What are some ways to cut corners, save time, and be more efficient at developeing eLearning?

TETRRF-00029505-001Be sure that you check out Google’s UX designer, Michael Margolis, tips on productive design (see Google Ventures On 8 Shortcuts For Better, Faster Design Research). Do these apply to eLearning or instructional design? Of course they do 🙂

Start at the end: What questions do you want to answer?
Before you do any work on a research study, clarify what you want to get out of it. For example, would it be most useful to figure out:

  • Can new customers understand and figure out how to use the product?
  • What are customers’ existing workflow and pain points?
  • What are pros/cons of competitive products?
  • What are customers’ attitudes?
  • How satisfied are existing customers with the product?
  • How does new customers’ usage change over time?
  • Which design performs better?

When you know which answers you’re after, it’s quicker to choose the most efficient way to find them–by picking an appropriate research method (survey, A/B test, literature review, usability interviews, site visits, etc.), and the right segment of customers to study.

Get feedback from customers early and often
Even if your product’s trajectory is off by a little, you could miss your target by a lot. It’s always easier to correct course earlier before you’ve strayed too far.

Check whether someone else has already done your research for you
Whether you’re curious about how teens use mobile video, or trying to decide whether to rely on keyboard shortcuts, use these tips for lean market research to dig up the results from someone else’s hard work and expertise.

Make re-usable templates
To reduce time it takes to recruit research participants, use templates for recruiting questionnaires and various confirmation emails.

Create (and use!) good checklists
See this summary of The Checklist Manifesto or watch this five-minute video summary of Gawande’s book. Effective checklists have specific tasks with time estimates.

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About DaveHallmon

With experience in web, graphic, and instructional design, Dave maintains a balance between what is efficient and effective in every message. He always focuses on the why and how rather than "just doing it" to get the job done. By day he works at a leading university designing online courses that support 9,000 students in 64 countries. He works directly with faculty to brainstorm, design, and develop their online instruction utilizing the Adobe suite. He also teaches for the university as an adjunct faculty member in the area of web design. By night he is a devoted husband, father, freelancer, and adventurer of the outdoors. His other interests include LifeHacker, Science Fiction and Hayao Miyazaki movies, Settlers of Catan, and coffee with friends. He currently lives in St. Louis and has an M.S. in Instructional Design and aspires to pursue a professional degree in content marketing and strategy. Visit the links below for more information about his interests and design work.
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4 Responses to What are some ways to cut corners, save time, and be more efficient at developeing eLearning?

  1. akanksha says:

    Its indeed a myth that technology-aided learning incurs heavy costs – there is a lot that can be done on shoe-string budgets as well. Here is out take on it – http://www.gc-solutions.net/blog/e-learning-budgets-doing-more-with-less/

  2. Pingback: What are some ways to cut corners, save time, a...

  3. Lorraine says:

    Hi Dave, interesting starting questions they seem to have many parallels for customer journey mapping. Here’s a site I’ve used customer journey templates from for elearning purpose that might be of interest to you 🙂 http://www.servicedesigntools.org/tools/8

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