Sometimes it can feel like eLearning is an enigma: Because you can’t always be over a learner’s shoulder when he grasps a new concept or brushes up on technique, it’s hard to know just how successful your module is. That’s why clear objectives and evaluation methods are such a vital part of the mapping and design process. Without set goals, it’s almost impossible to correctly predict and evaluate eLearning ROI over time.
Creating eLearning Objectives to Score
Before you ever start evaluating your learners’ progress, you’ll first need to determine exactly what you want out of your eLearning module. It boils down to three basics: What, who and why?
First, what is it that you want your learners to walk away from their experience knowing? Who are your target students? Why is it important that they grasp new information? By answering these three questions during the planning stages, you should be able to define key goals that will better allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of the module.
Who’s Mr. Clutch: Information Vs. Performance
When creating objectives, keep in mind that all eLearning is either information or performance-based, and both have different outcomes. Information-based eLearning involves the familiarization of new topics or certification in continuing education and doesn’t necessarily require action, but demonstration of understanding. Performance-based goals require a change in learner behavior following the course. Obviously your goals and evaluation tools will vary based on the type of eLearning you expect from your learners.
The Final Cut: Evaluation and Reviews
If your material is information-based, your evaluation tools should allow learners to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding, such as an end-of-chapter review or a quick pop quiz for immediate feedback. If the material is performance-based, determining your ROI can be trickier. Demonstration in a role-playing or simulation setting might be the best way to decide whether or not your learners have adapted to and can perform based on what they’ve learned.