how to structure your eLearning course

category: structure
Building a course can be overwhelming, especially if you have a lot of content to cover. You want it to be clear and concise, but at the same time knowledgeable and useful. Likewise, you want to keep learners engaged, but not complicate the development process with an overload of multimedia. Developing with users in mind and with a clear course structure will bring the best results.

break it down

The first thing to consider is organisation of content. Once you break down the course into main topics, derive sub-topics which you can use to create learning modules. Modular learning is beneficial for motivation because it keeps the content more concise, and makes it easier to navigate where the course might require different learning paths. It helps the learning process because it makes it easier to identify strengths and weaknesses too, for example through comparing modular assessment results. Shorter sections of content can also improve information retention.

consider different versions

Modular learning has multiple benefits for eLearning development, which can save you a lot of time and resources. It is extremely easy to reuse or redesign modules to create multiple versions intended for different audiences. An example might be a course on law and regulation changes that affect a business. Everyone might need to learn the basics which are grouped into core modules, but there might be differences in the learning outcomes for employees and managers. You can quickly build courses tailored to different learner needs this way, without the need to edit and redesign the entire content.

bitesize chunks

Employees will often need to complete a course within work hours, meaning that they likely to not have the time to complete it all in one go. It is highly convenient for employees to go through the course in smaller chunks, so they can fit it around their commitments. There is never a good time to take 1-2 hours out of your day in reality, but you can help this by using smaller modules. If you can ensure modules build on from one another (like getting more complex or specific) it can act as revision of the previous content.

multi-device eLearning

Due to the nature of how we interact with our mobile devices, making your course accessible from different platforms will be also advantageous to your learners. Yes, they’re likely to spend more time at a computer or laptop to complete bulky parts of your course, if there are any. But people have a lot of free time where they could benefit from learning from a mobile device while on the go. This doesn’t just come down to responsive web design, but structuring the course in a way that an individual can easily progress through it while using a phone or tablet. This could mean simple interactivity like multiple choice questions or short videos.

make the content flow

You should consider keeping each module similar in structure, but this might not always be possible. Factor in how complex a particular topic might be and in what manner you are looking to deliver it. If you are tackling a topic that requires a lot of learning hours, think about different learning methods you can incorporate to keep it varied and useful for all types of learners. Regardless, you should try and keep the flow of the course clear. Start with a module introduction, and include some sort of assessment following the main bulk of the content to help embed the information. You might want to include a revision section and additional external resources.

learning journey

Finally, people like to have autonomy over their learning journey, being able to pick and choose how to complete the course as it suits them. Have a clear roadmap that holds the course together so that learners have a way to keep track of their progress and understand the learning objectives. From there, build modules or bite-sized topics for them to navigate through. The more freedom you can provide in terms of accessibility, learning styles and content delivery, the easier it will be for users to complete the course.