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LMS content creation: Best practices & tips for e-learning content

• 10 min read

Creating great e-learning courses and content that are engaging and relevant can be challenging. 

Nevertheless, with the right tools and know-how, organizations can create the right type of online learning content that can motivate learners to engage with their courses and continue their L&D journeys.  

This article explores the best practices for creating e-learning content with learning management systems (LMSs). 

From instructional design to multimedia integration, we’ll look at how course creators, L&D professionals, and other stakeholders can streamline content creation to deliver effective learning experiences to their audiences. 

Disclaimer: The information below is accurate as of March 25th, 2024.

What is LMS content?

LMS content is the training material and resources developed, uploaded, and delivered through an LMS

Thus, LMS content creation refers to designing and producing training content specifically tailored for online learning environments. 

It’s also about curating and organizing content to effectively convey the right information to engage learners and promote knowledge retention within the learning platform. 

Common LMS content types include things like: 

  • Slide-based courses, which are somewhat similar to PowerPoint presentations but with more multimedia and interactive elements to increase learner engagement. 
  • Microlearning content in the form of infographics, short videos, PDFs, interactive animations, etc. Microlearning content helps fill in knowledge gaps and addresses specific learner questions in the moment of need.
  • Training videos demonstrating various procedures and techniques. These can be standalone or embedded in online courses, tutorials, and how-tos, or used in live instructor-led training and webinars. 
  • Audio lectures and podcasts for learners to study on the go. 
  • Gamified modules such as training courses that include gamification elements like leaderboards, badges, points, and other rewards. These aim to increase learner engagement with the course material. 
  • Interactive content in the form of quizzes, surveys, and assessments that test the learner’s knowledge and opinions. 
  • Sales enablement content that helps sales reps engage with leads and customers, driving their win rates and sales numbers. Sales enablement content can be in the form of FAQs, battle cards, sales playbooks, e-books, whitepapers, or case studies. 

What are the best practices for creating engaging LMS content?

So, how do you create LMS content to help you reach your online learning objectives and simultaneously enhance the user experience?

Let’s go over the best practices and explore how they can improve your course-creation process. 

1. Set clear learning goals and objectives

Everyone learns for a reason. Some learn to play a new musical instrument to relieve stress, and others learn a new sport to be more active or engage with friends.

Many today learn to use new software systems to become more productive at work. 

Long story short, online learning needs to have a goal (an objective). 

When designing a learning program, instructional designers and subject matter experts can implement Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy.

Put simply, this framework helps with e-learning content creation by categorizing learning objectives based on cognitive processes. 

These fall under low-order thinking skills like remembering and understanding and higher-order skills like applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. 

For example, if your objective is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance training, some learners, like software developers, will need to reach the “Evaluate” level on the Revised Taxonomy chart. That’s because developers must create software systems that interact with user data. 

Other employees may only need to reach the “Apply” or “Understand” stage since the GDPR doesn’t directly impact their work.

2. Know your audience

By design, Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy also requires companies to understand their target audience of learners. 

What can prove effective training material for one group of learners may be insufficient, too overwhelming, or completely irrelevant for another. 

This is where learner personas can prove useful. 

Put simply, a persona is a fictional profile of your digital course’s target audience. Organizations can create different personas for each learner group they have.

In doing so, L&D teams can also create content specifically tailored to each learner group’s needs. 

Organizations should also take into account a couple of variables here. 

  • How tech-savvy is the learner group? 

Not everybody can use technology to the same level of proficiency. If you have learners who aren’t as tech-savvy, you may want to keep things as simple as possible, even at the expense of some interactivity. 

  • What’s the audience’s availability throughout the day?  

Every department has a slightly different work schedule and duties associated with their roles.

Sales reps, for example, are generally more engaged in calls and meetings. They spend the rest of their time on a CRM platform like Salesforce. 

This audience may benefit more from sales enablement content delivered in bite-sized microlearning chunks and on mobile devices.

On the other hand, software developers can benefit more from longer-form content with social learning functionality like forums added into the mix.  

3. Interactive and engaging learning programs

Among the biggest killers of employee training programs are boredom and disengagement. 

By incorporating interactivity into their e-learning programs, instructional designers can help learners become more interested in the training modules, keeping them focused as they progress.

There are multiple ways of making your e-learning programs more engaging and interactive. 

Simply adding a short quiz here and there can turn a stale PDF into a more interactive training course. Another way is infusing multimedia content such as images, videos, and infographics into the course material. 

