We know that the pace of change is speeding up. That’s why we’re always developing new learning technologies to keep pace, and to equip learners with the skills they need to do the same. But what about the digital learning development process itself?
It makes sense that building innovative learning interventions at a faster rate means that we need similarly innovative development techniques. Project process optimisations like adopting the agile methodology can help, but we need to optimise down to the day-to-day level.
Digital learning development requires developers to challenge themselves to create learning experiences that are engaging to the modern consumer. The time pressure to do that is greater than ever.
This is especially true when you’re a developer working on many projects – with many deadlines – simultaneously. Taking shortcuts will do only damage your credibility and leave you with unhappy clients.
However, I’m going to share a few invaluable tips that can help develop effective and engaging digital learning within a deadline, regardless of subject or audience.
1) Create a development plan
Crating a development plan helps you clearly outline your goals. You’ll know what you need to accomplish, by when and using what tools.
Well-created development plans allow you to divide tasks into manageable chunks and allocate them to your development team. It also ensures that everyone is on track.
There are many steps involved in digital learning development. Designing the layout, choosing correct assets, development of learning interactions, the list goes on. All these steps are vital in the process and contain their own set of sub-tasks. So, break them down into small tasks and then prioritise.
2) Reuse existing code
During the development process, utilising existing code can save a significant amount of time, money and stress. At Saffron, our learning development is bespoke, so every project is developed from the ground up. Nevertheless, we still occasionally re-use code at the most basic level to speed up development time.
If you’re putting out a higher volume of less tailored learning, it can be helpful to create more detailed templates that you can re-use. For example, if you regularly create courses for the same client you can create screens that fit their branding guidelines, or to cater to different learning scenarios. This lets you spend more time on innovative development.
3) Focus on the learning outcomes
Too many digital learning developers follow the path of least resistance, settling on whatever works first to get the job done. In the long-term, though, finding out what works best is more efficient in terms of development time spent. Not to mention it leads to better learning outcomes.
Keeping the learning outcomes in mind maximises your chances of getting it right first time. Prioritise the important aspects of what you’re looking to develop. You don’t have to waste time on developing learning resources that are irrelevant or restart halfway through the project because you didn’t deliver what the client wanted.
The best approach is to communicate with your client and focus on their learning requirements. Come up with the development solution that meets them most effectively, not most quickly.
4) Create an effective storyboard
Once you have a clear idea of your objectives and learners, create a storyboard. This lets you create a coherent sequence of the content in your course. The whole development team can then follow a clear outline. It’s used to properly manage elements such as text, graphics, audio, navigation, assessments, resources, links and other features.
Just think, could a construction team build something without a clear architectural blueprint? You might have perfect content but if it’s not logically presented, the learner won’t understand it. You know what that means – the development team will need to start work on it again. And the developers themselves need to understand the correct order so that they can plan efficiently. A storyboard maps everything out.
5) Embrace new technology
The increasing pace of change means that there’s always a whole host of learning technologies for developers to get to grips with. Don’t stick with the tried and trusted just because it’s easier… you’ll get left behind. New technological challenges also mean new opportunities.
At Saffron, our developers have been relishing getting their hands on new technology such as Whilst developing for these new environments, and integrating innovative features in new learning platforms, takes work, the results can speak for themselves. As learning increasingly moves towards learning that reaches the learner when they need it, the tools we develop need to help facilitate that delivery.
The next big technological frontier in learning is AI, of course, and our developers are already thinking of ways to apply it to learning situations. Following the tips above will make sure AI can’t take over development jobs… just yet!
The end product
In short, don’t take shortcuts. Keep the bigger picture in mind during your digital learning development to deliver the best results in the most efficient way. There’s no magic remedy to accelerate your development time, but the 5 tips above will certainly help. Technology may be hitting it’s stride, but keep developing your development and you’ll be able to keep up!