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Andrew Windram – Designing a New Users e-learning Course (H800 Apr 16)

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Andrew Windram
2 April 2016


I am responsible for the day to day management of an e-learning platform for a large organisation (220,000 personnel).  In addition, I am responsible training all the users of the e-learning platform from administrators, course designers and students on how to use the platform according to their user role.


The in-service e-learning platform, Docent LMS, had become dated and the organisation decided to replace the LMS with a Moodle LMS.  My team migrated the content between the 2 LMS’ and I was required to develop a training solution that could be undertaken by all learners across the organisation irrespective of location on how to use the new Moodle platform to undertake their learning.  The LMS migration took place during April to June 2015 with the old LMS being switched off in the June. 

The majority of learners are based throughout the UK; ranging from newly employed personnel to senior managers with many years experience.  In addition, several hundred routinely work overseas.  Given the age of the previous LMS and its limited functionality, the expectation was that the new Moodle LMS would resolve every conceivable training related issue, from both an organisational and user perspective.

The key actors in the New User Training Course learning design were:


  • The Training Requirements Authority (TRA), who determined what is to be trained.
  • Moodle SMEs from the Technical Support contractor.
  • The Media and Graphics team that created the e-learning package
  • E-learning trainers from within my team: and
  • Myself as the course designer


The task was the design of an e-learning package that informed all personnel how they should use the new e-learning platform for individual and collaborative learning and to identify the differences between the old and the new LMS’.

Given the relatively high number of complaints about the Docent LMS, success was measured through the rate of uptake of the New User Training Course; the ratio of help desk calls to the number of users; and the number of complaints.


The following actions were taken in developing the e-learning package:

  • I analysed the performance statement as supplied by the TRA in order to understand what new users of the LMS should be taught.  Give that the requirement had been written some ten years previous, there was very little detail and the TRA did not have the resources to further analyse the requirement, so I was given some latitude to “reverse engineer” the requirement from the solution until such a time that a new requirement was produced.
  • I created Training Objectives (TO) based on the performance statement and the TOs that supported the training for the Docent LMS (where applicable, e.g. maintain own user account details).
  • With the support of the Moodle SMEs and the e-learning trainers, we identified the key learning points (KLPs) that make up the totality of the TO.
  • With the e-learning trainers we conduct a methods and media analysis and determine the appropriate representation for each element of the learning (text, diagram, video clip etc.).
  • With the support of the Media and Graphics team, I created a storyboard for the e-learning.
  • Prior to committing to e-learning production, the story board was reviewed with the TRA, SMEs and e-learning trainers.
  • I then tasked the Media and Graphics team who produced an Alpha version of the New User Training Course, this was created in Captivate and exported as a SCORM rapped package that could be loaded into Moodle.
  • My team and I conducted user acceptance testing against the Alpha package and I fed back a list of amendments to the Media and Graphics team for their action.
  • After reviewing the amendments, the package was released as a Beta package on the new LMS during the early stage of migration between the 2 LMS’.  Early users of the Moodle LMS were invited to undertake the New User Training Course prior to undertaking any other e-learning on the platform.  The take-up rate was in the order of 80%, considerably higher than expected.
  • Prior to the old LMS being switched off, I reviewed the helpdesk call and live user comments and where valid, fed these back in to the Media and Graphics team who made final minor adjustments to the e-learning package and produced a final version of the training.
  • The final e-learning package was released in June 2015 on the new Moodle LMS.


The process of identifying TOs and KLPs and conducting a methods and media analysis prior to storyboarding the e-learning was extremely useful and met the objective of producing a package that is as close to being correct first time and this was born out given that there were very few amendments between the Alpha and Beta e-learning packages.  The Beta pilot was received well with very few criticisms being made from across the user base.  Where constructive comments were forwarded, we tried to include them in the final release.

Much to my surprise, and still holds true to today, we have received less than 10% of the help desk call for the Moodle course that the equivalent Docent based course.

Although the take-up of the New User Training Course is just less than 60% of all users, this is considerably better than that of the equivalent Docent based course which closed at just over 20%.

One additional outcome was that we identified that Docent and Moodle treat the same SCORM data differently and we had to amend the tracking and recording settings on the SCORM generator for Moodle.  This learning I was able to share with other courseware designers so that they would not experience any teething problems with their e-learning packages.


On reflection, the concrete experience of planning, analysing and developing each stage prior to tasking the Media and Graphics team to create the e-learning was the right thing to do.  Whilst initially time consuming, overall I believe that going through this process saved me and the other stakeholders a considerable amount of time and resource.  Equally, running a Beta pilot with live users was the right thing to do as they viewed the learning in their own context rather than that of a training designer and provided valuable feedback that allowed me to tweak the e-learning package and provide a better product; this approach I have transferred to the piloting of the new Moodle Course Designers Course, which replaces the 7 years old Moodle Developers’ Course, which will be Beta piloted from 18 April 2016 before going live in September.  

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