Most articles you find relating to instructional design and elearning course creation centers around strategies for increasing the chances of successful courses.
You will find advice on objective setting, visual design best-practice, evaluation techniques, engagement strategies, and so on.
What you won’t come across too often is anything related to the other (not-so-fun) part of creating an online course: criticism.
No matter how much hard work you put into your elearning course at some point someone will eventually criticize it.
When these comments are merely suggestions then it’s not that bad. However, sometimes you’ll receive a scathing review of your course. If you’re selling your courses, the scathing review may be accompanied by a refund demand.
These are more challenging situations to deal with.
“How Dare You!?”
Our natural reaction to criticism is to become defensive, especially if you know that you spent countless hours building out your course. When you work on something for an extended amount of time then it’s easy to take critical comments personally.
When this happens then the first thing you should do is allow for an hour before giving any kind of response.
The point of this is to give yourself ample time to get through your knee-jerk defensive reaction. If you find that after an hour you’re still heated, then wait a little longer. The last thing you want to do is to immediately reply while you are fueled by emotion – only bad things will happen.
As you get past the initial anger, try to look beyond how the person is voicing their criticism and focus on why.
Maybe there is a misunderstanding that you can help clear up, or perhaps there really is something you can do to improve your course that you overlooked.
Sometimes though there isn’t anything you can do other than acknowledge that you received their feedback. Not all criticism are valid, but people like to be heard – so at least give them that.
Remember, it’s impossible to create something that makes every-single-person happy. We are opinionated creatures and at some point opinions will clash.
When you accept this reality you will find that you relieve yourself of the self-imposed burden of trying to be perfect. Keep creating your elearning courses and striving for excellence. Use feedback along the way to grow as an instructional designer and as a person.