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Sunday, March 21, 2010

5 Suggestions When Building an e-Course

There are many tips or pointers for people building e-courses. I will add mine to the mix. These are based on personal experience.

1. Keep it simple silly. Just because you have the technology doesn't mean you have to use it all every time.
2. Don't bite off more than you can chew. This also goes with number one about simplicity, keep the lesson short and only focus on one training objective. Keep breaking it down to the lowest common denominator.
3. Nothing is ever as quick as you think it is. It takes time to build a course and more time to build an e-course, period.
4. The devil is in the details. Be neurotic about the course material and appearance. Pay attention to the alignment, spacing, eye appeal, voice overs, scripting and more. Adopt the standards for the Internet and the standardized vocabulary to make it easier for the learner to follow and understand.
5. Test it out on others. You may understand exactly what you mean and ace the e-course every time. Let others be the judge about the understandability of your course. After reflecting on the comments and deciding which warrant implementation, do it. Implement those changes that will improve the e-course.

I am building an e-course for a client and have found that keeping these five rules in mind is helping considerably. There are many more but five to seven things to remember is stretching my capabilities.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Making an e-learning solution for a client

In the capstone class for the e-Learning Certificate a requirement is to find a field supervisor who will work with you to develop an e-learning solution.

Last fall I came across a non-profit organization called KeelWorks.org. The primary KeelWorks mission is to change learning outcomes for the economically disadvantaged. I really wanted to do an internship with them as an instructional designer. They take on new interns monthly. The interns work in groups of five developing an e-learning object.

Being in graduate school taking two classes per semester and working 53+ hours per week didn't leave much time for KeelWorks. Family got whatever time I had left.

The spring semester of 2010 found me in the e-learning capstone class and looking for a field supervisor. Since I am a firefighter and don't have access to someone in the education field who could be a field supervisor, I contacted KeelWorks. My proposal to them was that I could create an e-learning solution for them. The executive director quickly responded and asked that I build an e-learning product that will expose new interns to Google(R) Docs.

It is a wonderful experience working with a "client" developing a product. The one thing I did not do, and the field supervisor addressed, was to make certain that there was a design plan agreed to by all parties.

Just like any other contractor, be it a plumber, house builder, or even a lawyer, the designer has to know what the client expects and the client has to know what the designer is planning to do. Seems simple enough.

Something to keep in mind if anyone is planning on getting into the instructional design contractor field.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Time is Marching On!

I looked at a calendar today and realized that today is March 1! Yes I was surprised, shocked would be a better way to put it.

Taking two classes while working and keeping a presence in the family is a challenge. But not as big a challenge as what was and continues to be experienced by the men and women who march into our wars.

Tomorrow is Texas Independence Day. I thought it fitting to acknowledge the sacrifices and bravery that colored our wonderful state's history. As with every state in our union and every country in our world, our history is rich and full of tales that grab our collective attention.

Although it isn't a widely celebrated holiday, take a moment to remember our heroes. Not just the Texas heroes, but the heroes throughout history the world over.