Creating quality eLearning is much like making a movie. Everyone wants their release to be an instant hit, something that that is liked by all, and generates huge box office ticket sales (Or, in the case of eLearning, course completions.).
But what does it really take to create blockbuster elearning?
If you hire a great instructional designer, you have won half the battle. Add a creative resource to that team and they will bring the content to life. Seems like a simple formula, but the problem is, if you stopped with those two people, it would be much like attempting to make a movie using only a writer and a lead actor. You need to build a team with the specialized skills that will contribute to the success of the overall project – in this case, creating quality eLearning content. Who is going to compose the soundtrack, do the stunts, play the other roles, and do the makeup? You can see where this could be problematic and how the final product will suffer.
What follows are a few ways where parallels can be drawn between making a blockbuster movie and creating quality eLearning.
Story / Script / Screenplay writers
In the eLearning world, they are called Instructional Designers. These people ideate the learning methodology, structure of the course, the voiceover script, and the interactive details. The deliverable is a one-dimensional storyboard (script) that acts as the foundation for the course.
We call them Visualizers or Art Directors. They take the one-dimensional storyboard (or script) and bring it to life. This person establishes the visual style, composition, colors, background music selection usually happens at this stage. When the Art Director is finished their job, they deliver a visual storyboard that brings the script to life.
These are the Designers in the eLearning space. Just like how acting covers a range of emotions and genres (Like comedy, action, romance, etc), Designers cover a broad range of skills (Skills like UI design, character animation, motion graphics, 3D, 2D, illustrations, print.). Just having one or two designers and expecting them to do everything may not work well in your project’s favor. It’s best to know what skills your projects require and hire the designer who specializes in that area. It’s like how you may find some actors who master more than one genre, but you would rarely find an all-rounder like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson!
Action director/stunt professionals
Depending on how much “action” or “interaction” your script demands, you would need the support of an Interactive Developer. Interactivities can range from simple clicks to branching interaction or 3D simulations. These are highly specialized skills and, much like throwing yourself out of a moving car, should not be attempted by amateurs!
These are organizations like yours, the Learning and Development managers, the departments, looking to capture hearts (And in the case of eLearning, the minds of learners.) to tell a story in the most compelling and engaging way ever told. Perhaps you have a new business or technical process that requires the rapid upskilling or reskilling of your employees? Maybe you need new onboarding training that reflects your organization’s culture and unique brand to make a big impact on new employees. Having the right supporting team (or cast) in place can make that happen and translate into blockbuster ticket sales!
All the best for your next blockbuster eLearning release. See you at the movies!
Avinash Patil is a senior creative professional with formal training in animation film making. With over 15 years of experience, he has held various roles in pre-production and production – working on animated series and movie projects before venturing into eLearning.