This article gives you best practice advice for planning a Template that will help authors create learner-centered, impactful elearning projects.
What are Templates and why should you use them?
A Template is an Elucidat Project that multiple authors can use as the base for their own Projects. A Template has its own predetermined page and chapter structure set up. This can either be used as is, or adapted slightly by authors with suitable user permissions to suit their project and content needs.
Elucidat’s Learning Accelerator Templates are an example of this - you can choose a Template and start building from this ready-made structure, but you can also adapt the structure and content as appropriate. Here is an example of a Learning Accelerator Template in action:
The key benefits of templating are:
- Speeding up authoring
- Improving quality and consistency
- Setting standards while maintaining flexibility.
As well as using Learning Accelerator’s ready-made Templates, you can create your own Templates that are tailored to your organization’s needs. This article will help you plan how to do this.
When would you use a Template?
Here are the most common use cases.
To set best practice approaches across your account for all authors
Templating best practice design approaches that work for your learners not only reduces the time authors spend coming up with ideas; it also ensures that elearning created will meet your standards for quality, engagement and consistency.
For example, you could set up a quiz Template that includes badges if you know your learners are motivated by these. Or a case study Template that combines scenarios, reflective questions, and social polling.
Templating design approaches in this way means that whatever the subject area, authors will have approved learning design best practices baked into their projects from the start.
When you have multiple authors working on a suite of elearning projects with a similar structure
Imagine that you have a series of product knowledge Projects to create, with each Project focussing on a different product in a range. Different subject matter experts will be building the Project for the product they know best. However, there can be a risk of inconsistent quality and consistency when allowing multiple authors - especially those who are novice authors - to create Projects in a suite.
To maintain quality and consistency across each Project, and to speed up the authoring process for these authors, you can provide them with a Template tailored to the suite of Projects being created (in this case, it would be a product knowledge Template). Each author can then use this Template to set up their Projects quickly and easily, just dropping in their content and making small edits if needed.
Planning the structure and layout of your Template
When creating a Template, you should start by planning the structure and layout of the pages you will be including. Consider the following questions:
What Projects do you anticipate using this Template for?
Will this Template be used for specific subjects only, such as compliance? Or will it be a more general Template, with a structure that will be used across multiple content types, such as a branching scenario Template?
Think about the possible use cases and plan your structure and layouts to suit all possible contexts.
What needs to be consistent across each of those Projects?
Identify the interactions and pages that you think will be the same across each of the use cases. For example, you might anticipate that each Project should have the same title page layout, quiz page structure, and summary page layout.
You can then plan a consistent structure and layout for these pages to include within your Template.
What needs to be flexible?
You might not be able to plan an exact structure or layout that will work for each possible use case. Where that’s the case, you’ll need to consider what sections or pages are going to need to be flexible and how you will explain any edits the author needs to make.
There are a few ways you can approach this, depending on the use case. For example:
- You might know that your Template will need a menu with topic chapters. However, if the amount of chapters per Project is likely to differ, you will need to make it clear to the author how to add or remove chapters and link to these pages from the menu.
To do this, we recommend creating a guidance document to accompany each Template that contains advice on how to make any likely edits. Check out this best practice article on creating a Template in Elucidat for more on this.
- You might know that a topic page in a Template needs to include a demonstration section. However, some content might require a video demonstration, whereas other content might need a graphic with accompanying text.
To build flexible options like this into your Template, we recommend including both options within your structure and explaining in the accompanying guidance document how to remove the one that’s not needed.
This Learning Accelerator Template does this by including two page options for presenting a step in a process - the option 1 page includes a carousel of text and images, whereas the option 2 page includes a video instead. The author can simply delete the page option that they don’t need:
|Tip: You can determine the level of edit control you want your authors to have by assigning them an appropriate user role.|
Having your own Templates will bring a number of benefits to your elearning production, from speeding up authoring to ensuring consistency and quality at scale.
The tips in this article will help ensure your Templates are planned out in a way that meets all of your use cases. Once you have considered the points here, we recommend taking a look at Best Practice: Creating Templates for practical advice on setting up Templates.
Want some extra support with Template creation?
Our Learning Consultancy team is on hand to help. They can work with you to plan the most effective, flexible Template designs to meet your needs, and even build them out for you if you’d like. Get in touch with your Account Manager or Customer Success Manager to find out more about how our Learning Consultancy services can set you up for success.