As eLearning gains popularity, many companies begin converting their already existing content into an eLearning format. While converting an existing training program is much easier than creating a new one from scratch, in order for the eLearning course to be a successful one, it is important to understand what goes into the conversion.
Typically, when the client asks to convert the existing materials into eLearning, he supplies instructional designers with a PowerPoint presentation used in the class as well as instructor and student guides. If there are visuals that can be reused or assessment items that have already been created, they should also be provided to an instructional designer. Some clients also provide a recorded version of the classroom session, which often helps instructional designers to make sense out of the written materials.
Once all the materials are obtained, instructional designers should set up a meeting with the instructor, who is often also a subject matter expert on the topic, and go over the classroom materials.
Remember, classroom materials do not contain all the examples, explanations and clarifications, therefore; you will have to be very careful about filling in the blanks. Here is what I usually do to achieve the best possible results. First, I review the provided materials and note the questions I have or clarification I need to get from the SME. I also make a note of additional examples that I feel could improve the course. ELearning usually requires more examples than traditional training course because in a typical virtual environment there is no real life instructor who can answer questions, offer more examples if requested, or clarify concepts. When I finally meet with the SME, I ask him/her to teach the course to me as if I were his/her student. As he/she teaches, I take notes and ask questions. As a result, when the meeting is over, I have all the content needed to begin scripting and storyboarding the course.
As you work on the conversion of the ILT course into an electronic format, it is important to have an SME available to answer questions and reviews. You should also decide how much interactivity will be included, where the course will be hosted, and how the learning will be measured.
While instructional designers spend a significant amount of time translating the classroom materials into eLearning, in the long run it is well worth the effort. Not only will the new eLearning course reduce instruction time by almost half, but it will also save a lot of money for the company.