Online learning and the sharing of knowledge and support through E-Learning is now almost unimaginable. However, setting up a course requires a lot from the person who is going to do this. In this article we will discuss how to set up such an online course, which tools to use and what to look out for.
Course content, your content
It starts, of course, with your content. The first thing you do is gather information for your course. First determine your end goal, that is, what do you want your students to learn. Then think about what information is needed to get to that end result. The next step is to break down your content into bite-sized chunks and divide those chunks into activities. Think carefully about the activities because you want to make your course as engaging and interactive as possible. In a future article, we will go into more detail about different activities. In any case, what you want is for each lesson to be short. Preferably max 5 minutes so the student can follow a lesson at any time.
Branding your e-learning course
The next step is to think about your branding. What does your course look like? You want it to match your corporate identity and branding. But depending on the purpose of your course, you will put different emphases in your layout. A course aimed at preventing something, e.g. a course from a casino aimed at preventing gambling addiction you don't want to design too lavishly, while you do want it to show that the course is from the casino. Make a style guide for this. Then you'll have a handy guide for when you're doing the formatting or have something in your hands to instruct someone else.
SCORM and xAPI
There are a number of good course markup tools on the market. If you are going to use these, make sure that the LMS, the Learning Management System, where you end up hosting the course and on which you are going to give your students access to the course supports SCORM or xAPI. These are file formats suitable for elearning. A good authoring tool can export the file to SCORM or to xApi. A good LMS can import that file into a course, taking all the formatting including images, animations, videos, 1 on 1.
Good formatting tools or authoring tools as they are called
A markup tool for elearning is called an authoring tool. If you are searching the Web for a tool, you may also want to search on the English term Authoring Tool. Good tools are Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline and Gomo. However, there are also a growing number of good LMS platforms that have an in-built Authoring tool. TheLearning LAB is one such solution. In the platform, you can create a course and directly use the editor to easily format a course via the slidebuilder. There are obviously more Learning Management Systems like TheLearning LAB that can do this, but what TheLearning LAB has ahead of other tools is that you can perfectly combine the slide builder with external authoring tools and import SCORM files into a lesson. That way you get the best of both worlds.
Offering the e-learning course in multiple languages
An important consideration when using external authoring tools is the provision of courses in multiple languages. The so-called multilingual feature. Generally, in a good authoring tool, you can export the content to an XLIFF file. That's a text file that a good translation agency can read in, translate and send back so you can format the course in another language and import the text. Most elearning platforms require you to set up a separate course for each language and then upload your content for each language. So if you use an authoring tool like Captivate then you first export your course to Scorm there. Then you import it back into the LMS. This way you can easily format and offer your course in multiple languages.
But it can be even easier if you have an advanced LMS like TheLearning LAB. TheLearning LAB has an integration with Deepl, the advanced machine translator. Now you will say, yes but that translation is never 100% accurate. True, but it does make your life a lot easier. If you use Deepl in combination with the internal authoring tool your course content is automatically translated into the language you want to publish in. Then you can open the course in the internal authoring tool in the translated version and adjust your text so that it is 100% accurate. In other words: first make your course perfect with the internal authoring tool, click translate, open the other language, check and adjust, done... Bit exaggerated of course, but it's doable. Right?
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