LMS Tips: E-Learning Newsletter for November 2008: The implementation of a Learning Management System (LMS)

Keys to New Course Development

Implementing a Learning Management System (LMS) is an integral component of online training, and a key element of that implementation is course development, whether it is created, purchased, or a combination of both. 

Letís examine the key strategy of course development.

Who are the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) within your organization? It takes just a few minutes to identify colleagues, training specialists and others with expertise and materials pertaining to the course, even if created in diverse formats. Also, are there potential developers you can recruit for the course cultivation projects on an ad hoc basis?

What content already exists, and how can I incorporate it? Take inventory of existing materials and resources. Research possible sources for learning content (MS PowerPoint, Word files, video material, flash movies, web sites, HTML and text, etc.). In many cases, you may already have web-deliverable components and just need an authoring tool to create the logical arrangement of learning screens. In other cases, you may need to convert text from word processing format to HTML format. Classroom and CD-ROM-based learning tools often generate large files that are too slow to load over the internet. Conversion to streaming video format or Flash movies can prepare these multimedia materials for use in a network-based learning environment. 

Where do my learners go to find online content and support material? First, decide which materials are online content and which would make better support materials. Instructional material is needed to teach the concepts and knowledge you want to disseminate online. Information that covers special cases, alternative methods or additional examples can be organized as support documentation. You can use hyperlinks, document libraries or simple reference notes. One way to differentiate training material from reference material is to consider frequency, immediacy and criticalness.  

When do I need an introductory course to lead to more advanced courses? Most training experts agree that the cardinal rule of authoring is to make sure courses are not overwhelming in size. Even within the course, you want to make manageable sections and possibly even divide the course into multiple sections and classes. 

Why is it important to group courses? Job requirements, experience levels and the diversity of your learners will help you determine how to assemble training material and structure course offerings to effectively cover a specific subject, competency or certification.

How should I structure my online courses? The LMS should facilitate, not dictate, how your content is structured to produce your online courses. Needs and environments will change, and the avenues offered by the LMS to create and adjust training content require flexibility.

Once you examine your available resources and gather the components of your course development, we can help you plan and develop your online training projects.


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