How We Approach eLearning Design
Our eLearning design approach incorporates research-based instructional design theories and models, learning theories, user experience design theory and graphic design principles. This is important because it determines the quality and development efficiency of the eLearning product.
This is a standard model across the instructional design industry and one we use often. With the ADDIE model, we develop the eLearning course through five sequential phases with specific tasks related to each phase. They include the following.
Analysis: We look at all the relevant background information for your course (e.g., who is your audience, what is the goal of the training, what are the limitations of the project, what is your budget, etc).
Design: We lay out the structure of the course, including which elements and activities we will incorporate.
Develop: We create the elements of the course (i.e., videos, eLearning slides, audio and graphics) and put them together in a tool like Articulate Storyline.
Implementation: We make the course ready for learners to access it. This could be on a learning management system or your website.
Evaluation: We gather feedback and use it to improve the course. This phase takes place through out the entire development process.
MERRILL’S FIRST PRINCIPLES OF INSTRUCTION
This instructional model identifies six principles that must occur for learning to take place.
1. Learners are engaged in solving real-world problems.
2. Existing knowlege is activated as a foundation for new knowlege.
3. New knowledge is demonstrated to learner.
4. Learner applies new knowledge.
5. New knowledge is integrated into learners world.
GAGNE’S NINE EVENTS OF INSTRUCTION
This framework identifies nine conditions (events) that must be present for learning to take place. When applied correctly, adult learners are better able to recall and apply new knowledge. The conditions include the following.
1. Gain the learners’ attention (e.g., ask a question or survey an opinion).
2. Inform learners of the course objectives or goals (e.g., learning objectives, course overview and instructions for activities).
3. Recall previous knowledge and encourage learner to build on it (e.g., recall events from previous topics and relate it to current topic).
4. Present the new content (e.g., videos, reading and scenarios).
5. Provide support or guidance to learners regarding the new content (e.g., expectations, timelines, examples and instructions).
5. Allow students to perform, or practice, the new knowledge and skills (e.g., practice drills).
6. Provide feedback to learners regarding their performance (e.g., provide specific explanations of how learners can improve their performance).
10. Assess the learners’ performance (e.g., final quiz).
11. Provide resources or activitities that enhance retention and transfer of skills to the real world (e.g., provide projects that allow learners to relate course work to their job).
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a framework used to classify instructional goals (objectives). The framework consists of six, increasingly complex, categories: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. This framework helps us to objectively measure if learners are acquiring the appropriate knowledge.
This theory of cognition describes three types of memory structures that we use to learn: declarative, procedural and working. This theory acts as foundational knowledge for other learning theories (e.g., cognitive load theory).
Andragogy is a type of adult learning theory that suggests that training for adult learners should take into account that adults are self-directed and expect to take responsibility for decisions.
COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY
This theory indicates that learning occurs best when the conditions of human memory are taken into account. For example, a person’s short term memory can only hold a specific amount of information, so giving learners more than they can handle causes cognitive overload and inhibits learning.
This theory focuses on grouping items with similar characteristics together to enhance learning. The primary factors that determine grouping include: proximity, similariy, closure and simplicity.
STRUCTURAL LEARNING THEORY
This theory approaches learning by teaching the simpliest solution path first and then moves to more complex paths.
Design principles are the rules that define and regulate where and how we place each element on the page. These principles include contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity, visual hieracrchy, color, white space and typography. It is important because it allows us to draw the learner’s attention to important information.
Color theory is a collection of rules and guidelines we use to communicate with learners through appealing color schemes in the eLearning interface. It is important because it allows us to draw the learner’s attention to important information and to remove distractions.
Graphic elements are the visual elements that learners see on the page. They include the line, shape, color, texture, value and space related to those visuals.