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Undoubtedly the success of any product lies in its ability to solve problems for its users as well as in the value it adds to its prospects. To make an eLearning product successful it is the Instructional Designers that play the most pivotal role as the core users of the product and the influencers who navigates the product to the harbours of success with their essential feedback. The fate of the eLearning product is governed by an equation where the most important parameter is the Instructional designers affinity towards the product.
Well, bumping up this affinity is not an easy task though. The most successful eLearning products seems to have discovered this mantra and that is certainly evident through the user base reviews of the product. We discovered that around 74% of these reviews on top 5 eLearning products have been posted by Instructional Designers so we thought of evaluating the key parameters that Instructional Designers see in any eLearning product. Whereas different companies have different evaluation parameters based on their specific training needs, the audience is always diverse and so are learning strategies. Hence we thought of coming out with a generic list that would make instructional designers develop this affinity for your eLearning product. This list goes as follows.
The User Experience:
The eLearning industry often works on tight deadlines and so does the Instructional designers. Being at the centre of the development process, the Instructional Designers look for tools that promise ease of use through a smooth User Experience powered by rich features that goes beyond just a handy toolbar with shortcuts. The key is in ensuring that they get familiar with the interface within hours ensuring that the learning curve is really short.
Rich Templates and In-built Asset library:
Instructional designers’ workday in day out converting source content into meaningful storyboards. They will love it if their visualisation is well complimented with multiple layouts of text, image, audio, video, media asset combinations; easy to import or drag within the tool. Also, offering built-in graphics libraries of icons and characters is something that can wow instructional designers.
Delivery of eLearning courses on multiple devices and platform is a critical parameter for any learning strategy these days. From those blown-up Wide Screens running Enterprise Chromiums, to squeezed up real estates on the 4.8-inch Androids, the Instructional Designers do not want to have different styles for different devices. They prefer to storyboard in a way that can go well with multiple devices. Hence, the tools need to produce a smart and responsive output. A preview tool to emulate various device helps leaps and bounds.
No programming any time:
Instructional Designers are always in tune with content, and they know how to play with it for desired output, however scripting isn’t a part of their KRA. Programming is best left to the programmers. Instructional designers do not want to spend their time figuring out how to write prices of code to create the functionalities they desire. A tool that publishes output without them having to code is something that can quickly get their buy-in.
This is one of the most critical factors in the evaluation process of eLearning products. The right product needs to have the capabilities to publish output in multiple formats to suit the learning strategies. Output as HTML5 content, SWF (flash-based content), video are the most common formats preferred by instructional designers and the product needs to address them all.
Since LMS stands at the centre of eLearning it’s important for eLearning products to be compliant with all the latest standards like XAPI along with the old but widely used SCORM and AICC. Instructional Designer love the fact that their content can be compatible on any and every LMS using the rich features that the standard/LMS offers like bookmarking, progress-tracking and storage of scores.
Many-a-times, instructional designers are a part of global teams spread across geographies. Though Cloud-based solutions are on the rise, stand-alone desktop apps steal the show when it comes to performance and features. To facilitate simultaneous work between global teams, Cloud Sync data works best. Hence the eLearning products need to consider the ease of data exchange and should have a cloud-ready solution for their users.
Ask the Instructional Designer the importance of a small feature like “My assets” library. Content reuse capability plays a vital role in bringing affinity of your product up infant of the ID. It is always of strategic importance to go back to the existing content to reuse components. Then there are also occasions when the existing content needs to be refurbished and the ease of cloning the assets too plays an important role.
Analytics and reporting capabilities are typically part of a Learning Management System. However, as analytics has become ubiquitous, it can be considered as a part of the eLearning product itself, at least in as far as it can provide data points for instructional designers to improve their productivity and effectiveness.
Well, if you can have a 24×7 hours helpline that helps but what Instructional Designers love is a good and active community that can help them get their answers through fellow contributors and users of the product. Also, an easily usable FAQ section or quick demo videos of your product are helpful resources for instructional designers. They will love the support that allows them to use your products more effectively.
Are there any more points you would want to share to this list? Do share that using the comments section below.
About the Author:
The author of this blog post has been an architect of a very successful eLearning product company that has won numerous prestigious eLearning awards. After spending over 8 years in the product industry, he started off his own company called Equations Work. Equations Work is one of the most preferred outsourced product development partner for some of the best brands in the world. With clients in around 17 different countries, Equations Work works has delivered 100’s of products in the domain of Mobility, Wearables, Virtual Reality, ILT as well as Business Intelligence. For more information visit: www.eqw.io