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A Quick & Dirty Guide On How To Set Up eLearning For Your RTO

March 19, 2020

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 student’s 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.

Make a plan

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:

Decide which LMS to use

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 offer 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.

Decide which classes to move online

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.

Identify the trainers who will create the eLearning modules

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.

Think about what tools are needed to complete the courses

Students might need certain aids to complete the course effectively—pen and paper, a calculator, etc.

Consider how you’ll move your students to eLearning

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.

Consider assigning a project manager

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.

Train your trainers

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.

Cater to various learning styles

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.

Consider pre-built courses

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 make these mistakes when creating the courses

  • Remember that there’s no teacher for an eLearning course, so any potentially confusing terms need to be explained clearly. Consider your students existing knowledge.
  • Don’t try to teach your students everything at once. Break eLearning modules into manageable chunks. 
  • Stick to a clear path and narrative. Storyboarding can help with this.
  • Keep your content and short and concise as possible, to prevent your students becoming bored.
  • Don’t forget to create scripts that contain all text for the course, both spoken and written. They’ll help to outline the critical information you need to convey for the course, and will be constantly referred to during course creation.
  • Don’t be shy with adding interactivity, it can make your course much more fun and engaging, while encouraging active learning.

Test your courses thoroughly before publishing

Don’t scrimp on this step, it’s critical. Getting your students on side 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.

Once you’re live, keep an eye on the stats

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 info.

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This article is far from comprehensive, but we hope it’s given you a rough 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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