Advanced eLearning Design, Part 3

(Preface: These are my notes from attending ASTD’s Advanced eLearning Design Certificate Course, taught by Julie Dirksen)

Choosing Tools

When choosing your tools, consider the power of the tool versus the ease of use and learning it. As a minimum, you need graphic control of the screen (e.g. ability to place hotspots where you want) and variables (e.g. to save data for delayed feedback. Consider also its compatibility versus your needs (e.g. SCORM). Take into account also how easy it is to review, collaboratively if necessary, and to update.

Development Time

(reference: Brandon Hall study)

Level 1, primarily  text, clip art, basic navigation, 100 – 266 hours

Level 2, text and/or audio presentation, basic interactions, animations, graphical effects like rollovers, 233 – 466 hours

Level 3, system emulation, custom or multiple learner paths, dramatic dialogue scripting, interactive scenarios, case studies or role-plays, 400 – 800 hours

If you don’t have that kind of time, start small and focus your efforts. Create a level 2 instead of level 3. Create a 10 minute course rather than an hour. Focus your efforts on training which is most strategically valuable to the organization.


There was a large section of the lesson centered on Gaming and Evaluation which I am not relating here, but will discuss at a later time. The overall takeaway from this course was that there is a lot going on around the learning experience. If you are just filling the ISD boxes, you aren’t building an effective learning experience. All the theory and research matters, and there is more being observed, discovered, learned, articulated, discussed and published every day. There really is a way to build effective eLearning – and it is based on a solid understanding and application of Learning Design.

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