The move to online and digital learning has been gaining momentum in the past few years, and with the recent global situation, has been kicked into overdrive. We all know there are benefits to digital learning when compared to traditional classroom learning. You may have already decided that an online course would work for your learners – whether they are students or employees in need of training, but the big question is how do you go about reformatting your existing content for delivery via a digital platform?
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as copy-paste and calling it done, but we’re going to give you a few pointers to get you headed in the right direction. These techniques are also used by our own content team when performing this service for our customers.
Step 1 – Identifying the Learning Experience
The first step in digitising your content is to identify the learning experience you want to create: is it a homework product to be used in tandem with classroom content? Is it a revision tool to prepare students for an exam? Or is it a fully-fledged blended curriculum with live sessions and self-guided learning? Answering this question gives your content a clear purpose and helps define how the material will be digitised to best meet the learning objectives and advance its capabilities beyond conventional print materials.
Step 2 – Curriculum Mapping
After you have identified the primary purpose of your learning material, the next step is curriculum mapping. Curriculum mapping is typically done by an editor together with a subject matter expert and is a list of everything you want the learner to know after completing the content. Once you have your curriculum mapped you can then break it down into topics and order them into a sequence – this is important, as you need to ensure your learners gain any prerequisite knowledge they may need for later sections before they reach them. This kind of topic-based ordered learning is used by academic institutions and training providers, as well as our content team when creating courses for customers.
Step 3 – Learning Design
The next step when creating a digital course is learning design. This part of the process is where the digital nature of the content becomes most evident, as you are able to offer more learning activities than would be possible in conventional print media. In addition to the standard text-based activities, your content could also include images, audio, and video presentations, links to online resources and other rich media, and questions (e.g. text submissions, multiple-choice, drag and drop, etc.) for your learners to answer throughout the course. The types of activities and learning objects you can create will depend on your learning management system or authoring tool, but many offer a wide variety and have the ability to embed content and activities from other sites and tools. The main thing is to think about what type of activity is best for the learning you wish to deliver.
Step 4 – Content Authoring
The final stage of the course design process is content authoring. This is about as close as it gets to the aforementioned copy-paste job. The good news is that you likely already have content written for your course (e.g. presentations, speaker notes, and assessments) if you already offer it to learners face-to-face; all you need to do is decide which pieces of content can be turned into the rich media options mentioned above, or indeed if it should remain in its existing form. These choices are influenced heavily by the purpose of the content and the form factor you’re using – mobile content typically relies less heavily on text for information delivery and focuses more on images and video, while web-based content has extra screen real estate and is not as prone to fatigue when consuming lots of text content.
Step 5 – Feedback and Iteration
After you’ve authored all your course content you can take advantage of another aspect of digitisation and easily preview your course. You can use this to start a double-loop learning approach (i.e. is what I’m doing meeting my learning objectives? And further, have I set the right learning objectives?) and iterate on your course after getting some feedback from your target audience. This will allow you to tweak and refine your content for activity types that work well, and try out different activity types for some content until you hit on the right combination.
We hope you’ve found this useful and now feel more prepared to start digitising your own learning materials. At Learnium, we’re always happy to chat about our experience and digitisation services, so feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, but we’re sure you knew that already 🙂
O’Sullivan, C. (2018, January 10). How To Digitise Your Educational Content Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.adaptemy.com/digitise-educational-content/
Liebman, N. (n.d.). Digitizing Training: 4 Steps to Digital Transformation Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.powtoon.com/blog/digitizing-training-4-steps-to-digital-transformation/
Cegos Team (2018, November 18). How to digitise your learning programmes Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.global-learning-development.com/2019/11/18/%E2%80%8Bhow-to-digitise-your-learning-programmes/