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eLearning, CBT and WBT Development Steps

by Ron Kurtus (revised 28 July 2000)

The development of an eLearning project starts with the initial considerations of defining what the customer wants, who is involved, and what are the measurable objectives of the project.

Once the project has been defined, the following development steps are usually taken:

  1. Outline the content
  2. Lay out a map
  3. Write a treatment
  4. Select learner activities
  5. Create a storyboard
  6. Produce multimedia effects
  7. Author the material

This lesson will detail those points.

1. Outline the content of the course

Write an outline of the content of the eLearning, CBT or WBT lesson or course. Perhaps fill in some ideas concerning details. Some people prefer to work with Mind Maps or graphical outlines instead of text outlines. Others use notes of their ideas as a sketch of the course.

2. Lay out a map of the parts

Draw a map of how the various parts of the course will fit together. In some cases, it will be straightforward, but other course may have many twists and turns, like with a game. It gives you the viewpoint of the course as a flow from beginning to end.

This map will be your guide to setting up the navigation through your CBT or WBT. Ask yourself, "If the user gets sidetracked, how does he get back on course?"

3. Write a treatment of the course

Write a short essay that defines what the course is all about. If you can't explain it, you can't sell it to management nor to the learners.

4. Select learner activities

Consider activities and exercises to enhance the learning of the material. Are there multiple choice questions? Do the students play games or solve puzzles? Are there simulations of real activities?

Think in terms of education, while keeping the learner interested in the material. Try not to get into entertainment for its own sake. The purpose of the eLearning is training, not simply to be amused.

5. Storyboard how the course will look

Take the course material and sketch how it will look on the screen. This can be done on a series of sheets or paper or cards that can be laid out according to your map.

6. Produce any multimedia effects

If any multimedia effects are to be used, you can produce them for inserting into the program at the appropriate locations. This can include graphics, illustrations, animations, sound effects, music, voice, and video, according to your needs. You may have to use graphical artists and multimedia experts to assist in this area.

Obviously, the delivery medium affects the type of multimedia that is practical. A CBT delivered on a CD-ROM can have much more sophisticated multimedia than a WBT.

7. Author the material

Actually write and program the course, with the authoring software. You may have to work in coordination with a programmer, if you are using a code-based authoring application or if your eLearning has special effects.

Test it to make sure it works correctly.

8. Evaluate the course

Try out the material on students to make sure the objectives are met. Try to get some honest feedback. You can use a survey, but verbal feedback from the learners is the best. Also try to get feedback from supervisors, as to the effectiveness of the training.

Evaluate the results and make appropriate changes.


The steps to take in developing eLearning material are:

  1. Outline the content of the course
  2. Lay out a map of the parts
  3. Write a treatment of the course
  4. Select learner activities
  5. Storyboard how the course will look
  6. Produce any multimedia effects
  7. Author the material
  8. Evaluate the course

Teaching others benefits us all..

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


eLearning Resources

Creativity Using Graphical Outlines - Mind Mapping is a graphical method of outlining or developing an idea


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