In the instructional design process, a key transition is the hand off from design to development. In the same way an architect would give blueprints to a builder for the construction of a home, the Instructional Designer sends a course design document to the eLearning Developer in order to build a course. eLearning courses can be built in any number of authoring or development tools, such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, or Lectora, to name a few.

Check out a few of the most popular eLearning authoring tools for 2013 here.

Regardless of the authoring environment, the key responsibilities of the Developer are to ensure that the content, associated media, and interface all work seamlessly to provide the learner with a valuable learning experience. Two key components of effective eLearning development are aesthetics and interactivity.

Applying Aesthetics to Enhance the Learning Experience

Aesthetics can play a crucial role in the effectiveness of an eLearning course. Creating a visually appealing and easy to use interface can greatly improve the learning experience. A course may have exceptional content, but if the user is confused by a poorly designed interface or gets distracted by garish fonts and graphics, they may not end up absorbing the material. It is the responsibility of the eLearning Developer to ensure that a course’s user interface, media elements, and overall visual design all support the learning experience.

For an interesting article on the current trends in graphic and interface design, check out Articulate’s article.

Incorporating Interactivity to Maximize Engagement

Interactivity in an eLearning course is not only important to keep your learner engaged; it also acts as a way to reinforce the absorption of key content. While typically, most of the planning for interactivity is created during the design phase, it is up to the eLearning Developer to build out the interactions in a way that allows the learner to easily and intuitively interact with the content. This also includes providing clear instructions for interactivity, if necessary. A poorly designed navigation or unclear instructions for interaction can run the risk of confusing or frustrating the learner.