There’s a lot that goes into creating and successfully rolling out an eLearning. And if you’re an "eLearning Creator Who Does It All", this could mean that you’re not only the one designing and developing a training module but also the one who gets called to troubleshoot whenever a learner gets stuck. Navigating technical issues can be a headache, but thankfully there’s a lot you can do during development to reduce them. That’s why we compiled some helpful design tips as well as a troubleshooting checklist for when (let’s face it) issues do come up.
A Few Quick Tips for Developing an eLearning
There are a few things to keep in mind right from the get-go when you are creating an eLearning, that can help prevent learner issues from occurring once rolled out.
1. Make the User Interface Easy to Use and Intuitive
The best user interfaces are simple and intuitive. In this case, less is often more. Too many button choices can easily lead to confusion for your learners. Most help desk tickets are caused by the module behaving differently than the learner expected. For example, if a slide allows the learner to skip to the next slide before it’s marked as complete, it’s possible for the user to get to the end of the module without actually ‘completing’ every slide. Make your interface and slides clear with both your expectations and navigation techniques. Not sure if you’re hitting the mark in terms of clarity? Continue on to tip #2!
2. Create a Testing Plan
One of the most important – but often overlooked – steps in developing eLearning is testing. Before rolling a module out company-wide, it’s a good idea to test your module within the environment it’s launching from. You’ll want to ensure the following:
- You can make it through the entire module without any issues.
- It stores progress when you exit and re-enter the module.
- It properly marks as “complete” when you finish the module.
We recommend having at least one blind user test, by a person who is not as familiar with your training. If applicable to your project, organizing a pilot test of your module can be immensely rewarding. Both options can provide you with invaluable insight into how your module will perform with real users.
3. Understand Tracking and Slide Completion
It’s important to understand how tracking and completion is actually working in your module. Is a slide considered complete right when you start the slide? Is it not complete until the entire slide has been viewed? Is there a time limit for how long a slide must be viewed before it is complete? Set this standard right from the start, make it obvious for your learners, and use it globally so your modules track uniformly and predictably.
In addition, pay special attention to the specific criteria for completing the module. Does it track based off of a passing score during a final review? Does it track based on the number of slides viewed? Or is completion set manually? Knowing these answers can drastically impact the way your module works.
Lastly – and most importantly – when implementing these into a module, it’s important that the learner knows when something is actually marked complete. For example, when a user sees a “congratulations” slide, they often assume the module is complete and close the window. If there were slides required after that point, it can lead to a lot of confusion for everyone.
4. Use Templates Where You Can
Let’s be honest - there are going to be situations when you simply don’t have enough time to worry about designing an entire training project from scratch. Whether it’s copying an existing module from your own library, or starting with a pre-developed template from an online template library, using templates gives you a way to get started ASAP. As an added benefit, these templates will have already been tested, which should help reduce issues.
Oh, and p.s. – we can totally help support you in developing custom templates for your projects if you need it, contact us for more info!
5. Be Mindful of File Sizes
Stunning visuals can make a world of difference for developing engaging training. But as you include more imagery and videos, it will take the module longer to load. Try to use video meaningfully (i.e. when it’s really critical or in short bursts), and make sure to optimize the video for web when you do! Typical eLearning doesn’t require 4K videos, and the same concept applies for imagery as well.
Troubleshooting can be a tricky thing to do – especially when the only information you can glean from the help desk ticket is that “the module got stuck.” When troubleshooting, you’re essentially looking for patterns that don’t match: What is different between what you're currently experiencing and what you were expecting to happen?
Even with all the planning in the world, there is always a chance that issues will arise. That’s why we developed a downloadable Troubleshooting Checklist, so you are armed with questions that will help you identify the source of the issue and get it fixed up!When the issue was experienced…
- Did you receive an error message? What did it say?
- Do you have any screenshots of the issue?
- Did you try relaunching?
- If so, did the issue persist?
- Can you replicate the issue?
- Does the same issue happen in the same place consistently for multiple users?
- What environment was being used?
- Where is the training being taken? (i.e. store, corporate, mobile device, etc.)
- What browser is being used?
Still Having Issues? Don’t Stress!
There is always a solution to be found. Sometimes bouncing your findings off of another person, or having someone else run through the checklist independently to report back findings, can be an immense help. Our team would be happy to take a look at your findings and provide our analysis as well. Do you have any tips to share from your own experiences? We’d love to hear from you – so comment below!