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The MIT-Center Guide to Transforming Any Type of Content into an e-Learning Course

Modern trends show that more and more institutions integrate e-Learning courses into their teaching process. And even though classical teaching model is extremely successful, digital learning has also proven its efficiency. However, creation of a digital course is not as easy as it might seem to be: thorough planning and preparation are required in order to transform teaching content into a comprehensible nice-looking and well-structured online course that meets its targets.

Therefore, below you will find a description of the e-Learning course creation workflow which will help you to transform your teaching material of any format and type into a successful digital course.

work process converting manual to digital eLearning content

Step 1:
Content Analysis.

First thing to do is answering two questions:

1. Why do I want to create this e-Learning course?

2. Who stands for my target audience?

Even if your course is perfectly designed, it won’t have any value if it doesn’t meet the requirements of your target audience. Therefore, this step is an inalienable part of the process.

Content analysis can be divided into several steps. First, it is necessary to determine the most relevant information which can be easily done with help of content inventory – a list of all the content you have. Thus, you will easily sort all the content elements and determine what should be deleted/ updated or reorganized, as well as distinguish essential data that should be included into the basic course from additional content that can be included later or eliminated. Afterwards, the content should be structured according to a set of categories and types (depending on domain and topic, they could be different; however, we can provide assistance in defining them).

There’s some more important work left to do before transforming the organized content into a digital course. We highly recommend not to skip such steps as reviewing, proofreading, updating, defining elements that need to be improved. Additionally, if your materials have recurrent elements, they also should be indicated or flagged, because digital format allows linking back to the element in previous sections instead of introducing the same content several times. 

Step 2: Determining Learning Objectives.

Once learning objectives are determined, it will be much easier to design the course – they will act as a guide and help to decide on which content should be included or excluded. Skipping this step is a great mistake; learning objectives are as important as content, structure and technologies.

There are some theories that can help to define the learning objectives. Mostly, they are based on the levels of cognitive learning which can be the start point in defining objectives.

Normally, to define an objective, you should know exactly the answer to the question:

What will the students know/ be able to do after taking the course?

Thus, what you are going to teach them, actually, stands for the learning objectives.

Step 3:
Choosing the Format.

Course format choice depends on such features as type of content, available tools and technologies, financial resources, target audience and so on. Thus, this criteria set determines which format will be the most successful instrument to reach the goals.

 e-Learning courses can be divided into 3 basic types:

Read and Click Module.

Usually, this kind of modules contains text, media and probably some simple quizzes. Since this type of course has no interactive elements, it can be easily and quickly created.

Interactive Learning Module.

There is a simple way to assure interaction – by using quiz questions. However, more complex forms are also possible, they only take more time and effort.

This type normally contains a wider variety of media than the previous one, including video. 

Simulation Module.

Such courses base on usage of various media (video, scenarios, games, etc). Thus, it assures the highest level of interaction with students.

Step 4:
Course Planning.

Planning is another inalienable part of any learning course creation, just as it is in case of classical form of teaching. While planning, you should always keep in mind the learning objectives you have set.

Planning allows to assure smooth transition from topic to topic, from activity to activity. A thoroughly-planned sequence of learning elements arouses the feeling of a natural flow where each step is absolutely logical and there are no gaps or jumping over the elements.

Planning also helps to control the portions of information delivered to the students; thus, you will avoid accidental appearance of a complex subject beforehand, as well as assure gradual movement from basics to advanced material without creating artificial difficulties and confusion for the students.

It is easier to start with an outline of the content to be covered. You can start with drafting a storyboard that will include all the information and materials that you plan to use (don’t forget to indicate where to get them from). Once you have prepared this “breakdown” of your course, you can think which tools, media or techniques can be used to make the content comprehensible for the students and to achieve your learning objectives.

Keep in mind that creation of a successful and efficient course requires thorough planning; whatever you do in your course should have a specific reason behind it.

Step 5: Creating the Digital Course.

The last step is dedicated to selection of a design method that allows exposing materials in a meaningful way.

There are various models suited to every fancy in e-Learning industry. Nevertheless, don’t forget that a model can both facilitate knowledge acquisition or counteract it. Again, everything depends on your needs and goals.

Our team will gladly provide you some tips on each of the above mentioned steps as well as consultancy on the topic of e-Learning courses creation.