How to make an effective eLearning module. I want to make a module that will be an effective learning resource. But …. How can eLearning make the content more interesting?. Where do I start?. If you would like help with these questions, this module is for you!.
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I want to make a module that will be an effective learning resource. But …
How can eLearning make the content more interesting?
Where do I start?
If you would like help with these questions, this module is for you!
How will the learner track their progress – so that they will be confident that they have achieved something?
eLearning modules aim to fill several gaps:
Provide health-care students and front-line health workers in resource poor countries with learning resources that will be effective in improving health outcomes
The modules are usually designed to be studied mainly by a single learner sitting at a computer screen. However, they can be used to generate discussion topics or exercises that can be suitable for groups of learners.
Remember that the overall aim is to build the confidence of your learner to deliver health care more effectively. The learner should enjoy your module and feel that they have achieved something valuable by completing it. Therefore, make sure that the learning outcomes are appropriate for your learner and that the module allows them to achieve new knowledge and skills with confidence.
This module describes some basic principles and approaches that may help you to develop a learning resource that is effective for adult learners.
It complements the module by Jess Griffiths that covers the technical “How to do it” issues using MS PowerPoint.
But beware! This module is for guidance only. There are many different ways to teach – and you should feel free to develop your own style and innovative methods for eLearning!
By the end of this module and the accompanying module by Jess Griffiths, you should be able to:
How to build a module...
This is the most difficult bit! Although you may have a clear idea of what your module aims to achieve, writing down clear LOs needs careful thought and is the essential first step in module development.
Do not start to develop your module until you have identified a few (usually 3-4) clear LOs – and perhaps agreed them with your supervisor
Once you are happy with your LOs – stick to them and do not allow the module to wander into other areas
Are these LOs good or bad?A module aims to improve knowledge of the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). Decide whether each of the following LOs is good or bad. Then click on the square to see our assessment.
At the end of this module, you should:
Try rewording the LOs a few different ways to get the balance right between sufficient detail but not too long-winded
Tempt the learner to continue with the module. Say enough to interest them, but keep the best bits for the content!
It is often useful to include numbers in LOs; for example “describe the 3 major ways that…”
Use “active” words such as “discuss” and “explain”
Always a controversial area!
There is no problem with reproducing other people’s material as long as you reference its source
Your own simple images that directly show what you are trying to teach are usually much better. You can make these by using the simple autoshapes and drawing tools available in MS PowerPoint or draw them on paper and scan the image. Simple scanned line diagrams can be coloured easily using MS PaintBox to get very professional results!
The main problem comes with reproducing images (figures, photographs etc.)
Although it is tempting to “cut and paste” highly polished images from books or the internet into your module, these are usually not quite right for the point you want to make or are too complicated. Although “a picture is worth a thousand words”, complex diagrams without adequate explanation are just confusing.
If there are existing images that are exactly right for your purpose, then you must get permission from the author or publisher to use it in your module.
Click here for an example request to use an image for your module
Carefully-selected, high-quality images that demonstrate key clinical signs greatly improve the effectiveness of learning resources.
Digital photography has made obtaining clinical images much easier.
Wherever possible, avoid images that allow the person to be identified. For example, if you want to demonstrate pallor by showing the palm of the hand, then just show the palm rather than the whole person.
We consider that it is only acceptable to show clinical images if the patient or their parents or carers have given you permission to use the image for teaching purposes.
Taking clinical images that are effective for teaching is not easy - but we all improve with practice!
Click herefor an example of a consent form for medical photography.
Click herefor an example of a statement to use in your module regarding permission to use clinical images.
There are many ways of presenting information in an interesting way. The key is to actively involve the learner – rather than just “spoon feed” information.
The following slides give 3 suggestions as to how to present information in a way that engages the learner.
Remember that the information is probably already available in a book or on a website. Your module needs to go beyond just presenting information. It needs to be an active learning tool.
An example about the fluid management of severe dehydration in severe acute malnutrition is used to illustrate each approach. Incorrect management is common and may result in the death of the child. This example aims to change practice by increasing understanding of the underlying principles.
The LO for this example is: “Be able to discuss the pathophysiological principles that underlie the fluid management of severe dehydration in severe acute malnutrition”
This approach is best when the learner has little or no existing knowledge of the topic.
First, present the information just as it might appear in a book or on a website. Remember to include good images to make the information as engaging as possible!
Click here for an example of this approach
Then, re-enforce the learning by repetition by engage the learner in some interactive formative assessment
Use the answers as an opportunity to further re-enforce and extend the learning
This approach is appropriate if the learner already has some knowledge of the topic and you aim to build on this existing knowledge
Ask them to provide some information “from scratch” and then compare their answers with the correct answers
“Have a go”
Set the level of difficulty so that the learner performs fairly well (gets about 60% right). He/she is then encouraged to learn more (up to 100% correct) and continue with the module.
Click here to see the same severe dehydration in SAM example presented in this way
This is a higher level of learning which requires the learner to apply their existing knowledge to solve a problem
You present a “real life” scenario which mimics as closely as possible the learner’s day-to-day work
“Making it real”
You present a problem and then ask the learner to work through to a solution
Click here to see the same severe dehydration in SAM example presented in this way
This prompts the learner to think about the information carefully and work-out for themselves the important “take-home” messages
This also provides an opportunity to promote good clinical practice (e.g. multidisciplinary team working, clinical audit)
These are only a few suggestions and there are many different approaches. Do invent your own methods for presenting information in an engaging way!
A few general comments on presenting information:
Think carefully about the likely learning style of your learners and also how best this particular information might be presented.
* “Summative” assessment is for formal examination purposes and will not be covered here
These simple formats can be used just to test recall of facts. At a more advanced level, your questions can test the learner’s understanding of the information.
You have already met some examples of formative assessment in this module.
The accompanying module by Jess Griffiths provides you with a simple template for writing “pick the best of 5 options” questions. This can easily be adapted to “true or false” or other simple formats.
Now use Jess Griffiths’ module “International Health Template Module”