5 tips for creating better elearning templates

Posted on May 28, 2015


Elearning templates are the building blocks of online courses so getting them right is the foundation for creating great elearning.

By following a few simple guidelines, it’s possible to develop effective elearning templates that provide the best possible experience for learners while allowing designers the freedom to be creative.

As an Elearning Developer at an award-winning custom-made provider, I spend a lot of time perfecting our templates. They have to be well-structured so learners find them easy to use but also flexible enough to cope with creative content or a bespoke innovation.

Here are five of my top tips for developing high-quality elearning templates:

  • A template needs to be robust so content can be amended easily. Opt for shapes rather than images where possible so the template can be restyled with minimum fuss if you decide to rebrand. Avoid using text embedded inside an image or a web object in favour of ‘live’ text. This will make the template much more accessible and primed for updates.
  • To create a really effective template you need to be able to see it through the eyes of a learner and set aside your perspective and assumptions as a developer or subject-matter expert. Imagine a template being used for the first time and ask critical questions: Is the objective clear? Are the instructions understandable? Does the template effectively deliver a learning target?
  • Use clear and concise instruction text to guide the learner through with ease, regardless of the complexity of the template. Learners may get frustrated if they have to guess what to do next; it can break their concentration, damage the learning experience and ultimately put them off completing the course.
  • Make sure you have a rigorous quality assurance (QA) stage in place. If you have been working on a template for a while you may become ‘snow blind’ to bugs and breaks. Be prepared to call on other members of your team to check the template, as a fresh pair of eyes could spot things you have missed and identify opportunities for refining the template further.
  • Finally, test, test and test again! To ensure your template works perfectly you will need to be thorough. As well as testing it locally, make sure you put it through its paces on multiple platforms including desktop, tablet and smartphone. You may also need to test it in an LMS environment such as SCORM Cloud to make sure it is compliant and fully functional wherever it is accessed.

I work a lot in Articulate Storyline 2 but these tips are also pertinent for any popular authoring tools including Lectora Publisher, Adobe Captivate and the Adapt Framework.

Creating a really great elearning template is a rewarding part of my job because it can have such a direct impact on the experience for learners. It also has a wider benefit as high quality templates feed into the success of future elearning courses.

So make the most of your elearning templates because investing a little extra time in their development can go a really long way.

Author: Tom Stembridge, Elearning Developer, Sponge

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