How should you evaluate the quality of an eLearning course?
Apply PRAISE to evaluate eLearning content
Faced with this challenge, the eLearning cynics of the world would probably respond with ‘why even bother, all eLearning is boring however you look at it!’.
We, of course, would not agree. Yes, it is true that there is a very high volume of poor eLearning out there today but that’s more a reflection on the authors than the method itself. Can you imagine how long a list we could compile if we listed every poorly delivered classroom training course or workshop – a very, very long list indeed, I would imagine!
So, let us start with the assumption that excellence in eLearning is something that can and does exist. Then the burning question becomes ‘how will we know it when we see it and how can we make it easy sift through the less good to find the best?’. I suggest you evaluate content based on six criteria which I have termed the PRAISE approach (mainly because mnemonics are the only way I can remember anything these days!).
Production | Relevance | Assessments | Interactions | Structure | Expertise
High Production values – lest not forget that the process of creating eLearning is not unlike the process of creating a Hollywood movie or a TV drama and it is all down to working to high production values with whatever media you are using. This means paying attention to the quality of the script writing, creative treatments and the audio and visual media.
High Relevance – this is about relevance to your audience and their specific learning needs.
Learning Assessments that matter – assessing the learner’s level of understanding is a critical part of the learning process itself, as well as of value to the organisation in terms of a measure of the effectiveness of learning. The assessment methods should offer a degree of challenge and force the learner to think and reflect on what they have learnt.
Interactions that encourage critical thinking – what makes eLearning different to other forms of self-study is learner interaction. Good instructional design recognises the need for frequent interactions yet also that every interaction must have purpose and encourage the learner to reflect more deeply about what they are learning.
Logical Structure, flow and signposting – just as in other forms of learning or communication the content needs to be well structured so that it tells a story from start to finish and provides ‘signposting’ along the way.
Created with the necessary Expertise to offer a credible learning programme. Expertise is provided by subject matter experts and any eLearning development team must utilise appropriate SMEs to create a valuable, accurate and credible course. Always check the provenance of the authors or publishers of the eLearning.
Here at Course-Source we have already curated over 2,200 courses from over 35 mainstream and niche eLearning publishers to assist you in your search for the right courses for your organisation. Registration on the site is free and takes less than two minutes, and registered members can evaluate any of the courses in full and for free to assess their content and quality against your organisation’s requirements.