Visual from Irish Academy studio.
Society is seeing a plethora of changes ever since the beginning of 2020 when Covid changed many aspects of our lives. The need for online learning is more prominent now than ever before considering schools and universities were forced out of in-person learning and moved to remote learning. Although distance learning is nothing new, it has received more attention now due to Covid and schools trying to adapt to creating online learning supplements.
Head of the Irish Academy of Public Relations, Ellen Gunning, often has the great opportunity of speaking to people all over the world about their contribution to online learning. Not only does Ellen head the Irish Academy of Public Relations she is also CEO of our sister academy, the PR Training Academy. On top of all this, she is a member of the executive committee of EADL, European Association for Distance Learning where we sponsor a video series of interviews with online learning experts. Ellen had the opportunity to speak with Susan Johnson recently. Susan has been involved in publishing and the e-learning world for 20 years, and expanded her career with the creation of Mooka Media.
Much more goes into creating e-learning products/services than many think.
1. Identify the end-user.
Speaking to Susan, Ellen was able to get an insight into the mind of an e-learning developer, to help us understand all that goes into creating e-learning products. Companies such as Mooka Media have to speak with the client and see what experiences they are trying to create. With technology evolving companies such as Mooka Media have created a world of new learning products such as cartoons, videos, presentations; interactive learning supplements that keep the learners engaged.
The product also has to change to fit who they are designing for. As an example, you wouldn’t use the same product outline for creating university products as you would creating products for primary school. Susan gave an example, “If you bring out a dancing mouse (cartoon) to a 20-year-old it may not go down well”, when talking about creating learning products. A lot of thought has to go into the products that e-learning companies make. If they don’t consider who they are making the product for, the learner will be turned off and it won’t be successful. It is important for companies to engage with their learners and “build in the motivation” of why they are taking this course of study.
2. Look at how they will use your course.
Creating online learning courses also causes the creators to have to look at the big picture, how will this product be used? Susan speaks about how the products they create, once in the classroom, won’t always be used individually by a student on their own device. They may be used on large interactive whiteboards to be an engaging experience for the whole class which changes the way your product must be designed. “If the child is being brought up to the board, you have to think about what they can reach”, Susan explained. A product for primary aged students would have the interactive buttons for students at the bottom of the screen, where they would be able to reach them. The controlling buttons for teachers would be at the top of the screen.
3. Try to see your courses in use by your target audience
Companies like Mooka Media create products and because they are being sent away for online use, the companies can’t see first-hand the reaction the products have and if they go over well with the students. As Susan explained it, “it’s different to working in a university where you may get feedback from students, we are always kind of removed so we don’t get feedback”. Compared to being a teacher in the classroom seeing the reaction from learning lessons, companies like Mooka Media, and many other online learning product/service creators, don’t get the same experience unless they were to work with a client more than once and could ask for feedback. Without the feedback it’s hard for companies to refine their products and make the product better.
E-learning companies are becoming more and more innovative and creating modern products that are engaging learners and creating better learning experiences.