Training needs analysis
We have to realise that any conversion process is a „mini” project within this planning phase. Therefore we have to start asking questions about:
- Who will be our target audience?
- What kind of materials (subject matter) do we have technically and content wise?
- What kind of digital content organisation have we chosen and what are the consequences of it for the digital content delivery. (What is the role of our digital content in the course?)
Shortly we have to gather information to develop the learner profile, the content (subject matter) profile and the course profile.
Those questions are broadly discussed in the literature under the heading „Training needs analysis”. This work of analysis is commonly used in vocational and corporate training situations to complement the identification of skills gap, while in higher education the more typical type of analysis is the learner profiling.
Structure of the training
With the resulting data from our previous step we have to specify the structure of the training or course, and what should be the structure of the HTML material within this structure. This decision was party made when we selected the content organisation method (see Unit 1) but in the light of the selected breaking down or storyboarding or digital interactive media we have to step back and re-examine the overall structure of the course:
- Form of the course: on-line, blended, mixed or other;
- Modular structure of the course;
- Structure and role of the learning material to be digitalised;
- Upon the selected organisation method, the list of the internal parts of the content (modules, episodes, templates for different parts)
More on organisation see: Unit1
Screen and functional design
As our digital content will be one part of a bigger on-line system that the learners will reach, we have to decide what screen designs will we use at different levels, as well decide on the functional design of menus, and any other specific functions within the course.
Here we have to specify the graphical elements of our content. We can choose either from readily offered Themes of learning management systems, or we can custom design our own main screens, module, or unit level screens, headings, pedagogical and communicational tools graphical layout.
Upon finishing this part we have to highlight, that the latest developments on responsive themes, the design process is on one hand more simple, but on the other hand, it needs more caution. Responsive themes are built to show the same content in different size of screens and pointing devices, from smart phones, through tablets, till laptops and office workstations. Those themes use different screen designs to different type of device (including menu structure, pictures, etc.). However this convenience also means that the designer and author of the content may have reduced toolset to customize those themes.
- Traditional e-learning: http://theelearningcoach.com/media/graphics/considerations-for-screen-design/
- E-learning templates: https://elearningart.com/product-category/elearning/elearning-templates/
- Font design: https://www1.udel.edu/edtech/multimedia/screen-design.html
- Mobile screen design: https://uxplanet.org/mobile-ui-design-basic-types-of-screens-aa1857e31339
- Responsive screen design: https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/design-and-ui/responsive/
We also have to design how will we do the development: which phases will it include, what deadlines can be asigned. Based on the selected content organisation method, media selection and course model, and the variety of languages, we may draw up a complex video production plan, but we can also choose to create a simple publishing workflow.
As an example let us bring here a workflow that was planned in EduTeach project.
- Manuscript writing with template (Author)
- Technical check of the manuscript (Technical editor)
- Technical corrections: missing graphics, links, length adjustments, clarification between authors and editor (Author, Editor)
- Manuscript editing (Editor)
- Manuscript Proofreading (Proof-reader)
- Final manuscript (Editor)
- Final manuscript HTML editing and uploading to LMS (Technical editor)
- HTML module check in LMS (Author)
- Final draft (not piloted) module in LMS (Technical editor)
After collecting all the above mentioned sections we finally be able to finalise the product (course) Specification.
The typical parts of a specification are:
- Course title
- Course objectives
- Learning time
- Results of training needs analysis
- Structure (contend organisation)
- Screen and functional design (selected media)
- Workflow of development
Next: Development phase