Instructional DesignInterface Design

Lego method of building eLearning programs for manufacturers

Save eLearning design and development time by re-using interchangeable template pages

Almost all eLearning courses have core component pages that are used in every course. These include: course Intro, objectives, content, practice activities, assessments, summary, and exit instructions.

There are also commonly used and optional pages in your courses such as: scenarios, interactive activities test your knowledge, videos,, next steps, additional resources, glossary, and more.

START WITH A POWERPOINT TEMPLATE

Instructional designers can save time by using these components as interchangeable Lego pieces as they storyboard a course. An idea that I have seen used quite successfully is to start with a PowerPoint template. Each of the component and optional pages listed above will have their own page in this template along with a placeholder title.  Also included is a sample screen shot of each template page from an existing course, if possible.

Storyboarding in this manner is quite helpful as the designer will have a framework to begin with, is prompted for all the possible key pages of the course and will have starter boilerplate language that they can then edit from. These template pages will also help your developer, allowing them to possibly re-use and update current pages, rather than starting from scratch with each page.

ADD SCREEN SHOTS

If possible, screen shot examples from existing courses are especially helpful to the designer. They will help prompt them for the type of content that is needed for each page, show them how much space is available and even give them existing content to use as a starting point template.

The designer can then copy, paste, add, delete and shuffle the pages as they form the course.

Following are some examples of core content pages and how they can help the instructional designer and developer:

lego eLearning Building Method - Objectives
Objectives page – A standard re-usable format is helpful to the student, designer and programmer. Boilerplate content from a previous course can be re-used with simple modifications.
lego eLearning Building Method - Content Page
Content page – Several different styles of content pages should be included in the template. This will help the designer picture how much content to include on the page, which format to use and provide a good visual for the final layout of the page.
lego eLearning Building Method - Interactive Activity
Interactive Activity pages – Templates of existing interactive activity pages will help the designer with a format on how to present the activity along with examples of all the prompts, content and feedback that needs to be included.  Keep adding screen shots of the different types of activities you develop and you will have a handy library of re-usable items.
lego eLearning Building Method - Video
Video page – re-use this placeholder page and note the video filename to assist your programmer.
lego eLearning Building Method - Knowledge Assessment
Test your knowledge/formative assessment – These commonly used pages can be dropped in anywhere in the course where applicable.
lego eLearning Building Method - Summary
Summary page – Just swap out a picture and text and you’re good to go.

There are many types of pages that are used in an eLearning course. By compiling them into a re-usable template, you have a great time-saving head start on storyboarding and developing your next training course.

Ron Trilling
Author of Learning Lines | Founder and Partner, at Media Dynamics
Ron is a great source of information when it comes to eLearning. He has a background in instructional design and has worked with many companies to help develop their eLearning content and courses.
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