7 Steps to Make Custom Content Great Again

13 May 2020 by Luke Smith

A custom elearning project is a bespoke solution, created from scratch for your brand and your learners. It’s the tailored suit of elearning, if you will. 

But what makes the best custom content projects? We’ve identified these 7 steps to success.

  1. ‘Have a clear reason why.’

All great courses hinge on a well-defined central need and the correct learning objectives. Having a clear idea of the desired outcomes will inform the whole piece.

  1. ‘Think of the learner!’

Custom content allows a course to really focus on the people taking it. Focusing on their context, familiarity with elearning, needs and preferences will help create a much more relevant and meaningful learning experience.

  1. ‘Avoid the information dump.’

If you wanted to help staff sell more frying pans, you wouldn’t sit them down and subject them to a lecture on frying pan history. You need to find the difference between information for the sake of general knowledge – and the key information that helps support the desired objectives/outcomes. What makes your frying pan different?

Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping theory focuses on the notion that learning should be centred around a measurable business goal. It should state the actions learners need to do, rather than explain ‘what they need to know’.

The best, most refined courses take an unapologetic approach to focusing content.

‘Is the information going to make any difference in their ability to make the right decision? If not, throw it out’ – Clark N. Quinn, 2018.

  1. ‘Find a Learning Designer – and use them!’

We’ve already covered how selecting the right content is vital, and a Learning Designer will help do just this. They then work to ensure the learning is engaging, meaningful and relevant – with a constant awareness of the project brief and the eventual outcomes. My colleagues and I in the Learning Pool content development team are dedicated to exactly this.

  1. ‘Don’t forget, it’s digital.’

It should go without saying: digital learning is different from face-to-face. But it’s surprising how often the approach doesn’t change to reflect this. No one would tolerate reading a lecture transcript on their computer or phone – and rightly so. With this in mind, digital learning should be clear, concise and interactive. It should also have a practical focus wherever possible.

Adult learning theory informs this: adults look for a learning experience that they can quickly see will be helpful. Will the learning experience be helpful in solving problems that they face in their daily work? If not, where will it be helpful? Get to the point and prove your course has something important to say!

  1. ‘Looks matter.’

Before I’m accused of being superficial, let me explain. A strong approach with graphics can lift a good course into a great one. Not only can it help communicate your messages, but also create an authentic brand experience that ‘fits’ your organization and audience. If learners feel at home just by looking at the course, you’re off to a good start.

A recent project I worked on for Avon demonstrated this particularly well. It presented a clean, simple, light course with smooth transitions that felt 100% a part of the Avon brand. It was promoting products that focused on health, wellbeing and feeling good – and you’d have known that just through looking at it.

  1. ‘The power of the QA.’

Even the most impressively produced work can be let down by a typo

It’s vital to have a QA check any work for bugs, typos or simple mistakes that can undermine confidence or cause frustration with your finished solution. This step should never be overlooked.

At Learning Pool, we’ll help you consider all these points carefully when it comes to realising your elearning solution. 


Get in touch to find out more.

Luke Smith
Learning Designer

Luke joined the Content Development Team in 2019 as a Learning Designer, bringing with him a real interest in technology, media, and a never-ending curiosity to learn. His fresh perspective has already been put to good use, working on numerous bespoke projects for local authorities, internal projects making use of VR and 360 video, and working on new approaches with the Learning Innovation team on campaigns.

A keen runner, photographer and podcast-consumer – with experience working on BBC Local radio. You’ll either find him running, listening to a podcast, or a combination of the two!

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