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Rapid e-learning: the efficient way to create e-learning courses (part 2)
Executive Education / 15 April 2020
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Project Management Product Manager
Barbara Rave (M.A.) is a product manager in Frankfurt School’s Professional & Executive Education department. She designs continuing education programmes covering Strategy & Change Management and Technology & Operations.

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In part 1 of this two-part blog, we defined exactly what rapid e-learning is and how long it takes to implement a rapid e-learning project. Now, to prepare you for tackling such a project, we address the “how”.

How do you implement a rapid e-learning project?

First of all, it is important to select a software tool capable of laying out the course content as a series of fine-grained elements in a clearly defined structure, so that authors and developers can easily move, replace or modify passages without having to rebuild the entire e-learning course. If you also opt for a tool that is capable of converting existing content into an e-learning format – ideally without advanced programming skills – you will have taken another big step forward. Ideally, your chosen tool should also give your content creators or technical authors as much autonomy as possible. So for example, if an expert has already created a presentation that includes much of the content, you should choose a software tool capable of converting his or her PowerPoint slides into an e-learning format and then adding various extra elements such as videos, quizzes and so on.

If your content creator is writing the course content from scratch, you should use an authoring tool that allows you to impose clearly defined parameters, as well as being user-friendly and easy to access – not least in anticipation of future content revisions or updates. We cannot stress enough how important it is to bring your specialist authors on board as early as possible. They know their subject best, almost certainly have reusable content, and can provide you with valuable input on which presentation formats are most suitable for their specialist topics.

Once the text-based “main” content has been written, the next step is to incorporate breaks for media and direct student interaction so that the course has multisensory appeal, generating a sense of achievement and keeping the student focused. You might, for example, include a short motivational video by a senior manager, spoken summaries, or quizzes and mini-test questions that allow each student to observe their progress. And it goes without saying that if you want to be able to integrate your rapid e-learning course smoothly and seamlessly into your organisation’s learning management system (LMS), your chosen tool should also be able to publish course content in SCORM or HTML5 format. These formats are compatible with all the most popular LMS solutions, enabling your organisation to track students’ progress and generate appropriate reports.

Once your e-learning course has been published, we come to the most important stage of all: gathering feedback from the first batch of students. Because you have used a clear, predefined course structure, as well as the authoring tools most suitable for the required course content and your content creators, you should be able to make any improvements quickly and without major complications.

Bottom line

Before choosing the software tool and development format for your rapid e-learning course, you should first review any content already available within the company and consider the various ways in which it could be reused. You should involve your expert content creators at the earliest possible stage. If, thanks to your user-friendly authoring tool and clearly defined templates, you can persuade your specialist authors to provide course content in formats suitable for immediate processing by the authoring tool, you may be able to skip a number of editorial steps. So plan properly and remember: Clear communication is everything!

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