So you've been asked to create a snazzy, new eLearning lesson, but the raw material you receive from your subject matter expert (SME) is not ideal. Maybe you are given content that's just not ready to be used for eLearning. Perhaps your subject matter expert has provided content that's so technical that the intended audience won't be able to understand it. Maybe the audio you've been given is an exact match for the slides in the PowerPoint deck (something that's an absolute no-no).
In these situations, moving forward and creating eLearning may be exactly the wrong direction to go. To create meaningful, effective eLearning, you may need to go backward and start with some basic instructional design.
Every course that you create should start with this basic question: Who are you training to do what, under what circumstances, and how well?
When we ask a SME, who is an expert on the subject, but not a professional trainer nor a writer, to write training objectives, we are likely to get something like this:
Reading this tells me just one thing: It's going to be a long afternoon.
Here's an idea for getting the training objectives from the SME: have the SME write the quiz. Make sure the SME knows to include only the most important points from the lesson. Ask for something on the order of 10 questions for a 5- or 6-minute unit. (A quiz of no more than 10 questions is an ideal length for an eLearning lesson that plays for approximately 5 minutes.) Once you receive the quiz from the SME, review it with the SME to make sure it contains the most important points of the lesson, that you understand all the points, and that no major points were missed.
Then shamelessly design the training to teach to the quiz. Teaching to the quiz is considered bad form in the world of K12 education. But in the workplace, it may just be the best way to get the learners from point A to point Z.
As you now review that PowerPoint deck the SME provided, or chug through the 2-hour webinar, grab those slides and chunks of phrasing that address the quiz points. And put your eLearning together from there.
Ironically, instead of taking the SME's materials and moving forward, we are now actually starting at the very end--the quiz--and building from there.
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