How to Facilitate E-Learning Development Using the Pyramid Method

Elizabeth Hines
Some time ago, a product designer named William Newton based around the different tiers of optimal design, and how they form a pyramid. This design idea can be applied to both physical products as well as the design of e-learning courses too. In this article, we will be looking into the five aspects of the pyramid method, and how to apply them to your e-learning development courses.

1) Why is the Design being Built or Created?

Good design is only good if it is built around a core reason why the design is built. Although this may seem vague, and you may wonder what exactly the core reason has to do with the design. This step might require some original brainstorming to figure out the true reason behind the need for and creation of the design. It may be necessary to slow down and pause work for a second to get a clear idea of what the purpose of the design is.

It may be an easy answer to say you are just creating the design because it is part of your job or your boss told you to do it; but it is important to dig deeper than this. If the ‘why’ answer is not answered before you finish the design, it immediately indicates that enough research has not been done. Without this early research, products and designs are unlikely to have long-term success. Designing an e-learning course without an initial purpose is never a good idea.

2) What does your Course Mean to the Audience you are Making it For?

The first thing you need to know is why you are designing it, and the second is taking a look at who you are designing it for. The target audience for the course is the next important step. How does this course help your target audience and how does it relate to them and their lives?

First of all, you need to ensure that you understand your target audience; their wants, needs, likes, dislikes, and cultures. You have to understand your audience in order to craft a course which grabs their attention and keeps it. There is a reason that people are taking the course you are designing, and you need to understand this reason in order to design the most optimal course for them. This step is all about understanding your target audience, and creating the best product for them.

3) The Look and Feel of the E-learning Course

After you understand the reason behind the course and your target audience; you can then start thinking about how your course will look and feel. Designing the look and feel of the online course will be a lot easier once you understand the core reason behind the course as well as your target audience. The look and feel of your e-learning course needs to be tailored to the audience which it is marketed towards. The look and feel of the course needs to engage your audience and help them stay connected to the course. The look and feel of the course can be created by using specific fonts and colours to craft the look and feel of the course. Knowing your target audience comes in handy here because you need to know what will appeal most to your audience.

While you may already have a clear idea of layout in your head, you need to compare this layout to the above research you have done and edit the layout accordingly. It is important to create an original prototype for your design before, as this will help with the development pathway. This prototype should have around three or four slides in place in the chosen colours, fonts, and layout that your whole course will eventually be in.

4) The Final Step: Execution

This is the final step, and many people think that this is the most important step to focus on; however, this step is not possible to be executed perfectly without the previous three steps. Execution is the final step of the process, and it is the pinnacle of the design process. This is the point where what you have built and designed is now something that will please you and your team, the students you are preparing it for, and the client you have made it for. This step has a lot of variables, as there are multiple people who need to be pleased.

However, the most important part of this step is actually the three steps before it. If these are completed perfectly, this final step should be a piece of cake! The developmental process finds the right people to help with the design and make it the best it can be.

5) All Done!

Done may be a little bit premature, but the steps you have completed up until this point have gotten you to the right place. You have started to create a good design, and you now have a good basis of your pyramid. During the fifth and final phase of the pyramid is where your inner designer can really come out. This is where you get to enhance your course and make it your own. This is where you can add frills, enhancements, and other bits on top which were not part of the other four levels of the pyramid.

You have already designed a good and solid course, and it is just time to add the frills. This is where you can open up the course to the outside input of either your co-creators, potential students, course testers, and the general population. This is where you can collect and curate feedback which will allow you to edit your course. It is unlikely that your first prototype will be absolutely perfect, so this step in the pyramid will allow you to create a better second production.

The pyramid method is a great way to optimise workflow for e-learning development and understand course design. Happy developing!
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About the Author:

Elizabeth Hines is an online project manager and business content writer for Boom essays and Essay roo. She enjoys reading and writing in her spare time.