For years, many people thought that creating an elearning course was just the matter of taking an old PowerPoint presentation and publishing it in a fancy player. Over time though, elearning began to evolve into something far more effective (although we still haven’t shaken the PowerPoint past completely).
Truth is, different contexts drive different requirements for elearning. Some situations may just need a basic course, while others need nothing less than an advanced, interactive module presenting the content in a variety of ways.
While elearning varies across a large spectrum, in general your elearning course is likely to fall into one of the following three types:
1. Text Driven
In this level, the content is simple and includes text, graphics, some audio, and simple test questions. Compliance courses are a good example of text driven elearning that usually has one purpose or goal: present the learning and quickly test on the content.
The text driven course rarely has any interactive components, no gamification, and images used sparingly. PowerPoint files converted to elearning often fall into this category.
An interactive elearning course is very similar to a text driven one, with the exception that there has been more consideration placed on interactive components to enhance the learning. There is also a greater use of visuals in general (graphics, charts, diagrams), all of which are likely to have an interactive aspect.
Unlike the text driven course, interactive courses also take advantage of additional media types, include videos.
Simulation elearning is highly interactive and relies heavily upon graphics, video, audio and some level of gamification. Importantly, there are often custom simulations to aid in learning acquisition, which could very well include 3D components. New software training is an example of a course that often includes a high degree of interactivity and simulations. It isn’t uncommon for these simulations to also be accompanied with some sort of controlled “test” environment.
Elearning that is simulation heavy puts an emphasis on portraying concepts through various mediums, usually starting with text and graphics, with audio, and video examples. Afterwards, there is often a “try-it” mode where users can practice the new skills, potentially earning achievements or points along the way.