e-learning course, Developing An E-learning Course

Developing An E-learning Course

(Last Updated On: Apr 26, 2019)

The objectives of an online e-learning course are easier to achieve when the course is designed to be:

Interactive – there should be a two-way flow of information between the learner and the computer.

Goal-oriented – the course should have a clear objective, so that the learner knows what is expected of them and what they should achieve at the end of the course.

Contextual – the learner should understand how the course relates to their work environment and to the tasks they are or will be carrying out.

Interesting – Most people these days have short attention spans. An online course should be engaging and compelling, allowing learners to absorb information without getting bored.

Challenging – the best e-learning courses require learners to prove their skill and determination to succeed.

The best computer games have the same characteristics. This suggests that if you can create an engaging experience, it can help learners to fully understand the course material.

As the Internet becomes ubiquitous, mobile technology and software development continue to evolve and to provide tools which would have been unimaginable even a decade ago.

Here are some important trends in e-learning:

Simulation

Flight simulators for aircraft have been around since the 1930’s, and over the decades have developed into indispensable training devices. They can provide an extremely realistic experience, which helps trainee pilots to practice in a risk-free environment.

Simulators can also be used for operator training in industrial environments, where for example operators need to know what to do when an emergency situation develops. A simulator can provide emergencies on demand, without putting a real production line at risk.

e-learning course, Developing An E-learning Course

The image above shows a simulation of a simple electronic circuit. The learner can move the voltmeter probes to measure the voltage across different points, turn the switch on and off, and control the battery voltage with the slider.

An online simulated environment provides learners with a cost-effective way to practice and experiment before they start working with the real equipment in the real world.

Video Production in the Green Screen Studio

Rather than shoot training videos on location, which tends to be more expensive than shooting in a studio, use of a green screen is common. The presenter is placed in front of a green backdrop, and a computer is used to replace the green areas with a static image or with video footage.

Use of the green screen and suitable lighting can place the presenter/s in a hazardous environment, at the bottom of the ocean, on the moon or inside a wind tunnel.

These simple special effects can also put the presenter in a kitchen, a museum or on a patio.

Since 65% of people are visual learners, the careful use of Green Screen technology can increase engagement and learner retention.

3D Animation

Complicated processes, concepts and products can be difficult to show or explain in real time.
3D animation makes it possible to slow down or speed up a process so that it can be easily understood.
A product can be deconstructed , elements can be highlighted, and the visuals paused, reversed, and restarted until the learner understands exactly what’s going on.

3D animation could be used to show the inner workings of industrial machinery. It could also show what happens inside the human body, or how planetary-scale geographical processes work.

3D animation provides more information than a static photograph, and with interactive controls, delivers an engaging learning experience.

Interactive 3D animation can be used for:

  • Environmental simulations where the learner is able to experience and interact with the environment they will be working in.
  • Product simulations where learners are taught how to perform a task with a product
  • Detailed product animations where the learner is able to manipulate the view as they wish.
  • The banking and IT sectors, along with many others, have adapted animation-based e-learning.

Animation tools allow the learning process to be more interactive and more engaging. Images, visuals and voice-overs can be used to create a multi-sensory interactive learning environment.

These tools make it easy to explain difficult subjects, while keeping the learner engaged and entertained.

The learning process is more effective when video, graphics and images are integrated into the course material. Learners generally relate to the content more easily when it is visually presented, which also increases their trust in the material.

Training should be highly visual if it is to build skills and improve learning and retention.

Most people (around 65%) learn and remember best through visual communication, while around 30% are auditory learners. That’s why it’s important to use high-quality visuals like motion graphics and 3D models in your training materials.

AR and VR technology

The future of online education is interactive 3D virtual reality. This allows you to interact with 3D objects in a virtual world, rather than just watching a bunch of videos. With interactive VR, learners are able to experience dangerous situations without any risk of harming themselves or others.

e-learning course, Developing An E-learning Course

Interactive 3D virtual reality allows medical students to perform surgical procedures over and over again, without endangering anyone’s life. It allows machinery operators to find out what happens when things go wrong, and helps them learn how to prevent accidents. Every commercial pilot has spent countless hours in a flight simulator before ever landing a plane full of live passengers.

VR can be used to let learners experience safety drills, first responder situations, product walk-throughs and virtual tours.

Trainers are always striving to make their learning environment as close as possible to the real thing. Imagine being able to fix a car while getting step-by-step visual and audio instructions from your phone.

The benefits of virtual reality are already apparent in all industries from architecture to zoology. The military uses VR to simulate battlefield conditions, to provide medical training and to create vehicle simulations.

Mixed Reality

Mixed reality is a blend between the physical world and the digital world. Microsoft’s Hololens ™ is a self-contained headset which allows remote collaboration, 3D guidance and training in the work environment and interactive walk-throughs.

e-learning course, Developing An E-learning Course

Photo Credit: Hoshinim [CC BY-SA 4.0 ()], via Wikimedia Commons

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