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Common Challenges in Creating an Online Course

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 9/19/2010

Imparting software applications training to a geographically dispersed audience requires eLearning, such as online courses. Many times the training must be launched with the software. Adobe Captivate software is a tool that helps you address common challenges when you create online courses.

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    Introduction to Adobe Captivate and Challenges in Creating Online Courses

    In the global economy, many organizations have offices dispersed over several geographies. Typically, the training needs of such an organizational setup can be only be addressed by online courses. This is because of the associated cost advantages.

    The problem with creating online courses is that they can be expensive to create and usually take anywhere between 6 to 12 weeks. Sometimes this creation period is too long and other times internal Learning & Development teams don't have the resources to create the online courses in-time. Hence, exquisite project management and instructional design skills are required. But, apart from project management and instructional design, the technology used to create the courseware also plays a significant role in decreasing the course creation cost and time.

    In this article, we'll take a look at some challenges faced while creating an online course and how Adobe Captivate can be used to address some of them. The challenges you face when you create online courses discussed in this article are:

    • Schedule Constraints
    • Scope Management
    • Simulation Creation
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    Schedule Constraints

    A simple question like "When do you want this course?" can yield several responses, such as:

    "As soon as possible!" Or, "Yesterday!" Or, "With the launch of the software application!"

    Time is always a constraint for any client, be it internal or external. Learning & Development teams have no choice, but negotiate a deadline or live with the cramped schedules. Negotiating a schedule with a client is never easy and is typically impossible if the online course is part of a larger initiative. For example, if the online course addresses the training needs of a software launch. The schedule of the online course creation is dependent on the schedule of the overall software application launch. In these cases, the dependency identified must be carefully monitored. The software application creation and online course creation occur simultaneously!

    The challenge of creating an online course for a software application is that you develop the course using a halfbaked application. Screen shots of the application continuously change and sometimes even the flow changes. The technology used to create the online course is critical to ensuring the timelines are met. Adobe Captivate enables fast online course creation. Adobe Captivate is especially useful for creating online course that have software simulations.

    How to Address the Schedule Constraints Challenge

    • Collaboratively develop the schedule with the team responsible for creating the software. Scheduling requires project management skills. Read the Sources of Project Management Training article for more.
    • Use technology that enables fast online course creation, such as Adobe Captivate.
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    Scope Management

    When you create online courses, the content created is part of the scope. Adding unnecessary content leads to extra effort and costs. As a project manager, you should sit with the instructional designer and decide which design methodology can address the training need at minimal cost. In the case of software application training, the scope is dictated by the flow. Adding flow items that'll rarely be used or used by a select audience adds to the scope. The scope while creating online courses must be dictated by the learning objectives of the online course. Use the SMART framework to write clear objectives.

    How to Address the Scope Management Challenge

    • Use an effective instructional design methodology.
    • Listen to the software developers, but do not let them dictate the scope. Typically, developers want every item in the software to be a part of the online course.
    • Use an online course creation technoology, such as Adobe Captivate, that enables faster course creation.
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    Simulation Creation

    Typically, the design of a training that imparts software application training follows a Tell > Show > Practice approach. Most online courses also follow such an approach. The trick to expediting course creation is by using a tool that enables fast online course creation.

    How to Address the Simulation Creation Challenge

    • Use an Effective Tool: Adobe Captivate is probably the best tool in the market for this. The tool takes about 1.5 hours to learn. Adobe Captivate enables you to take screen shots, create demos, create practices, create quizzes and publish your online course in zip time. Adobe Captivate also enables you create simple games without the need for programming.