How to Create Online Learning Modules

by Susan Ayers

As training resources dwindle during tough economic times, many companies are learning about the advantages of online learning so their employees can receive quality training at a lower cost. Companies benefit by not having to pay for travel expenses, instructor facilitation, books and other training materials. Fortunately, online learning modules can be created by content developers and easily published to a Learning Management System or a web site.

Create an Online Learning Module

1

Create an online learning module using specific e-learning software for ease of use, functionality and quality output. Articulate, Raptivity and Adobe all offer quality software that can be used to create exciting, interactive learning modules. They also run in conjunction with PowerPoint. Training developers may use PowerPoint to create the initial course and then publish it with a presentation tool available with e-learning software.

2

Write the content for your course by creating an introduction or welcome to the course with a brief description of what the course will include. Then write the content specific to the course. Ideally, an online learning module should take the user about 15 minutes to complete. Write the content that the narrator will say during the presentation and write the text that will be displayed on the screen to reinforce the narration. Create any quizzes or activities that the students will need to take during the course.

3

Reinforcing what the learner sees on the screen is very effective if you use the right graphics. Try to avoid having an over-abundance of text on the screen with very little graphics or animation. If you are creating an online learning module about safety, choose graphics of safety equipment, such as hard hats, reflective vests or caution tape, to accompany the text on the screen. If possible, only use short phrases on the screen along with the graphics to emphasize the narration.

4

Record the narration after you've received the content approval from the subject matter experts or business owners. Record the narration in a program such as Nero and save it as an audio file to upload into the course. Or you may choose to record directly into the course if you are using software such as Articulate and have a quality microphone. Try to turn off ancillary noise such as overhead fans or air conditioners before you record. Edit any mistakes or background noise in a program such as Adobe Audition before launching the course.

5

Synchronize the audio to the animations on the screen. Make sure that the narrator is speaking at the same time the specific graphic appears. Change any timing issues that occur when the narration is not synchronized to the animation.

6

Publish the course to a Learning Management System (LMS) after it has been reviewed for accuracy by the subject matter experts or business owners. Depending on the parameters of the LMS, you may need to upload the course to your company's FTP site first or you may be able to upload it directly to the LMS.

Tip

  • check Interactive games or activities can be added to online learning modules. These simultaneously reinforce learning and hold the student's interest.

Items you will need

About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Susan Ayers is a senior learning associate for a financial organization. She previously developed web-based training for Circuit City and spent a number of years creating eLearning courses for a not-for-profit law enforcement organization. Ayers graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and holds a master's in education from St. Joseph's College.