Overview of Learning materials
A guide to your options for getting content for e-learning
For most types of e-learning projects or courses, arranging for the e-learning content is a key challenge
- What learning materials will you use?
- Where will you get them? What's available already?
- Do you need to develop new materials?
- How long will it take? What will it cost?
- Who can do what?
Types of e-learning
Clarifying the type of content you need
Your content requirements will vary with the type of e-learning you are using. For example,
- in self-directed e-training, common in corporate training, the purpose-built content (or “courseware”) is the course, so it is often the main design task and the biggest cost
- in blended and facilitated e-learning, common in public education, the learning materials may be just part of the design mix along with online activities and collaboration tools, so the content is likely to be a flexible combination of materials in different formats from a range of sources, including the learners
- for accredited training in the Australian vocational education and training (VET) system, the Flexible Learning Toolboxes provide a rich bank of low-cost, customisable e-learning learning materials aligned to the Training Packages in most industries.
For detailed examples of different types of e-learning, see the Sample designs
Your content options
Clarifying your choices for obtaining learning materials
We've grouped the main choices for getting the learning materials you need in approximate order of cost, skill and complexity. You can:
Of course, these options can overlap and mix, but it's useful to understand the range of possibilities to fit your current skills and budget.
Sorting out your capabilities and roles
Often the tricky bit with e-learning content is scoping the options — judging what your current (and potential) capabilities are, and deciding who can or should do what. This means being realistic about the skills needed and clarifying roles so you can decide
- whether to use available material, buy commercial products, or develop your own
- if you develop, whether to develop in-house or to outsource the work
- the expectations of the contribution of teachers and trainers in the process.
For this reason, arranging (and distributing) content for e-learning is increasingly a team and organisational issue rather the responsibility of an individual.