If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail (Abraham Maslow). The great quote can be applied to many situations, especially to the design and development of a digital learning experience.
One of the big mistakes we see when people are putting their content online is that they start with the technology. They select a learning platform and then create the learning experiences and learning assets to fit with the platform. Having this learning first approach limits the learning experience that you could create. You are restricted to the tools and functionality afforded to you by the learning platform. If the learning platform is limited in the asset types it can host, then you are limited in the choices of assets you can design and develop to engage your learners. For example, if the platform does not allow for the uploading of SCORM or xAPI content (created in an external authoring tool) then the interactivity and functionality will be limited. If the platform does not provide badges, points or other gamification elements, again your learning experience will be limited.
The reality is that selecting technology is one of the last things you should do when designing a learning experience. Before even considering the technology piece you need to:
- Have a clear understanding of your WHY,
- Have a strategy that aligns to your purpose,
- Understand your users,
- Define the user journey for participants in your course, and
- Create a learning experience that aligns with these factors.
Once you have designed the learning experience, then look at the tools and technologies available that you will need to create and deliver the learning experiences.
Doing this before selecting your learning platform will allow you to design a learning experience without any technology constraints. It will also provide you with more tools to go into your Edupreneurial Toolkit. Not just a hammer.