on time, using built-in features and templates is a real time-saving strategy that can also elevate your course to the next level of your practice.
Reuse Elements Across Courses for Quality and Consistency
If you create multiple courses for the same client or organization, reusing elements across multiple courses is another time-saving technique that will also give your courses a consistent look and feel. Whether you use a pre-built template or create your own template for the foundation of your courses, or repeat interactions throughout a series of courses, the practice of reusing elements can give your learners a familiar experience across your courses and allow you to reinforce key messages throughout a series or learning program. One feature in Knowbly™ that makes this process seamless is the ability to simultaneously update interactive widgets in all courses where they’re used. Imagine using a hotspot interaction in more than one course, then having the ability to update the interaction every place it’s used with just one click. Features like this save development time which is sure to please both the designer and the other project stakeholders.
Collaborate with Other Designers and Project Stakeholders
Today’s rapid development authoring tools provide many ways for designers to collaborate with their colleagues, from cloud-based design platforms that allow numerous designers to contribute to a project, to review platforms that allow non-designer colleagues to provide feedback and comments throughout the development process. These collaborative features allow all stakeholders’ contributions to be shared and included, and are time-effective and cost-effective means of communication as they streamline project conversations into one centralized channel. Clear and accessible communication among teams and colleagues allows projects to run smoothly and meet deadlines, which mitigates many common risks design projects face.
Consider Learners’ Needs and Desires
What devices will learners use to access your content? What platforms or systems will your content be housed in? Is your content accessible to learners with visual or auditory impairments? These questions and more may influence the design decisions you make throughout your development process, but choosing a responsive authoring tool that publishes to flexible outputs eases some of the stress and uncertainty that these questions can present. Responsive tools create content that can be used on any device and any screen size, without the designer needing to make any modifications. The ability to publish to flexible outputs means your course can be housed anywhere learners will want to access it, from a traditional learning management system to a website or learning experience platform. Choosing a tool that has these capabilities eases the design process because you won’t have to stress about these factors while designing your course.
Create Meaningful Content Through Engaging Interactions
The days of passively scrolling through courses and just clicking “Next” are over. Today’s innovative courses challenge learners to play, chart their own paths to discover and uncover content, and demonstrate their knowledge through simulations and real-world scenarios. Effective eLearning requires active learning, application of knowledge, and critical thinking. Rapid development authoring tools provide designers with the means to realize these goals, and the most successful designers work intentionally and mindfully to achieve their intended results.