Time is one of our scarcest resources today. Unfortunately for most, it’s impossible to be in two places at once, but what is within your power your ability to better organize your tasks and your time.
If you create e-learning content and want to make the most out of what time you have, these 5 tips will help improve your personal productivity and create more quality, online courses in less time.
1. Define your plan of attack
Even though the process for creating content is well-established, if you have a lot of tasks and all the phases start blurring together, it can be confusing. That’s why the first (and perhaps most important) thing you can do is lay out a plan for designing your online courses.
The steps to creating an e-learning course are usually as follows:
- Determine what the target audience is.
- Define the online course’s objectives.
- Organize the e-learning content.
- Propose guidelines for instructional design.
- Create a storyboard and script.
- Construct the e-learning course.
- Carry out tests to make sure it’s working correctly.
- Publish the course.
- Promote it and gather feedback.
- Measure the results.
2. Organize your schedule
Once you have your plan laid out, it’s time to organize your schedule so you can meet your deadlines and complete your tasks. Creating a style guide that centralizes all the main aspects of the process will help you streamline your approach and maintain consistency in your content.
Task managers and other organizational tools can also help you track the process in real-time.
3. Set up your workspace
It’s important to have an organized workspace that gives you access to everything you need right when you need it. This doesn’t just mean all the physical tools (notebooks, pens, etc.) but also the online tools and programs you need to do your job (Photoshop, Word, Google Drive, etc.).
Try it at your company! You’ll be shocked at how much time the simple act of having what you need at your fingertips will save.
4. Use authoring tools to your advantage
Digital transformation has brought about many new technologies that have become crucial allies to professionals and instructional designers from all walks of life. Specifically, authoring tools make it easy to blend a variety of elements throughout the process of creating e-learning courses.
The most important features (some of which you might already be using) are:
- Templates for creating the scenes, defining the subjects, and editing the layouts. They save creators time for each course.
- Multimedia content: although more and more e-learning courses are moving away from formats that rely heavily on text and images, not all tools have the same features. Embrace those that give you the option to include videos, comics, and other such formats that increase student engagement. There are even some out there that let you record content with a webcam.
- The ability to repackage content: for example, you could revive pre-existing elements or divide a longer video into multiple shorter videos or comics.
- Drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to organize the courses’ elements without programming! It’s especially useful if you make multiple similar courses.
- Locally-stored or cloud-based content: having the option to save files locally or online is beneficial. This way, users can access what they need from anywhere that has internet access. You can also send them the course and have them download it. Flexibility is key, and it never hurts to have a hard copy or be able to download it from the cloud.
- Usability: The best authoring tools are designed to be intuitive so anyone can use them to customize their courses and streamline their workload without running into problems.
- The ability to quantify results: the tool you select should be able to provide analysis and evaluate user performance throughout their online training. The type of reporting can vary, but the important thing is to find the one that best suits your needs.
- Interactivity: Gone are the days where students were satisfied with reading a passage and answering questions (if they ever existed at all.) Today’s best tools allow for many types of interaction and are built around engagement. Some even present training materials as video games, what’s known as game-based learning.
5. Make use of related content
You may think that course designers create each individual course from scratch, creating brand new content and resources for each one. Doing this is possible, but not a great use of time. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If you have an image, video, or lesson from another course that might work for this one, adapt it!
Some of the things you can reuse are:
- Scenes and objects.
- Generic, universal examples.
- Evaluation types.