It’s also a good idea to create real-life scenarios that simulate situations learners may encounter on the job. 

This will connect learners better with the course material and motivate them to master the scenarios. 

Gamification, even if it’s something as simple as a word game or a point-based system, can further improve learner engagement by adding an extra challenge or even a bit of friendly competition among peers. 

4. Simplify and beautify

People can keep their attention on a topic for only so long before getting distracted. Long-winded content can quickly disengage an audience, especially if people also need to work in the meantime. 

An effective way of counteracting this issue is by keeping training modules short and to the point. It’s generally good practice to break up content into short sections or scenarios that address one or two key points. 

Many professional LMS platforms come equipped with built-in content authoring tools. 

Some of these tools come with drag-and-drop templates for easy content and course creation, but all need to be SCORM-compliant to ensure interoperability between the content and the LMS. 

Docebo Shape, for example, is an AI-powered content creation tool that turns internal and external knowledge sources, like blogs, PDFs, whitepapers, or e-books, into microlearning content in multiple formats and languages in a matter of minutes. 

Another important aspect is to make the content visually appealing.

As a general rule of thumb, less is more. 

Keep the text short and balance it out with plenty of white space. This helps facilitate readability and keeps the learner’s attention. 

To sustain engagement, you should also use high-quality images, videos, and animations. 

5. Keep everything organized and integrated

Trainers, learners, admins, and all other stakeholders want a user-friendly and intuitive LMS platform that makes training and navigation seamless.

To avoid potential issues such as cognitive overload — something that prevents learners from engaging or focusing on key points of their training — it’s best to structure content in a hierarchical system. 

For example, you can categorize it as either mandatory or supplementary. 

Professional learning management tools can help you arrange and distribute content based on a logical flow. 

This way, learners absorb content more effectively, increasing knowledge retention, and you effectively align content with your e-learning goals. 

Secondly, you can integrate your LMS with other systems in your tech stack to bring training directly into the learners’ workflows. 

You can integrate the online learning tool with a CRM like Salesforce or Microsoft Teams for collaboration or with the workforce’s calendar tool. 

This way, they don’t need to constantly switch between systems for their professional development needs. 

How can I personalize LMS content?

A key element in effective e-learning content creation and management is personalization. 

Personalized learning is all about tailoring the training experience to learners’ unique needs, interests, and requirements. 

Unlike traditional teaching methods, personalization focuses more on active learning than mandatory training. It empowers flexibility, considers individual or group competencies, and follows distinct learning pathways. 

Personalized learning paths are important in LMS content creation because they bring together otherwise disparate learning objects (LOs) like training modules, instructional videos, quizzes, etc., and create a cohesive learning journey toward an end goal like onboarding, upskilling, reskilling, or even continuous development

Moreover, personalization considers the learners’ prior knowledge and experience, needs, and interests. 

Good learning pathway design needs to have the right structure. 

This includes an end goal, a target audience, and a motive behind it, such as to inform or inspire the learner. 

It also needs to balance enticement to attract learners and relevant content to deepen their understanding of the subject matter. 

You should consider the following factors regarding actual content within these learning pathways.

  • Novelty and relevancy. Depending on the topic of the training module, you need to consider the content’s recency. Some subjects, like management styles or machine learning, are fast-changing, and up-to-date content is mandatory. 
  • Format type variety. To keep learners engaged for longer, increase knowledge retention, and even capture a wider range of learning preferences, it’s a good idea to include a variety of content format types. These can include articles, infographics, videos, PDFs, etc. 
  • Content length. Short-form, microlearning content is great at grabbing the learner’s attention and providing crucial information in a moment of need. Long-form content like whitepapers, webinars, or e-books can build proficiency. 

Building personalized learning pathways is a non-linear and continuous process involving trial and error. 

Learning platforms can help streamline this process. 

Docebo LMS, for example, is a cloud-based LMS that leverages AI to tailor the learning experience to each user’s needs. 

The main AI-powered Docebo features related to personalization include the following.

