Updated: Jul 6
E-Learning courses are an excellent way to reach out to more people and educate more people than traditional teaching styles allow for. However, many people shy away from creating e-learning courses because they assume it’s only possible with expensive software and that you have to have experience in the industry in order to create your own course from scratch. Luckily, both of these things are not true! In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how to create an e-learning course with no experience or special knowledge required!
Step 1 - Write Down Your Goals
If you want to create e-learning, but don’t have any experience, it can be difficult figuring out how to begin. But just about anyone can learn how to create e-learning courses if they’re willing to take some time and think through their end goals. First thing’s first: make a list of your goals for creating e-learning. Do you want a steady source of income? Is teaching what you really love doing? Are you doing it as a side hustle? These are all good things worth writing down so that you have clear guidelines on where your focus lies when creating an e-learning course.
Step 2 - Conduct a Needs Analysis
Conducting a needs analysis is one of your most important tasks, because it will help you figure out what your target audience needs to learn. Your audience should be made up of employees and/or managers who do not have any formal training in career skills, such as time management or using business software. They are generally under 25 years old and have at least an undergraduate degree. Conducting a survey or questionnaire will help you gather more specific information about your target audience, like where they live and what jobs they perform within their company. This information will help you tailor your e-learning courses more specifically to their needs.
Step 3 - Conduct Online Research
Conducting online research will give you a better understanding of e-learning, which is especially helpful if you don’t have any experience. There are several free online resources that can provide valuable insight into creating e-learning courses. You can also ask friends and family members who work in learning and development what they think of e-learning, as well as search on social media for peers or experts who have discussed e-learning in blogs or articles. The more research you do before getting started, the easier it will be to create an e-learning course without any experience.
Step 4 - Collect Materials
Materials for e-learning should be readily available online. Once you have a plan in place, you can go about collecting all of your resources. Whether it’s pictures from a stock image site or graphics you find on Google Images, it’s easy to save these items online for later use. Remember: The more material you have for an e-learning course, the better. You can always delete information that is irrelevant or unused at a later time.
Step 5 - Organize Your Learning Resources
If you’re an e-learning newbie, start by gathering all of your learning resources. There are a number of different options available depending on what sort of content you want to produce—and some will require a bit more work than others. One way to make things easier is by starting with free tutorials and buying books about related topics, such as how to create engaging slides or how to design audio and video slides. Alternatively, if you know someone who already creates e-learning courses, ask for some guidance from them; they may be able to share their own templates or best practices for creating online lessons.
Step 6 - Choose a Topic For Each Resource
First, you need to choose a topic for each resource. For example, Being a Better Business Leader could be a title for an e-learning course that you develop and sell. The idea is that people who have chosen your e-learning courses will have some interest in these topics and they might also be interested in other titles under these topics. For example, Being a Better Manager or Being more successful at Work etc.
Step 7 - Decide on the Activity Structure
The main difference between instructional design and e-learning is that instructional design focuses on a combination of theoretical learning, such as lectures, and practical application. If you’re creating your own e-learning program, you’ll need to decide how much time to allocate for each element. For example, a course might include 60 minutes of lecture material with 10 minutes of inactivity after each video before moving on to another topic. There should also be opportunities for self-directed learning throughout. If your primary audience is college students or recent graduates (age 18–30), more practical application may be necessary than if it were geared toward older professionals or nonprofessionals who have very little experience in your subject matter.
Step 8 - Decide on Assessment Structure (if applicable)
Before beginning any e-learning course, you need to decide on an assessment structure that's appropriate for your topic. E-learning courses can be assessed in several ways, but most commonly using multiple choice questions, clickable simulations and/or peer and self review assignments. Each type of assessment is different and requires a different approach—for example, consider how time consuming it would be for learners to complete five 15 question assessments or one 60 question assessment in a learning module. If you're creating an e-learning course as part of your job or schoolwork, make sure you think through how students will be assessed before writing a single word.
Step 9 - Develop an Outline
E-learning is not only a creative field, but it’s also highly technical. If you have no experience in developing e-learning, start by outlining your course. Go through each of your modules and make sure you know exactly what you’re going to teach students on each module, how long it will take them to complete it and how much time they should be spending on each lesson. Also include any other resources that are needed for completion of a given module. Write down every word and make sure everything is crystal clear from start to finish. E-learning is effective because courses can be completed at a student’s own pace; therefore, if content isn’t organized properly, students will lose their way or become bored very quickly.
Step 10 - Start Writing Your Course!
Writing an e-learning course is relatively easy, but requires some basic knowledge about software like Adobe Captivate or Camtasia. Even if you don't have any experience in those programs, there are plenty of resources online that will help you get started—just make sure that your computer can handle running these programs before jumping in. Once you’ve downloaded and installed one of these applications, open it up and create a new project. You can either create a blank page and design your own slides from scratch or use one of many stock templates already included in these software packages. If you choose to go the latter route, be aware that they only include text boxes, meaning any images or animations must be added manually later on.
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