A lot has changed over the 19 years I’ve been working on web & eLearning design, however, human nature and the core elements of learning remain unwavering.  With these constants in mind, I’ve noticed 8 key building blocks which are critical to successful eLearning design. I thought I’d share my collection but more importantly, I would love to hear your thoughts as well! What works (or doesn’t work) for you? Feel free to share your comments below!

8 Key building blocks of GREAT eLearning design

1 |
Start with the WIIFM (What’s in it for me statement)

Grab the learner’s attention by blending the objectives of the course into a statement that makes them WANT to pay attention. Tell them what they stand to gain (or lose by not paying attention to your module).

2 | Get Social

Don’t isolate the leaner: at the very least, include contact information for the subject matter expert, let them feel connected. If you can, engage your audience through social media, blogs, emails etc. Use whatever means you can to engage your audience on a deeper level.

3 | Pre-test

Pre-test are a great way to set the stage for learning. We can engage the learner & prime their brain for learning by helping them recall previous associations with the topic. Pre-test can also be used to establish a baseline of knowledge. You can even use this data to evaluate the effectiveness of your design.

4 | Bite size the information

Break the content down in to small digestible chunks. Present no more than one idea or concept per slide, and break concepts down to multiple slides as much as possible. Just think, 416-813-7656 is much easier to remember than 4168137656.

5 | Present the content more than once

Reinforce the learning by presenting content in at least 4 different ways. Use:

  • Raw data
  • Scenarios
  • Interactive case studies
  • Videos
  • Test your knowledge questions
  • Summaries

6 | Ask questions

Rather than making statements or listing bullets, engage the learner by asking questions. You can either present the answer on the next slide or allow the learner to guess and receive immediate feedback.

7 | Post test

Compare the baseline knowledge with what was learned. This reinforces what was learned and can be used in conjunction with a pre-test (and other data) to evaluate the effectiveness of your design.

8 | Continuous learning, spaced repetition

Reinforce the learning with activities beyond the initial training event. The forgetting curve (Hermann Ebbinghaus) states we forget about 75% of what we learn after just 6 days unless me make significant attempts to retain it. Send out a video or 2 minute eLearning refresher 2 days, 2 weeks, and/or 2 months after the initial learning event. Ensure learners have at least 2 touch points with the learning after the training event. Opportunities to practice or review the content will help maximize retention.

Good luck! What would you add to this list? Feel free to comment below.