Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

An Online/Mobile Course Design Process

(This is the 4th article of a series  from dominKnow Knowledge Base.)

Developing a good online course requires a considerable amount of planning. This is a development process that works very well when designing courses with Claro.

You will notice that the course framework is put up in Claro as early as possible, even at the Storyboard stage. This means you can take advantage of the review tools as soon as possible.

Course development typically has five main phases:

  1. Instructional Design Phase
  2. Storyboard Phase
  3. Alpha Build
  4. Beta Build
  5. Final Build

Instructional Design phase

In this phase a complete outline of the coursecontent and the course structure (grouped into Learning Objects) is created. The chief Instructional Design phase deliverable is the Instructional Design Document (IDD).

It outlines each Learning Object and its:

  • Description (or title)
  • Enabling or learning objective
  • Keyword(s)
  • Knowledge Content (actual knowledge content to be transferred to the learner)
  • Suggested teaching aids (visuals, interactions, review components) if available.
  • Practice exercises
  • Test questions

Storyboard phase

The storyboard phase is the creation of the course “blueprint”, that specifies:

  • The exact screens to be made for each Learning Object
  • All interactions to be created
  • All media to be used or created, such as images, animations, photos, etc. (media is generally shown in basic form such as sketches or thumbnail images)

The Storyboard can be developed as a Microsoft® PowerPoint® file and be deployed as a course in Claro. This allows all stakeholders to review the material and to enter comments or notes using Claro’s Review Notes feature.

The Storyboard can also be created directly in Claro. Page Notes may be used for descriptions of media and interaction to be added later during development. Audio and video may be recorded into Claro as placeholders prior to professionally recording media during later phases.

online learning design phase

By Rubyblossom (CC BY-NC)

Alpha Build phase

The Alpha Build deliverable is the first version of the actual elearning course, developed in accordance with the approved IDD and storyboard.

The Alpha build is developed using Claro’s authoring tool. You may also decide to insert some externally authored content.

The Alpha build is considered a near-complete build of the course, although some course features are generally not created or incorporated at this stage, including audio files, video files (if required), or test questions.

The Alpha Build is also reviewed as a course in Claro.

Beta Build phase

The Beta Build deliverable is the second fully-functioning version of the elearning course.

The Beta Build incorporates the resolution of any issues identified by the Alpha build review.

Recorded audio and video as well as test questions, if required, are generally incorporated at the Beta Build stage.

The Beta Build is also reviewed as a course in Claro.

Final Build phase

The Final Build deliverable is the completed elearning course and incorporates all issue resolutions required as a result of the Beta Build review process.

Once the final build is approved, the course is made available for students.


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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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