Our Senior eLearning Designer, Zoe Hall, talks about how she helps clients decide on the format of their learning.

How important is selecting the right format of eLearning for a project?

Each client and each project is unique. So, at GuyKat we start by looking at the client’s needs, target audience and existing materials. Our aim is to create bespoke learning that delivers their key messages in an engaging and effective way. A key choice we make early on is the format that the eLearning will be delivered in. I think a lot of competitors seem to assume that whatever the brief, the answer must be a traditional eLearning module. It often isn’t. Getting the right format is critical to success.

What are the different types of eLearning formats?

eLearning can be delivered in a variety of formats, on many different platforms. A single course should include a mix of formats to create a well-rounded experience, which could comprise of:

  • Traditional eLearning modules*
  • Responsive eLearning
  • Quizzes
  • Scenario training
  • Video (Live action, animated, VR and interactive)
  • PDF and ‘takeaway’ documents
  • Webinars
  • Social learning
  • Etc

What is the benefit of one format over another?

A traditional module isn’t better than an animated video, and a quizzing module isn’t any less effective than a scenario-based course. Which type of format to choose for eLearning depends on the content and desired outcomes.

If a client was looking to confirm a learner’s in-depth knowledge on a new accounting system, to ensure it was safe to give them access, then an interactive quiz would be an appropriate format. A bitesize animated video would best be suited to deliver one specific topic such as Video Call Etiquette in a bright, visual way. If an organisation was looking to embed a new culture into its way of working, a blended approach using a variety of formats would ensure the process is smooth, interactive and aligns all employees to the new way of working. It all really depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

How do you decide which is the best format for your content?

As part of the initial project scoping, asking a few key questions will ensure the content is matched to the right format. These can include:

  • What existing material is the client able to provide?
  • What key messages need to be delivered?
  • Who is the main audience?
  • What is the budget and what are the timelines?
  • How will the module be hosted?
  • What is the most effective way to present this content?

Once the scope has been outlined, the format that best suits the client’s needs can be proposed. Budget constraints can usually result in more modest ambition and outcome, but if clients are nervous about trying a different type of eLearning, providing demos or case studies from previous projects can help them push their eLearning to be more innovative and successful.

*By traditional eLearning module we mean the type of content most users are familiar with if they access materials on an LMS. These are typically written by developers using tools such as Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline and exported in SCORM format. They may be ‘click-and-read’, or may have various levels of interactivity, audio and animation. For this definition, we are referring to content that is primarily optimized for a tablet or desktop size screen.