Designing online courses is a multifaceted endeavor — and all those different facets are often the job of the same person: you.

Each stage of the process, from analysis and design to development, testing, implementation, and evaluation, requires a different mindset, skills, and expertise. While you may feel confident in some of those areas, chances are you may need help in others — or you may be overlooking some tasks entirely.

Knowing What It Takes

As instructional designers create eLearning courses, they must perform a variety of jobs to deliver the final product, including (but not limited to):

  • Project Management
  • Topic Research
  • Course Design
  • Content Creation
  • Animation and/or Videography
  • Graphics and Art
  • Course Development
  • Quality Assurance/Testing
  • Content Editing
  • User Feedback

While you may be talented and disciplined enough to accomplish many of these tasks yourself, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do it all perfectly. Even if you’re a “star performer” who can do it all, the extensive scope of some projects coupled with pressing deadlines often requires additional assistance.

This is where you get to add one more hat to your collection: Collaboration Coordinator.

Technology and Collaboration – The Keys to Success

Like any complex task, the key to successful instructional design is optimal collaboration through technology.

Whether you’re the Course Leader responsible for the ultimate design and development of the course or a contributor in one particular area, you’ll need to collaborate clearly and efficiently with others who possess the different skills and specializations required to get the job done.

This means you may want to brush up on your general communication and time management skills, so you can avoid many of the common problems that cause friction in collaborative environments. It also means you’ll want to find the best tools to make collaboration easier, rather than using tools that make collaboration even more of a headache than doing it all yourself would be.

These tools may include project management portals, programs for content editing and design, user feedback mechanisms, and a clear stream of communication among all participants that doesn’t become overwhelming or lose critical information in translation between programs.

How Can CourseArc Help?

A course design tool like CourseArc can provide you with both sets of keys that you need to accomplish your instructional design goals: the technology itself, and the ability to collaborate. Housing all of these features in the same place means you won’t need to bounce between your design and project management tools, so communication won’t get lost in the shuffle.

What are some advantages of using CourseArc for collaboration?

  • As a Team Lead, you can manage and administer various tasks and deadlines within the entire project.
  • You can add users to the project based on the roles they will perform: Graphic Artists, Developers, Authors, Editors, etc. — each of whom have their own assignments and permissions.
  • You can create multiple task-streams and assign those tasks to individual participants.
  • CourseArc’s flexible workflow features make it easy to reassign tasks from one role’s queue to another.
  • Accomplishing one task can trigger the assigning of another. For example, once a Developer’s task is finished, you can then assign a new task to a Tester to validate the module that’s just been developed.
  • If a particular task is not satisfactory (e.g: if a Tester finds bugs), that task can be re-routed back to the Developer’s queue.
  • Users can comment on tasks, knowing their comments and feedback are viewable by every role that’s authorized to see them.

CourseArc is all about sharing both the thrill and the responsibility of course creation. Throughout the entire process, all team members can collaborate and cooperate with each other, enabling individual skills to be combined for a successful project.

There’s No Substitute for Working Well Together

If you think that granting everyone on your team access to a collaborative environment will ensure project success all by itself, you’re still one step short.

While technology and collaboration are integral to a successful online course, they’ll fall short without good planning, great design, and brilliant execution. Luckily, tools like CourseArc help your collaborative process run smoothly, relieving stress from the team and making it easier for each instructional designer to focus on their strengths.

When it comes to effective and efficient project management, finding smart ways to keep your team on point and on schedule is the difference between creating something that’s “good enough” and something your whole team can be proud of.

Image by Michael Arrighi via Flickr Creative Commons License