When it boils down to it, a good e-learning experience is actually all about the user experience. User experience is shaped by two variables: target audience and agency goal. Before you start designing a training, consider who your target audience is and what your learning objectives are. The answers to these questions will provide the framework of design moving forward.
Who is your target audience?
Are you training millennials? Seasoned academics? Or perhaps mid-level employees? Knowing the different persona types will greatly impact design needs. Identifying a clear buyer persona at the start of your design process is critical. This will help you map out what your buyer expects and is trying to get out of an e-learning experience. The more specific you can get, the better.
Consider this persona: a mid-level government employee who wants to advance his or her career, but is also family-focused and doesn’t have the time and energy she used to. This persona is most likely looking for a short, practical, and engaging course from a credible source because she doesn’t have time to mess around. Knowing your target persona provides context for the rest of your design decisions.
What is your learning objective?
Are you looking to condense a complex topic into digestible takeaways? Or maybe you want to train your workforce on a new product development? Either way, knowing what you want out of your training will help guide you.
Then think about the action you want your participant to be able to do vs. what you want them to know. Knowing what you want someone to get out of a learning experience is key to setting learning strategies.
Think about the level of learning you want them to accomplish. Do you just want them to recall information, or do you want them be able to assess and evaluate complex issues? There are several tiers on the learning level scale starting with knowledge and ending with evaluation and they all correlate with different learning objectives. Identify where you want someone to fall on that scale and proceed from there.
Alignment to action
After you identify your learning level, move to learning design goals. This will be your strategy for aligning your e-learning experience with learning objectives. Viral, bite-sized, authentic, transferrable, high-profile and flow-inducing strategies are all different design tactics you can use to meet you learning objective.
Once you answer these questions, you can start your design process. Check out this blog post for a few tips to consider when designing your e-learning course.