The Steps to Expect on Your Way to an eLearning Refresh

The Steps to Expect on Your Way to an eLearning Refresh featured image

Creating modern elearning is a big step, and it takes time, energy, and a lot of coffee to make it from beginning to end. But the best things come from a little bit of hard work, and modernizing eLearning can make a huge impact — from increasing your employees’ motivation to a long-term upsurge in customer satisfaction.

Let’s put it this way. When you’re planning a trip, it helps to take a look at a map (even if you are counting on Siri for directions). It gives you a sense of confidence and clarity to know a basic roadmap for the journey. In the same way, giving the overall eLearning process a quick glance can help you know what to expect along the journey. This way, you can eliminate unfriendly surprises along the way.

A friendly disclaimer: depending on the size and complexity of the course, some steps may be changed around or removed from the process. Let’s take a look at what you can expect en route from content discovery to final delivery with a learning partner.

Start strong with a solid foundation of knowledge

Content Discovery

No matter what shape your project takes, the first step of the eLearning refresh journey is content discovery. And it pretty much means exactly what it sounds like — your learning partner discovers what existing materials (copy, media, and design) can help inform the final course. While the length of time dedicated this step varies according to the project, the process stays the same.

During content discovery, the project team (instructional designers and project managers) immerse themselves in learning project knowledge and become the new subject matter experts (SMEs). They study the current training material, examine supporting marketing materials, and perform on-site discovery sessions where they talk directly with your learners and SMEs.

  • What this means for you
    The project team’s goal through content discovery is to step into the learner’s shoes and understand their needs, wants, and learning gaps. By becoming experts on the learning material, the project team is better equipped to reorganize and revitalize your learning content. They’ll also study your brand’s verbal identity and make sure that the refreshed learning is something that covers all your learning goals and fits your brand.
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Four major milestones that form the core of your journey

The middle of your eLearning journey is where the knowledge gained from content discovery turns into beautiful learning. You’ll be able to see your project at every milestone and give your feedback on the project and process.

Content writing

After becoming the new subject matter experts, the instructional designers collect all learning documents and resources and begin the writing process. They start with creative brainstorming and outlining course storyboards, then they start writing. What follows is a continual, fast-paced cycle of writing, critiquing, rewriting until a solid storyboard is created.

At the same time, the instructional designers begin collaborating with the media and design teams to create copy, design, and media that makes sure the content is presented in the best possible way for the learners.

  • What this means for you
    During the writing process, the instructional designers will often find new learning gaps. This means they’ll contact you with questions about content and solutions. Often, the timeline of the content writing process depends on how efficiently you and your learning partner can find solutions to these gaps.

Once the learning gaps have been filled, your learning partner will contact you for a direct review. This is when you (or your own subject matter experts) go through the storyboard, make sure everything is on point, and leave feedback directly in the storyboard. Then, the storyboard returns to the instructional designers for another round of edits and revisions.


This stage is where the magic begins to take shape and come to life. The design team takes the media assets and the written storyboards and come together into a beautiful and powerful learning experience. Like software and written storyboards, the designs move into an agile cycle of creation, feedback, and edits.

Software development

Whether or not you choose custom software for your eLearning refresh journey depends on your learning needs. And no, software doesn’t just mean apps. This could mean that the impact of your project might be increased with emerging technology like:

  • Virtual reality
  • Augmented reality
  • A specialized mobile or web app

Once you decide on what software you want to use, the software engineers work with UI/UX designers along with graphic designers to build a beautiful interface and system that’s perfect for you and your users. While the software team works on designing, writing, and building your custom software, the other teams begin working toward the best learning content possible. The goal of the software team is to always keep moving. This means that they embrace an agile process that constantly cycles through prioritizing tasks, building, and feedback.

  • What this means for you
    The agile cycle keeps you up-to-date and aligned with all the changes, incorporating feedback and working toward solutions without delays. While the software works closely with the content and design teams, they also have their own process of ideation and discovery that focuses on building learning that’s right for you and your people.

Media asset creation

Media creation involves producing learning assets like video, photography, and animation. For example, if you want to show learners something complex, like how an engine works, this is where the 3D animator builds and renders a 3D model of the engine and all of its intricacies. Then, the media team collaborates to create an instructional video using that model. Or, if you need to show step-by-step instructions on how to properly set a table, the media team takes photos of each step to help the learners walk through the processes.

  • What this means for you
    Customizing media to your business, your people, and your brand is critical for successful learning. Your learning partners collaborate with you to create a list of needed media assets for your eLearning refresh. This means that your learning partner’s media team come onsite to take pictures and video of you and your people.

To finish strong, place quality front and center

Quality assurance

After writing, media, software, and design are all pulled together into one beautiful learning experience, quality assurance (QA) steps in to give everything a final check. This means that QA specialists give your eLearning content a thorough examination to make sure that every link, pixel, comma, and visual element are exactly where they need to be. The goal is to make sure the entire course functions properly, without any bugs interrupting the experience.

If anything’s off, the QA specialists make sure the problems quickly get solved — all so you and your learners get the best experience possible. After this, the project manager (PM) gives the course a final check and gives it the sign off. Then, it’s time for delivery.

Package and delivery

It’s the time you’ve been waiting for. Your eLearning refresh is complete and ready to put into action. Because of the size of your courses, they’re zipped for easy transport, and your learning partner sends them to you whatever way works best for you both. From there, you can upload your refreshed courses into your LMS and start testing.

Destination: eLearning refresh

We made it to the end of your eLearning refresh journey. It’s time to pop open your bottle of champagne and celebrate! It can be a long journey, but you and your learning partner made a plan, worked together to create a solution, and successfully delivered eLearning that’s modern, relevant, and helpful for your people (and, of course, it looks fantastic).

Now, it’s time to put that learning into action.

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