The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on Australia and the world. We could be headed for a country-wide quarantine to halt its spread, so to keep your students' education on track, where possible, you might consider replacing physical classes with eLearning modules, allowing your students to continue learning at home.
There’s tons of benefits to eLearning, but if you haven’t set it up before, there’s a lot of work to do. Here are some tips on how you can get started.
A comprehensive plan is essential for a successful eLearning project. In traditional training, most of the work goes into delivering the training sessions, but in eLearning, the effort is focused on designing and developing the online courses, to be used again and again.
Core aspects of a solid plan include:
This is a big one. You’ll need to find out which popular eLearning apps your SMS integrates with, whether it be Canvas, Moodle, or another LMS (Learning Management System). Once you have this info, you’ll be able to start comparing the available LMSs, in which you should scrutinise features, reviews, support, and cost, to make the right decision for your circumstances. To speed things up, you should also find out whether the LMS offers pre-made templates that can be used to quickly set up eLearning modules.
Once you’ve signed up to your preferred LMS, your SMS can help you connect it to their system, so that you’re ready to start creating eLearning courses for your students.
Not all classes can be moved online. eLearning lacks the hands-on practicality of real lessons, or for topics that require a lot of support. By going through your classes one-by-one and considering how well the content will translate to eLearning, you can figure out which classes to move online.
Once you know which classes are being moved online, you’ll know which trainers need to create the courses, and who to train for the new LMS.
Students might need certain aids to complete the course effectively—pen and paper, a calculator, etc.
Once your eLearning is live and ready to go, you’ll need to let students know about the changed process. Will you email them in bulk? How will you ensure that they attend the classes as usual? And which devices are they able to use? These are just a few things you’ll need to consider.
If there’s lots of courses to create, you might consider assigning a project manager to organise, direct, and oversee the process. Creating eLearning is no small task, and you’ll need some serious organisation.
Many LMSs offer remote training on how to use their system, which your trainers should attend (or watch a recorded version if they can’t). There’s also support documentation to draw on, or in some cases, courses on how to learn the LMS itself.
A new channel of communication for trainers to discuss LMS gripes might also help, using Slack or some other tool.
Your trainers will know that people learn differently, so it’s important to use a variety of learning styles in your eLearning content. This includes images, audio, and video, which must be all planned and designed while creating the courses. Using a variety of multimedia will also make your eLearning courses more engaging.
In some instances, you may be able to save time by purchasing pre-built courses for your LMS, which you can then edit as required. This might be a cheaper in the long run, depending on how long it’ll take your trainers to create their own.
If you decide to go down this path, it’s critical to check that the courses are compatible with your LMS before purchasing.
Don’t scrimp on this step, it’s critical. Getting your students on board with the new eLearning process is important for its success, and if their first experience is littered with bugs and glitches, it might be difficult to win their confidence going forward.
If your students aren’t completing the eLearning modules, or are failing them miserably, you might need to redesign them. You should get feedback from your students too, as they’ve a valuable source of information.
This article is far from comprehensive, but we hope it’s given you a good outline of what you’ll need to do to set up eLearning for your RTO. To learn more, we highly recommend reading some of these great eLearning resources:
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