When developing courses, I tend to take the Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) approach. There’s no point overcomplicating things that some may already find complicated.
Tip #1 – Put yourself in your learner’s shoes. While you might be the Subject Matter Expert (SME), try to present information in a meaningful way, avoiding industry jargon at all costs. When a course isn’t successful, often times the issue is in the structure and presentation of the course, not the ability of the learners.
Tip #2 – Engage the learners my providing concrete examples that may allow learners to activate their prior knowledge as a foundation for new learning opportunities.
Tip #3 – CHUNK CONTENT. The last thing a learner needs is to spend hours scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling through content.
Tip #5 – Be concise. I don’t think I can emphasize this point enough – maybe I could make a marquee banner? Learners likely spend a lot of their time scrolling through PDFs and reading textbooks or other course materials. Value your learner’s time by concisely structuring your content. Doing this will also allow you to easily chunk your content.
Tip #6 – Provide assessment opportunities coupled with meaningful feedback. Learners want to know they’re on the right track. If you allow them to apply their knowledge through assessment opportunities, you open up a door to provide them with meaningful feedback, which will likely contribute to higher academic achievement and learner satisfaction.
Tip # 7 – Add appropriate media. This is tricky because everyone has a different idea about what might be considered ‘appropriate media’. What I mean by this is engaging the learner with multimedia, when appropriate. For example, you’re teaching an individual about car doors and how they can open and close. For this example, a side-by-side static graphic of the car door open and then the car door closed would be sufficient. Creating an animation to illustrate this may enhance engagement, but is not necessary to meet the learning objective.
Tip #8 – Be smart about your use of audio. I’d like to think that most folks can use their heads here and make good judgement calls, but I’ve worked on projects where the client requested, and truly believed it was necessary, to have 1.5 minutes of audio narration for an animation lasting 45 seconds (cut to a classroom of sobbing learners). Use audio when it makes sense. You might explain a procedure in detail in the onscreen text, but in the audio you should paraphrase the procedural steps to line up with what’s happening in the onscreen media.