5 Steps to Great Learning Design


ooking to create online training? Great! Online training, also known as digital learning or eLearning, is a fantastic way for businesses to automate their team training while improving outcomes and reducing the cost. It’s a win-win.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why we put together a quick guide to the 5 key steps to creating high quality training courses.

At HowToo, we swear by using our 5 step design methodology for creating incredible learning experiences. This human-centred approach has been tried-and-tested hundreds of times, producing award-winning training.

Discover the five steps to designing great learning experiences.

Step #1 - Discover the needs of your organisation and the learner

This first step is critical for ensuring your final product meets the needs of your business and learners. After all, if you don’t know your needs, how can you meet them?

Many businesses approach training with a rough idea of a problem they need to solve. Their problem might sound something like this:

  • “Our customer success team works hard, but we’re getting negative feedback about how they handle some issues.”
  • “There always seems to be a disconnect between our departments. Communication is regularly breaking down.”
  • “Safety incidents have always been a little too high to be satisfactory.”

These kinds of statements are helpful, but the root causes are unclear. Without further discovery, your training may target the wrong cause, and fail to solve the issue.

Some methods of discovery that can help you to better discover your businesses needs include:

  • Talk directly to the people involved in the issue, or who may be witnesses to the issue. Interview them directly, or use a survey if this is not possible.
  • Filling in a skills matrix can help to identify what skills your team has, and where any gaps may lie.
  • Audit existing training solutions, from formal sessions down to ad-hoc emails.

Assemble your findings into a set of concise business goals for your training.

It’s also important to discover the needs of your learners at this stage. Your learners are the people who will be doing the training, and are therefore the most important people in the whole process.

To discover the needs of your learners, spend some time developing several learner personas.

To design effective training, you must research the needs of your learners.

Step #2 - Define the experience of the learner

With all that you have discovered in the first stage about the needs of your business and learners, you can begin to define how you will approach the learning experience.

The first and most important step here is to write a set of learning outcomes that clearly define the intended results of the learning experience.

With your learning outcomes and learner personas firmly in mind, you can begin to build a blueprint for your project.

What kind of learning approaches will you use? What kinds of learning theories will inform the way you construct the experience? It is important to select approaches and theories that help you to create learning experiences that are engaging, memorable and lead to true behavioural change.

Throughout this process, put yourself in the learner’s shoes and think about how they will respond to different stimuli and scenarios presented to them.

The five steps to great learning design. Discover, define, design, develop, deliver.

Step #3 - Design a solution that works

The part you’ve been waiting for! It’s time to start pulling together the contents of your course.

Chances are, you have some existing training that you may be transferring or adapting into your new digital learning experience. It’s important to thoroughly analyse this material to ensure that it truly meets your learning outcomes and serves the needs of your learners. If it doesn’t, get rid of it! It will only weigh you down.

With your training material assembled, you can begin to storyboard the flow of your training course.

‍With a tool like HowToo, you can create a visual storyboard that maps the flow of the experience. With both linear and branching options, you can easily drag and drop each block of information into the right place. 

HowToo also includes a wide library of free learning templates that are designed by our learning scientists to effectively engage learners and offer them information that is guaranteed to be memorable.

Best of all, HowToo is quick and intuitive to use, so that even those with no learning design skills can create great online learning courses.

Continue to iterate and refine your design as your develop your training.

Step #4 - Develop, iterate and refine

Every great piece of content goes through a few drafts - your training courses should be no different!

As you develop course drafts, seek feedback from your stakeholders. This should include a focus group of learners that represent your target audience.

HowToo makes this step easy with its review link feature. This feature allows you to easily share your draft project with your stakeholders and learners in the form of a simple online link. Your reviewers can then explore the course in full, and leave their feedback directly on the course in the form of targeted comments on elements. These comments can then be viewed in the editor mode for assessment and application.

This process allows you to iterate further by refining and improving your course to make sure it is going to resonate with your specific audience. Testing is important both for the usability and technicality of your course, and to ensure the end product is right for your business and your learners. 

Step #5 - Deliver your training solution

‍Now it’s time to launch your creation to the world! By seeking feedback throughout the process, you know you have a learning experience that is going to be enjoyable, effective and engaging.

At this point, you will need to know how you want to deliver your online training. There are a wide range of options to suit businesses of every size. Common options include online links, SCORM packaging, xAPI and all-in-one platforms.

Well done! Creating a training course takes effort but can be a deeply enjoyable process to see your creation come to life and deliver real change to your business.

Free interactive learner persona template. Download now.

Dec 23, 2021
Learning Design

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