Picture of Louise Bennett
Best practice
by Louise Bennett - Thursday, 25 May 2017, 7:52 AM

Hello, Adapt community!

I'm curious in hearing how other people structure their Adapt courses. Do you use one page per course, or several pages, or several sections? Are pages long or short? Do you put all course content into a single course, or break them down into a collection of smaller courses? 

Any particular reason why? 

Traditionally, we always had a single-page Adapt course for each 'topic' within a week of content (with 2-5 topics per week). Some of our IDs, however, prefer to design much larger courses, with several pages of content, with the idea that all related content should sit together in the same object. (For clarity, this is within the context of building six-week modules of a postgraduate-level programme.)

Clearly, there is no 'one true way' for this, but I'm curious as to how others approach this, and if there is any supposed 'best practice' out there for breaking up learning content. 

Your thoughts would be of great interest!



Picture of Matt Leathes
Re: Best practice
by Matt Leathes - Thursday, 25 May 2017, 9:26 AM

Hi Louise

First up I should just point out that I'm not an e-learning designer - but have worked in e-learning for nigh on 15 years (!) so have seen a pretty wide variety of e-learning courses.

SCORM best practice suggests that you should try and make content objects (i.e. courses) small with the idea that you can then recombine them in different ways. In practice I think this 'recombination' of content rarely happens in the real world.

Creating collections of mini-courses like this is effective at times - but can make it difficult to control the learner journey through the content should that be required. It also prevents you from including some more advanced functionality such as giving the user links to topics they should redo in the event they fail the assessment - or making the content they have to do dependent on a pre-assessment or role selector.

Where you have features like a language selector, building your content into one course can be better for the learner as they only need to select language once.

The suitability of collections of 'single-page courses' is, I think, quite dependent on the platform they are launched from. I think they work better when are able to use the platform to create a nice launch page for them. I've certainly seen a few of our clients using a more 'portal' style of route that actually is very effective when courses are broken up into smaller topics like this.

One downside of this technique is that it frequently means you will have to deal with two teams of people (who may not even work for the same company, be in the same country/time zone or speak the same language!) in order to get the overall functionality you want, as I'm sure you'll know this can be more challenging than working with a single team of people who are able to handle everything!

I would certainly recommend not making pages too long, too text-heavy or adding too much interaction purely for the sake of it. Endless clicking/tapping to reveal content will get boring very quickly!

There's quite a few good posts on our blog about this sort of thing. In particular I'd recommend having a look at posts by Matt M, Seth, James, Kirstie and Cammy.

Whatever you do I don't recommend making one enormous e-learning course. A couple of times in my career I have had to work on courses that contained hours (six hours, in one case) of content in a single SCO. Courses of that size are a nightmare to work on and I can't believe are good for the learner either.

Picture of Mathew Gancarz
Re: Best practice
by Mathew Gancarz - Thursday, 25 May 2017, 6:43 PM

We do similar training, with continuing education that is similar to university courses and our approach is roughly one scorm package per week, with the scorm package containing anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours of content (which is also very dependent on the existing knowledge of the learner). This typically means between 10-30 'screens' of content.

We're translating that to Adapt and so far our approach is to still group things in a similar way, ie: aiming for 30 minutes to 60 minutes spent in each SCORM package, however it is organized. 

I think it might be best to think about what's the normal 'sit down learning session time' for your learner group? Do they only have 5-10 minutes to take a learning break before they have to do something else, or do they have the time and is the topic complex enough that it should be learned in bigger chunks of half an hour to an hour or more?