Rapid eLearning Development

Rapid eLearning development: just what you need, just in time

Rapid eLearning development is quite simply a quick way to build online courses and materials.

In contrast to traditional eLearning development, rapid eLearning development reduces the time spent developing an online course. Essentially, this means courses can go live within a matter of days or weeks, rather than months. While the final outcome may not feature high-end elements such as gamification, interactive video or scenario-based learning, it should still follow a robust instructional design methodology and contain high quality content.

When is rapid eLearning development suitable?

Some projects naturally lend themselves better to rapid eLearning development. This can be the case when:

  • Projects need to go-live quickly. Rapid eLearning development is great for projects where there is a short timeframe for development. Business environments change quickly and learning and development teams need to be responsive. Rapid eLearning can help support L&D in this.
  • Budgets for projects are low. The reduced development time of a rapid eLearning course can greatly reduce overall cost of the project.
  • A project will have a short life span. Rapid eLearning development allows for building courses quickly that address a current need and due to the low cost they can be deployed and disposed of when not needed anymore.
  • A learning project has rapidly changing content. Rapid eLearning can facilitate quick and simple changes to the content, even once the course has been released.

So how rapid is ‘rapid’ eLearning development?

In some cases, a few hours or days is all that is required to get a project completed. For others, an eLearning course that is completed within three weeks would be considered a rapid eLearning development. The rate of course development is dependent on a number of factors, including:

  • The readiness of the raw content: Is the content ready, does it need to be written, how available are the subject matter experts?
  • The volume and complexity of the content: The more content required and the more complex it is, the longer the course will take to write and develop.
  • The eLearning authoring tool to be used: Some tools are much quicker to author in than others.
  • The availability of reviewers: Are the required resources available to review the course and sign off when their input is needed?
  • The team working on the project: A professional and efficient team will enable courses to be developed quickly without compromising on instructional quality.

Tips and tricks for reducing eLearning development time

The authoring tool chosen to develop the course will impact the development time and the approach you take. Some ways of keeping time to a minimum while still creatively designing learning experiences include:

  • Authoring in Articulate Rise 360. Articulate Rise has a defined set of building blocks to choose from. Content can include multimedia (audio, video and downloadable attachments); interactive elements (tabs, labelled graphics and flashcards); and assessment tools (sorting activities, fill in the blanks and multi-choice questions) as well as the standard text and images. Courses can be quickly built using the drag and drop interface, select the type of content block you need and simply populate it with your content.
  • Authoring in Articulate Storyline with slide templates. While a course in Rise 360 has a defined set of building blocks, Articulate Storyline offers a blank slide to start with. This allows for more flexible and fuller featured courses to be built but does make development time longer. At The Learning Rooms we’ve developed a set of eLearning development templates that reduces the development time of Articulate Storyline courses. Templates provide a consistent approach and visual and interactive design enabling rapid course development.
  • Using Vyond to create quick animated videos. Video and animation platform, Vyond, is a great tool for creating quick informative videos and how-to-guides. The online tool offers a range of different styles from whiteboard animations to 2D character animations and a quick and easy to use drag and drop interface.
  • Using royalty-free media rather than photo and video shoots. Creating bespoke videos and images is a great way to personalise a course but it can be time-consuming setting up photoshoots and editing photos and videos. To speed things up, there’s a multitude of high-quality royalty-free images, audio and video footage available for purchase online, ready to be used.
  • Writing content directly into the authoring tool. The role of the SME for traditional eLearning development is to provide content to the instructional designer to storyboard. Multimedia designers then use the storyboard to build the course in the authoring tool. For rapid eLearning development, the content writing and storyboarding stages can be combined with building. The content can be written directly into the authoring tool once the SME has been trained in eLearning development.
  • Being creative about developing your content. You don’t need to write every piece of content. Content can be gathered from research, from conversations with other experts or consider enabling staff to create their own eLearning content. Content curation is also a great way to build courses without having to write and build everything from scratch.

Digital learning can be a great tool for organisations when it is implemented correctly, and rapid eLearning development is a useful approach for projects that need to go-live quickly and scale; for projects with a low budget; or for projects that have a short life span or contain frequently changing content.

While any move to digital learning might seem like a difficult task, if you need to develop a course quickly or just need some advice you can contact us. We are happy to talk through your learning requirements and help out. Working with The Learning Rooms will allow you to focus on your business, and leave the educational design and development to the experts.