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3 things you need to know before creating your first online course

The growth in e-learning authoring tools has been one of the most useful developments in L&D for the past couple of years – making life considerably easier for many learning professionals.

Kasper Spiro
tips for first online course

Often tapping into the organization’s best source of information – the employees themselves – authoring software allows anyone to create their own courses, assessments or quizzes, and then share them with their colleagues.

Choosing the tool that’s best for you

Authoring software comes in all shapes and sizes. There are hundreds of options available, depending on how often you intend to use it and the functionalities you require.

Choosing the right e-learning authoring tool can, therefore, be a little confusing, which is why we created a an article about the 7 types of authoring tools to help you decide which tool is right for you. In a separate blog, we’ve also listed a number of questions you should ask yourself before committing to a particular authoring tool for e-learning. We’ve also created even more specific tools for the FMCG industry and Telecoms sector.

Regardless of which software you end up choosing, here are three quick tips that will help you along the way when you start building your first online course.

Choose the right authoring tool

Our experts created the ultimate guide to help you select an authoring tool according to your organization’s needs.

Tip #1: Spend plenty of time on the planning phase

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with your authoring tool, here comes the fun part – creating your very first training.

Before you start the process, it’s important you remind yourself of the three fundamental building blocks of a great online training course – content needs to be informative, interactive and visual.

The first one may seem obvious. After all, the purpose of your course is to share information. But keeping the substance as simple as possible is often easier said than done, so remember that less is often more.

When it comes to interactivity, many authoring tools for e-learning now provide plenty of functionality for creating hands-on content. Whether you decide to add quizzes, assessments or simulations – what matters is that learners should be able to engage directly with your course material.

Making information as visual as possible will help to keep your employees engaged. You can do this by adding high-quality images, thoughtful colors and by taking care your font is clean and legible.

Make sure, also, that your content is compatible across the different devices your learners might be using.

Tip #2: Always create a prototype first

Start by creating a prototype – one which considers the three building blocks we talked about earlier. Make sure you include any specific requirements or suggestions from colleagues or employees at an early stage.

We know how easy it can be to fall into the perfectionism trap by trying to make your course look absolutely fantastic. Just bear in mind that perfection doesn’t exist and you probably won’t get it completely right the first time.

So, use your prototype to play around, get as much feedback as possible, and then make changes as necessary.

Tip #3: Check it is fit for purpose

Once you’re happy with the prototype – even if it isn’t quite perfect – you’re ready to seek further input. Don’t take feedback personally. Instead, look at your course as a constantly evolving product which simply gets better every time you respond to suggestions.

You’ll quickly learn to love the creative and collaborative process that comes with using e-learning tools – as well as the satisfaction that follows from sharing your knowledge with colleagues.

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About the author

Kasper Spiro is the Co-founder and Chief learning strategist of Easygenerator and a recognized thought leader in the world of e-learning. With over 30 years of experience, he is a frequently asked keynote speaker and well-renowned blogger within the e-learning community.