How to Develop Effective E-learning Resources and Tools

E-learning resources can come in all shapes and sizes but, regardless of how they look, feel and work, one thing remains the same: the resource is only as good as the research that’s gone into it.

Ultimately, an e-learning resource needs to meet the needs of the clients creating it and the learners engaging with it; otherwise, it will fall flat and prevent both from reaching their goals. This means you need to take your client and their participants into account in every decision you make – letting them be the guiding force behind the resource.

In this article, we take you through the steps required to develop an effective e-learning resource, so you can be confident that it has all the elements it needs to succeed.

Step 1: Define the Scope of the E-learning Resource

The best place to start when it comes to developing e-learning resources is by defining its scope. This involves taking a deep dive into your client and their characteristics, needs and goals. Have a think about why they’re creating the e-learning resource and what they want to get out of it. Is it to be used for acquiring recognised qualifications, to inform employees of new workplace practices, or to refresh students’ knowledge on an important topic? Knowing why your client wants to create the e-learning resource will help you pinpoint its purpose and build out something that satisfies their objectives.

Step 2: Talk to Your Clients

Once you’re clear on what the e-learning resource needs to accomplish, you can figure out how it can be fulfilled. The easiest and most efficient way to do this is by having conversations with your clients and getting into the nitty gritty, such as who the target audience is and the information and technology that’s available to work with. This is also a great opportunity to confirm if what the client is asking for really matches what it is they need.

Some questions you can ask clients during this scoping stage include:

  • What is the business problem you’re trying to solve with the e-learning resource?
  • What does success look like to you?
  • Who’s sponsoring the project?
  • What are the target audiences’ attitudes and expectations towards training and this training in general?
  • What behaviour changes are required for the project to be successful?
  • How important is tracking and reporting for this program?
  • What tools do you currently leverage for training and content management?
  • How flexible are you with the structure, approach and creativity of this program?
  • What milestones and dates are critical to meet?
  • What is the budget? What are the biggest priorities among cost, time and quality?

Step 3: Talk to Other Stakeholders

Beyond the client, you may want to seek out other relevant stakeholders who can provide you with useful insights regarding your client’s needs. For example, an IT representative will be able to help you navigate the technological side of things including which e-learning software to use, so you create a solid resource that integrates every element you’re after.

Some people you could consult with include:

  • the people in the organisation who are responsible for training, as they know the ins and outs of the process and what has and hasn’t worked in the past
  • supervisors in the organisation who may have experienced inadequate work practices and/or gaps in worker performance, to provide their unique perspectives
  • subject matter experts to ensure only the most accurate and up-to-date information is used as part of the project
    representative groups from within your client’s industry, who might know some common training requirements and what they entail.

Step 4: Talk to the Learners

Don’t forget – you can also talk directly with the learners themselves. They’ll be the ones using the e-learning resource, after all, so will be able to provide invaluable insights that you can’t get from anyone else. You can ask them what they hope to achieve from using the resource and what would help get them there. Make sure to listen carefully and make note of any patterns that indicate areas you should focus on and include in the e-learning resource.


When you hit the drawing board to develop an e-learning resource, it’s critical that you consider your client’s objectives and understand the learners who’ll be engaging with the resource. The deep insights you gather from chatting to the right people will help you develop an e-learning resource that aligns with your client’s goals and has all the tools the participants need to succeed.

1: Dashe & Thomson. (2014). 13 Questions to Ask When Scoping a Learning Engagement.

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