An effectively designed courseware essentially takes into account the following factors – the characteristics and profile of the targeted learners, learning objective and its outcome, content design and organisation, content clarity and lastly integration of assessment and feedback. An excellent courseware also includes ample opportunities for reinforcement and practice of the acquired knowledge.
Developing an e-learning courseware takes time and once developed, it is not easy to incorporate amends or to redesign. Hence, it is important to do a need analysis and understand the learners’ profile before creating the courseware. To develop a concrete, contextually meaningful experience for the learners, continuous expert feedback during the development process can direct enhancement of knowledge into action. Courseware designers at Stylus Solutions Pvt Ltd, one of the courseware development companies in Mumbai, keep the following six points as a guideline while developing a courseware.
- Develop Content Based On Need Analysis
Courseware content that is developed based on the understanding of the need and the learner profile have greater effect on the learners than a content made on an ad hoc basis. A need analysis done on the demographic group recognises the gaps that could be existing in the learner’s knowledge base. It would also enable the developer to correctly use materials, graphics, animation, gamification, voice and audio inputs that would best suit the learner demographic profile. An effective courseware is the one that can engage the learner throughout the learning process and motivates and inspires the learners till its completion. This can be achieved when a courseware is developed based on analysis done on the need and learner profile of the training course.
- Specify Learning Objectives
A successful courseware design starts with specific, well-defined learning objectives. A learner needs to know why he/she is gaining the knowledge. A human mind is constantly seeking and is continuously processing anything that is presented as information. So, as the course content unfolds, the learner starts relating to it. However, without a clearly defined learning objective, the learner is often lost and can’t relate the learning to its application. A well-defined learning objective sets the tone for the learner to be prepared with what to expect and how much he/she needs to learn or unlearn and add to his previous learning. The course designer should start with breaking down the broad aims to specific objectives that can guide the learners towards a definitive direction in their learning graph.
- Develop Effective Content
A content is effective and apt when it is evaluated on the parameters of sufficiency, accuracy and relevance not forgetting the quality of the content too. The content that is relevant to the topic, is supported by evidence and examples and is not repeated will generate interests in the learners. The content that includes different learning styles that is relevant to the topic as well as to the learner demographic profile makes it more impactful. The content needs to be interactive to continually engage the learner and create a pathway towards his performance and progress. A content that includes a range of assignments, activities, and assessments allow learners to interact and practice with content in multiple ways on several cognitive levels.
- Organise a Clear and Concise Content
Clarity and organisation of the materials influence a learner’s ability to process information quickly and easily in online learning experience. Clarity of the content involves the manner in which information is presented. Content, activities, and assessment should be sequential, cumulative, and lucid. Information should be broken into parts or chunked apart that gradually develops from simple to complex, concrete to abstract and general to specific, in clear and concise manner.
Organisation of courseware includes ease of access and navigation, multi-level learner entry points, and well-designed interactive module for good e-learning experience. A well-organised course design not only supports both individual and group’s learning, but also promotes experiential learning.
- Incorporate Assessment Methods
Learner involvement or engagement can be evaluated when there is a mechanism to gauge learner’s comprehension of the content, performance and progress. It gives a measure of learning and knowledge acquired and the reaction of the learner. It is also a very good indicator to understand whether the learning objectives have been met. Assessment that uses multiple measures and methods to assess learning, enables reinforcement in learning too.
A well designed assessment module may incorporate quizzes, task based learning, real-life scenario-based tasks, games, etc to gain insight into the learner’s involvement and improvement through the course. The course administrator can also assess the progress of the learners and the duration each learner takes to complete the course. This gives an idea to the course designer about the efficacy of the content in terms of how impactful, interesting and engaging it is. Besides, it gives an insight into what more can be added or deleted to make the content apt, cohesive as well as learner centric.
- Include a Feedback
For a courseware to be consistent, relevant and up to date, a feedback mechanism is extremely necessary, which can be incorporated at the end of the courseware. To determine the effectiveness of the tools and methods used to deliver the courseware and to measure the efficacy of the assessment, a feed-back survey form should be added at the end of the courseware. The results of the survey can then be used to modify and improve the content and the tools used in courseware as well as eliminate those that are ineffective.
A good courseware taps into the diverse interest level of the learners by challenging and motivating them to learn. Courseware design that is interactive with well-structured activities and is flexible enough to be used on various platforms and software, generates greater interests in the learners and provides a better e-learning experience.