Last month, the UMBC’s ISD Graduate Program welcomed Tom Kuhlmann to campus to host an ISD Now Workshop on “How to Build Engaging and Interactive eLearning Courses.” Kuhlmann, VP of Articulate’s Community and blogger at Rapid eLearning, joined the ISD Now Community for a day of discussion about the opportunities and challenges associated with eLearning.
One of eLearning’s prevalent opportunities highlighted during the workshop is its growth that is creating a need for professionals who design, develop and deliver eLearning. As event organizer Dr. Greg Williams, Director of the ISD program at UMBC adds, “Additionally, there are many relatively easy to use tools, such as Articulate and Captivate, which are available to create e-learning modules, classes and tutorials. Users don’t need to have an in-depth technical knowledge to get started.”
Tom addressed the reality that all opportunities come with challenges. Among them are organizations’ expectations for a limited training department to do the impossible with small budget, or no budget at all. Creating quality learning ideally requires a team of people that may include an instructional designer, a developer, a graphic designer, and a project manager. As a result of organizations’ lack in staff, people attempt to fill multiple roles even though they may not have the background or skills to do so.
The Workshop emphasized that good eLearning design and development doesn’t happen by accident. Instructional designers must be very intentional about designing their courses. (Tom also addressed this in a recent blog post). They should be realistic about what they want the learners to know, and more importantly, what they want the learners to do after they finish the course. In addition to these “big picture” items, Tom reiterated that the small things, such as a consistent look and feel of the course, are very important as well.
We were happy to have Tom on campus in June, and 96 percent of Workshop participants found event information to be useful.