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The digital learning designer’s programme

Designed for learning professionals, media specialists and subject experts, this programme provides you with the skills you need to create engaging and memorable digital learning content in all its forms, from simple slides, PDFs, podcasts and screencasts, through to videos, quizzes, tutorials and scenarios. You’ll learn to analyse learning requirements and audience characteristics, select the most appropriate forms of content, and then work individually or with specialists to design, develop and deploy your content.

The programme is aimed at a number of potential audiences:

  • Learning professionals looking to improve their skills in the design and development of all sorts of digital learning content.
  • Existing designers and developers looking to formalise their understanding of the key principles of effective learning content design and of the processes of design and development.
  • Existing designers and developers looking to broaden their skills to encompass a wider range of content types.
  • Subject matter experts who want to be able to create their own learning content or work effectively with others who will be doing this for them.
  • Learning professionals aiming to improve their understanding of the principles of effective learning content design and of the processes of design and development, so they can better manage these activities.

We do not expect you to have any particular design, technical or media expertise or experience. Participants will come from a wide range of backgrounds and will have different goals. Where possible, we will form groups to provide a balance of different skills.

In the UK, we also run this programme as an open public course, centred on a 5-day workshop, for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

How you will benefit

As a basis, the programme will provide participants with a thorough grounding in evidence-based learning principles, with a particular emphasis on what makes for compelling content.

The programme will provide participants with a wide range of capabilities, depending on your particular focus. The following list gives an indication of what is possible. Treat it as a menu.

  • Questioning a project sponsor to determine the learning requirements, the characteristics of the target population and the logistical constraints.
  • Given this information, determining whether digital learning content will add value, the form(s) that this content should take, and the skills, tools, time and budget required to design and develop the content.
  • Developing a clear, logical and concise proposal to the project sponsor outlining all of the above.
  • Establishing a design and development process that will deliver the content to the required standard within the budget and timeframe, ensuring adequate provision for inevitable changes in the light of new information, shifting business needs, developing ideas and learner feedback.
  • Working with subject expert(s) to determine the technical content that needs to be covered, but without surrendering the initiative in terms of the design and always with the needs of the learner in mind.
  • Given an approved proposal for digital learning content, and in consultation with other specialists where necessary, developing a design for the content that clearly describes the end product in terms of learning objectives, learning strategies, structure, use of media, technical format, scope/scale and other information needed by the project sponsor and other stakeholders to progress with the development of the content.
  • Writing clearly and concisely for the screen and for voiceover.
  • Creating or sourcing suitable imagery (photos, illustrations, diagrams) and perform whatever simple edits are required to suit the intended purpose.
  • Recording audio to a high quality and performing simple edits to this audio.
  • Describing the conditions necessary for successful shooting of video material.
  • Creating a screencast that clearly explains the use of a software application or website.
  • Effectively combining text, images and other media elements to create slide shows, web pages and PDFs that conform to established design principles.
  • Effectively integrating interactivity into multimedia materials in order to create tutorials and scenarios that conform to established design principles and deliver on their learning objectives.
  • Writing test items that validly and reliably test the achievement of specific learning objectives.

Compelling content

Underlying the programme is our own recipe for designing engaging content. We have identified six characteristics common to all great learning content:

  • First you need a compelling concept, an idea that catches the learner’s eye and invites them to take a look.
  • Then you need a compelling structure, one that hooks the learner in and leads them inevitably towards their goal.
  • You also need compelling media – stuff like images, video, audio and animation – used sparingly and in the right combinations.
  • On top of this you need compelling copy, words that people want to read and which help them understand.
  • You’ll benefit from compelling stories, because stories hold our attention and put ideas in a context to which we can relate.
  • And the icing on the cake is provided by compelling challenges, because there’s only one thing beats a good story and that’s being part of the story.

That’s six characteristics that you can apply to videos, articles, blog posts, screencasts, slide shows, podcasts, tutorials and interactive scenarios. Characteristics that will help you to cut through the noise, hold your learner’s attention and make a difference.

Find out more about the Six Characteristics on our Compelling Content course page.

The Skills Journey approach to in-company programmes

We design all of our programmes around a number of key principles:

  • No two programmes are exactly the same. You get what you need.
  • Every programme is blended to ensure an end-to-end experience, aimed at long-term behaviour change and impact back on the job.
  • We base our content and our approach on proven, evidence-based learning principles.
  • We provide lots of opportunities for participants to build confidence through practice with expert feedback.
  • We cross the boundaries of formal and informal learning, so the transfer of new ideas to the job becomes seamless.

How the programme is configured

The programme can work in a number of formats, depending on your particular requirements. We often include face-to-face elements but we’re also happy to provide online-only versions where this is more practical. Either way we will always provide a mix of live and self-paced elements.

Those programmes which centre on face-to-face delivery will tend to be shorter in terms of elapsed time. However, we do not recommend condensing the programme too much as this will not allow for adequate spaced practice.

The programme can also be customised to reflect the types of skills that you most need. So, if you design in-house but then work with outside developers, we might offer you a programme concentrating just on design. And if you’re only interested in one media format – say video or interactive scenarios, we can create programmes that focus entirely on this.

All participants receive a paperback copy of the book Digital Learning Content: A Designer’s Guide.

What next?

Contact us to discuss your needs and to obtain a quotation.