Strategies for Organizing Your Training Content
As you may already know, Ben and I developed WP Courseware as a solution to many of our own challenges we faced when creating training courses in WordPress.
As training course creators, we spend a great deal of time working on the content of our units. The quality of content we deliver is obviously of major significance in effective training.
However, we tend to spend little time thinking through another critical aspect of effective elearning delivery…
The ordering and organization of content.
To deliver your training content in the most effective manner possible, it’s critical to design your courses in a way that will build upon each key concept or skill that a student learns.
In today’s email, we want to present several of the most popular approaches to elearning design to help you think through what might be the most effective approach for your course.
Simple to Complex
This is a very popular approach when some concepts within your course require prerequisite knowledge. Simple concepts are introduced first and are built upon as you lead up to more complex concepts. This can be a very effective approach when students are being introduced to entirely new fields of study or for practical areas, such as sales or personal finance training.
Cause and Effect
Another effective elearning design approach is to introduce causes and then effects. This may be appropriate for training courses in which troubleshooting is required, say for computer support. Students are introduced to problems and then learn the appropriate range of solutions to those problems.
Order of Importance
It’s no secret that course participants generally have more focus and enthusiasm for the course content at the beginning. Trainers can take advantage of this early attention by placing the most critical or important concepts and units at the beginning of a course.
This is arguably the most common design for elearning courses. Students may need to master certain key skills early on in a course or understand complex background information prior to moving forward. The hierarchical approach is used in many fields of study, but a good example would be sales training. In order to be an effective salesperson, it’s critical to first understand many concepts surrounding human behavior.
Sequential course ordering is a simple, but very powerful way of introducing technical skills. For example, a course in furniture building would obviously follow a series of logical steps, from designing a piece to choosing materials and selecting tools, etc.
My favorite example of categorical course design is Lynda.com. The site is a treasure trove of software training on many popular products on the market. Since courses are focused on products and no one course (for the most part) is more difficult than the others, there is no hierarchy. Course participants can simply pick and choose the courses they want to participate in without any prerequisites.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of elearning design methods, but will hopefully get you thinking about how your courses can most effectively be organized.
We’ve designed WP Courseware to allow easy drag and drop ordering of course modules and units, so you’re free to try different approaches and solicit feedback from your enrollees.