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The ultimate LMS content creation checklist

2024-05-15

The ultimate LMS content checklist. A graphic of a checklist with the first two boxes ticked.

Creating eLearning content takes insight, time, and energy. You may be new to the role of content creation, or you may be the go-to guru for all things eLearning. But, how do you really know if your eLearning content will hit the mark and drive results before you publish it? To help, we’ve created a comprehensive LMS content creation checklist. How many can you tick off?

13 tips for creating engaging LMS content

1. Use instructional design models

Instructional design models ensure your content has been considered end-to-end. Try using the ADDIE model to work your way through the course design. By approaching your instructional design with a range of perspectives, you’ll have a future-proof process to return to. It’s also important to review your eLearning content at least once every one to two years to maintain relevance.

2. Work with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

Subject Matter Experts have a wealth of knowledge in their heads but it may not be captured on paper anywhere. Make the time to ask questions and gain deeper insight into the relevant material. To learn more about working with SMEs, check out our blog post.

3. Create clear learning objectives

Learning objectives outline the scope of learning and help learners manage their expectations. Therefore, they must be easy to read and understand. By creating clear and measurable learning objectives you can:

  • spot the gaps in existing content
  • establish what content is required.

To deliver clear learning objectives, you need to identify:

  1. what your learners currently know
  2. what you want them to know by the end of the course.

One way to approach learning objectives is by specifying a problem you want the course to solve or to prevent entirely. Additionally, consider a timeline and an action describing the desired learning outcome, then review if they are measurable and achievable. For instance, your learners may need to be up-to-date with health and safety requirements. By the end of the course, they'll be able to understand and identify potential hazards.

Furthermore, assess how your learners can measure their progress against the learning objectives. For instance, they could use journal entries or blog posts as evidence to support their progress.

4. Choose LMS content types specific to your audience

Each learner-audience will be motivated by different things and have a different preference for how they digest learning, so offer a variety of content. By presenting your LMS content in a range of formats you’re catering to a diverse educational experience and providing the option for your learners to choose how to learn. For example, a video, podcast and text option. Microlearning is also a great way to generate highly focused content in bite-sized chunks.

5. Deliver inclusive content

How do you create eLearning content that is inclusive and representative of your learners? Begin by being aware of your own personal or subconscious biases. Then, consider the perspectives you’re presenting and if you can include additional viewpoints. You can learn more about inclusive content in our blog post.

6. Build in opportunities to practice skills or apply knowledge

When designing your course content, consider how your learner can confirm their understanding and stay engaged. You can test this with:

  • Regular quizzes. Quizzes are interactive and can quickly flag to a learner when they don't quite understand something. When a question is incorrectly answered and provides feedback on why, the learner can learn from that mistake or review previous content.
  • Branching scenarios are similar to 'choose your own adventure' and bring learning into real life. They provide opportunities to practice new knowledge and skills in an environment where learners can fail safely. Branching scenarios create routes through the content influenced by the learners' choices and actions, and sometimes they have consequences. For instance, you could use branching scenarios for customer escalations to test managing conflict.
  • Presentations on the subject matter. By encouraging your learners to do presentations, they can reflect on the areas they need to brush up on and where they are already confident.

7. Break your SCORM into smaller pieces

If you’re using SCORM, try breaking your content into smaller groups of three to seven minutes so it’s easier to update or change things in the future. Plus, using microlearning or microlearning concepts is a way to focus content. For example, by ensuring there’s only one learning objective per section.

8. Establish a quality review process

Establishing a quality review process ensures the scope of your LMS content is covered, so nothing falls through the cracks. If you have a range of people who upload content, it's a great way to ensure you're all following the same steps. When establishing a review process, consider what areas need examining and how often. For example, checking if:

  • your images have alt text
  • there are any spelling or grammar mistakes
  • the videos still load
  • your content is up to date
  • your content works and completes as expected.

Group tasks into sections and create a timeline for the review cycle. For instance, you may check spelling and grammar when you first draft your course, just before you publish it, and once the course is over. Or perhaps every time you add a new image, you check all visual content to ensure there's alt text. Plus, the more you work with your content, the better your image descriptions will get.

9. Use analytics to measure the effectiveness of your eLearning content

Leverage your LMS analytics to provide insight into your learners individually, as a group and at a course level. LMSs, like Tōtara, have dashboards where you can run regular reports. You can use analytics to track behavioural trends, such as when learners log out of a course. If there's a section where learners drop off, consider why. For instance, if the content is too long, could it be broken down into smaller parts? Perhaps a video isn't loading, or a question could be phrased more clearly.

Data-driven analytics helps you identify where learners are struggling and thriving. For example, if there are a few questions in a quiz that everyone gets right, review the content those questions are related to. Then compare that content with the content whose related questions have a lower success rate and see what insights you can gain.

10. Design assignments before course content

If you struggle to trim excess content from your course, try designing assignments before the course content. Since assignments can measure understanding, they can influence your planning of what content to include for your learners to get there. Working in this way can ensure the content:

  • ties back into what the assignments test
  • has a clear focus
  • covers all elements of the assignments.

11. Maintain accessibility standards

Ideally, your LMS content should have a responsive design so learners can access their work with any device. A responsive design ensures the same learning experience regardless of device and is in line with web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG). For instance, sometimes content isn’t built for mobile use and the content gets squished to fit onto a smaller screen.

Familiarise yourself with the WCAG guidelines to deliver accessible material and check the accessibility of your written content.

12. Provide additional resources

If you have resources or areas that would be interesting but don't tie into your learning objectives, include them at the end of the course as optional content. This way, the additional resources are accessible without clouding the learning objectives.

13. Partner with an LMS content provider

If you’re struggling to tick off the items on our checklist or get the results you’re looking for, consider partnering with trusted LMS content providers. An LMS content provider will tick everything on this checklist and more. Plus, they’ll create relevant and impactful content for your learners. Our eLearning content providers at Catalyst are experts in instructional design and delivering content to enable your learning strategy. To take your eLearning content to the next level, contact us.