  • The Virtual Coach AI feature takes a proactive approach to learning by guiding every learner on the Docebo platform through their training activities with conversations.
    Learners can ask questions or request content recommendations, while the Virtual Coach also monitors learner progress and answers queries based on all available data. 
  • The AI-powered search feature improves content discoverability. Docebo’s AI analyzes all learning content available on the platform regardless of format and understands its information. It then presents it to learners based on relevancy, improving the learning experience. 
  • The auto-tagging feature uses the same principle as above. For example, when sharing a new video on the platform, the AI “listens” to the video’s entirety and generates suggested tags to help with content categorization and search. 
  • With the skill tagging feature, the AI analyzes all content that’s uploaded on the platform and automatically identifies what skills from the Skills Catalog are the most relevant for each content piece. 
  • The Recommender feature recommends automated content to learners, managers, or administrators. When employees share informal content via Docebo’s Discover, Coach & Share feature, the AI suggests the people most likely to find it relevant.
    Managers can also receive recommendations based on which courses are most relevant for their teams. Admins can get AI suggestions whenever they enroll new learners in a course. 

Simply put, artificial intelligence can help organizations personalize their LMS content and learning experiences to help increase learner engagement and knowledge retention.

Should you outsource e-learning content creation?

Outsourcing e-learning content creation is a strategic choice many organizations make to take advantage of external expertise. 

It can also help reduce costs and speed up content development and delivery for their corporate training needs. 

When partnering with specialized e-learning content creators, companies gain access to a pool of subject matter experts, instructional designers, and multimedia developers who specialize in high-quality and engaging content. 

Outsourcing online learning content creation can provide scalability, flexibility, and access to the latest instructional design trends and technologies. 

On the other hand, some businesses may prefer to keep their e-learning content creation in-house. 

This strategy allows organizations to control the creation process more, ensuring better alignment with organizational goals and company learning culture. It can even offer higher proprietary information protection.

In-house teams may also better understand the company’s unique challenges, regulations, and audience preferences. 

They can better respond to changing needs, create more contextually relevant content, and foster a deeper sense of ownership. 

A third option would be to follow a hybrid approach by combining outsourcing and in-house content creation capabilities. 

Companies can outsource specific components or projects that require specialized expertise while retaining core content development functions internally.

For example, companies can outsource things like

  • Course development – if the in-house team lacks the necessary skills and knowledge. 
  • Visual content – like graphs, charts, animations, graphics, or videos requiring specialized software and hardware. 
  • Translations – if the in-house teams don’t have the skills or the LMS doesn’t include a particular language. 
  • Instructional design – where professional content creators better understand the ADDIE model and other design methodologies, which can maximize training strategy outcomes. 

A hybrid approach can optimize resource allocation, improve efficiency, and allow companies to focus their efforts on the strategic aspects of content development while leveraging external partners for specialized tasks. 

Ultimately, the decision to outsource content creation depends on several factors, like timelines, budgets, internal expertise, and content complexity. 

Companies must evaluate their requirements to determine which strategy best fits their online training needs.

How can I collaborate with content creators for my LMS content?

Effective collaboration with external content creators hinges on several important factors.

These include the following.

  1. Identifying the right content creators – You need to seek out creators with credibility and authority in their respective industries. Look for those with a track record of high-quality e-learning content creation that can align with the organization’s goals and target audience. 
  2. Building strong relationships – Engage with content agencies or individuals through various channels like networking events, industry conferences, or social media platforms. It helps to build trust and rapport early to establish and foster a long-term collaborative partnership. 
  3. Maintain open communication – Clearly communicate your objectives, content requirements, and target audience to your content creator partners. By encouraging open dialogue and collaboration throughout the content creation process, you ensure a better alignment with your company’s objective, vision, and e-learning needs.  
  4. Allow creative autonomy – Many make the mistake of getting too involved in the creation process, effectively stifling creativity and progress. You should empower your external stakeholders to leverage their expertise by giving them creative control over the content creation process. You should trust their judgment and allow them to express their perspective on designing great e-learning content. 
  5. Track relevant metrics – Throughout the process, it’s good practice to track key LMS metrics like learner engagement, course completion rates, proficiency, or Net Promoter Score (NPS) results. By tracking, analyzing, and measuring these metrics, you can assess the impact of your e-learning content and determine the ROI of your collaboration and content creation efforts. 

By fostering a collaborative partnership based on trust and shared goals, companies can take advantage of the creativity and expertise of their external partners and develop engaging and relevant LMS content.

Over to you

Effective LMS content creation is essential for designing engaging and impactful online learning experiences. 

By following these best practices and leveraging the tips mentioned in this article, you can develop high-quality content that resonates with learners and can drive success. 

Whether you’re creating your online training content in-house or are outsourcing it to external creators, prioritizing learner-centricity, quality, and relevance are key to achieving desired results. 

You can also schedule a demo with Docebo today and take advantage of its many content-authoring and AI-powered capabilities designed to personalize the learning experience.