We’ve been fortunate over the years to be involved in a number of large multi-module e-learning development and management projects. We’ve learnt from these that while single module e-learning courses can be challenging, developing and rolling out professional multi-module e-learning programmes covering a number of inter-related subjects is a different ballgame altogether.
“Multi-module” development and management is in fact what most meaningful training programmes require.
Training covering policies and procedures, product knowledge, management subjects, sales processes, educational subjects, and just about any serious subject, can very rarely be compacted into just one or two e-learning modules. In our experience, a programme like this can often include 10 modules or more all linked together to form a comprehensive curriculum, and usually spread over a number of months.
Things to Consider:
In addition to the usual e-learning considerations (audience, objectives, devices, platforms, etc.) multi-module e-learning programmes also require designers and learning managers to consider:
- How many modules there should be in the programme and how best to structure these;
- How long these should be;
- How these should be timed to fit in with other work priorities, so the students can devote enough time to study over the duration of the programme;
- Whether/how to intersperse online training with workshops or webinars to vary the pace and content;
- How to vary the content to maintain interest;
- Where to use assessments – during or after each module or only at the end?
- Whether to prevent learners from continuing before they have finished a previous module or to let them skip ahead at their own pace;
- How to link the modules together using reminders (e.g. “In the previous module we learnt….”);
- Whether to use consistent characters and features throughout for familiarity;
- Whether to encourage debate using forum facilities;
- How to manage this – whether to start everyone at the same time or not, and when to set deadlines;
- Whether to use mentors to provide student support, and what their roles will be;
- And, how to motivate learners who don’t keep up or drop by the wayside.
Putting it Together:
The total course must then be created in such a way that it is interesting enough to hold attention over a lengthy period, possibly a few months. There needs to be a consistency of design style, which includes the templates, graphics, fonts and grammar used throughout the programme. Clear instructions and aims for each module must help learners understand the objectives and how these tie into the whole programme.
Effective project management is vital to keep the development on track and to manage where problems arise with content provision or development. Constant communication between subject matter experts and developers is also essential.
We also put a lot of emphasis on flexibility when we design this kind of programme. It should be easy to add, remove, customise and reorder modules to suit different applications or even markets.
Managing Multi-Module e-Learning:
“Having an effective LMS coupled with Professional Learning Management can take a lot of the hassle out of running these programmes.”
The success of any multi-module program relies heavily on how it is managed. These complex programmes require far more interaction, communication and monitoring than a standard single lesson scenario. So, you need to give careful consideration to who is going to manage the programme as well as the platform on which it will run.
Having an effective Learning Management System (LMS) with excellent communication and learner management features is a good start. Coupling that with Professional Learning Management, that includes user and admin support, and management reporting can take a lot of the hassle out running these programmes.
In summary, there’s quite a lot to think about when planning, developing and running successful multi-module e-learning programmes, and sometimes some friendly advice can make all the difference. Please give us a call and we would be happy to share our experience and expertise with you when next you are embarking on a project like this.