Content Creation for eLearning can be confusing, but eLearning tools can allow anyone – educators, trainers, and subject matter experts alike – to design attractive, effective, and engaging online courses. Technically speaking, any software that allows you to integrate text, video, audio, animations, and other multimedia into eLearning content can be considered an eLearning authoring tool. These pieces of content are then assembled within a Learning Management System (LMS), to create a complete online learning experience.
If you have followed the previous article (Course design for online delivery) you should have finalised your course content structure (Topics and Modules) and your course delivery schedule, which you can now use as your production schedule. If you haven’t completed your course design phase it is advised to look at that article and follow each step before starting with your content creation.
Anyway, there are amazing tools on the web. Some of you are eager to embrace as many of these tools as possible and many of you may be put off by the amount of technology involved. And may going to workshops, learning how to use them, and forgetting why you thought, that was a good idea in the first place. I know in the rush to use a wiki, blog, or social media site with your students, it’s easy to lose the site of the big picture. But what’s more important is to see the power of what one tool can do to make a difference in your work and learn how to use that tool well. Maybe it’s starting a blog and using that to support your course. Whatever the tool, choose to use one and using it well.
1- Setup your social media Network
Set up a Facebook page for your business/course (not your personal account, I mean a Page. Click here to read how setup a Facebook Page), Setup your LinkedIn page (Spend some time to put a complete profile), Setup a Twitter account. There are many more social networking sites which you can join, make sure they are relevant to your work. Start using these sites as a supporting tool for your current students. Building your social network while you are developing your course is an essential part of your business development plan.
2- Start work on your website
I advise you to develop and launch a basic website as soon as possible and start getting traffic to your site. The site must be focused on your course subject matter. Your site will act as both the supporting resources centre for your course(s) and as delivery platform for your course(s) once your course(s) is ready as well helping you to market your course. While you are developing your course, you should start your blog (publish articles, notes, guides, etc) and video clips. Make sure your blog has sharing buttons (social media) also you should get a special plugin for your website to publish your blogs automatically on your social media pages, that will save you time, so you do not need to visit each social media to share your content it can be directly from your site.
3- Start work on your course content
Your eLearning content will take one or more of the following formats. I have suggested (listed below) the most used software for each one of them.
- Text (MS Word, Adobe PDF file, but there are other free PDF maker too) Simple rule you can follow for the textual content of your course is as follow: for long pieces of text, tables, Info graphics convert the file to a PDF file, short text such as instructions, articles, assignments, etc… they can be displayed on a webpage such as blog or entered directly into the LMS system.
- Images (Photoshop) Try to follow a standard for your image sizes, for the web publishing is better to save your images in .jpeg or .png format to keep the file size down. Always check the copyright conditions if you are using other people images.
- Slide Presentations- MS PowerPoint allows you to record your talk on your slide show, this is a powerful and relatively fast way of preparing a lesson.
- Screen capture – most of screen capture software allow you to record your movements on the screen plus your voice over it. (One of my favourites is OBS studio, which is free)
- Audio/Podcast (Usually the software which comes with your recording device is advisable)
- Short Video clips (5 to 10 minutes) are extremely effective. You can make them using webcam, mobile phone, or camcorders. All these devices come with a basic editing software and if you keep your production simple, they will be sufficient but if you need better software Blender is good, free and there are many good tutorial videos for how to use it on YouTube.
So, this should get you started with your course content creation. I know, Technology is the first barrier. The need for learning new skills is inevitable, but the key is to build on your existing skills and avoid using too many new tools. Anyway, I am posting regular posts on digitPro covering the digital production and digital marketing so if you need more support, you can follow digitPro for more articles about these subjects. And remember Cavendish provides Moodle course design training too. Cavendish course focuses primarily on the practical issues and skills needed to develop an online or blended course using Moodle. Cavendish’s program includes a dedicated virtual room for you to develop your own course, which you can export it to any other Moodle site.