Media, Technical Communications

The Emergence of e-Learning

Online courses and e-learning modules are increasingly prevalent, so much so that people often expect to have the option to complete some of their courses or training online.  In a period of self-isolation, e-learning has become more relevant than ever.

Early on, online courses consisted of a series of texts and videos. While you could pause the video whenever you want, a video file is not as interactive as an in-person class. Since not everybody learns the same way, many students didn’t feel they were getting as much out it. Instructors behind those courses had to go back to the drawing board.

Learning theory & the VARK Model

Over the last decades, psychologists and educators have studied the learning styles of different people and came up with learning models. In 1992, Fleming and Mills introduced  VARK, the most influential of these models.

VARK identifies four learning styles:

Visual

  • Process information better with charts, and graphics
  • Prefer images and graphic over words
  • Need visuals to explain concept and ideas

Auditory

  • Learn spoken information better
  • Enjoy lectures and discussions
  • Process information through talking and conversation

Readers/Writer

  • Learn better by reading
  • Process information better by writing notes or lists
  • Study better by reading their notes over

Kinesthetic

  • Prefer to learn by touching and trying objects
  • Learn by practicing and experimenting
  • Need to move and be active

To find out about which learning styles suit you best, try this questionnaire. Keep in mind that most people have more than one learning style.

 

Example of a well-made training module!

Interactive training modules

Interactive oinline training modules, often made with Adobe Captivate, can appeal to a wider audience of learners. Well made modules take VARK components into account and incorporate:

  • A narration
  • Subtitles
  • Clear navigation
  • Quizzes
  • Interactive element

Creating good training modules takes time, planning and know-how. Fortunately, we have your back.

 

Creating a good elearning module

Storyboarding

Story-boarding is one of the most efficient ways to plan your module. You can think of it as a brainstorming and artistic exercise. It also allows you to divide your content into slides in an efficient way. Last but not least, it makes it easier to incorporate all your ideas.

 

Create slides

Think of Adobe Captivate as turbo-charged version of PowerPoint. It allows you to create a full-fleshed multimedia presentation. This is the time to incorporate all the ideas you put into your storyboard.

Here are the type of slides in Captivate:

  • Content slides
  • Quiz Slides
  • 360 degree slides
  • Software simulation slides

Don't forget to pay close attention to the timeline, which allows you to fine tune the amount of time each element is on screen.

 

Record the Narration

The narration is what ties all your slides together. In Captivate, you can record your narration directly or import it from an audio file.  You can also add closed captioning to increase accessibility.

Insert a Table of Contents and Publish Your Project

You can easily add a table of contents by selecting Project > Table of Content.  The table of contents also comes with navigation buttons.

After that, all you need to do is publish your project.

 

 

Learning from the Pros

There is an emerging market for professionals who can create good e-learning modules. David Wiechorek has made a career in creating training modules for businesses in Toronto. He also  teaches Instructional Design in Seneca's Technical Communication Program. Technology evolves and so does learning theory. Learning applications like Captivate can also be useful to aspiring profs if they want to teach an online course.

Great E-Learning Samples