Get Started with eLearning

So You Want to Get Started With eLearning Development

I love developing eLearning! It’s one of my favorite parts of my job. I developed my first Camtasia video as a library intern, and then dove deep into Camtasia, Storyline, and Adobe Captivate as a student in my master of educational technology program.

Now, I use Camtasia and Storyline regularly to design info lit and library research tutorials for my library. I also occasionally use Adobe Captivate, and I teach Captivate as an instructor in Cal State Fullerton’s Master of Instructional Design and Technology program.

Learning the software can be tough – but it’s only half the battle. No matter how much of a pro you are at your authoring software of choice, if you aren’t following good design practices and proven learning theory, your tutorials aren’t going to be an effective learning experience.

If you feel like pursuing a certificate or master’s in instructional design or educational technology – you should!!

No time or money for that? Read on for suggestions on how to become a better designer!

Good Design

To that end, I’ve got several recommendations for educating yourself on effective design. First, get started with learning about good design and how people learn. Then, learn about how people navigate online content and visual content.

Only then should you be producing eLearning content!

All About Good Design

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

The Design of Everyday Things
This book seriously changed how I view the world! I HIGHLY recommend reading it.

How People Learn


Design for How People Learn
This book is well illustrated and breaks down the basics of how the brain works!

How People Navigate Online Spaces

Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter)

Don’t Make Me Think
This book focuses on web usability. Your tutorials are going to be web-based. READ IT

Effective Visual Design


Non-Designer’s Design Book (This book breaks down the basics of graphic design so that you can create effective layouts).

Bonus Reading


Designing Interfaces (Your tutorial is really just an interface your learners will use – you’d better make it usable!)

Have you read all of those? Good!

I also recommend getting a handle on copyright – don’t just copy and paste images you find on the web without considering the legalities first. Here’s a great video I recommend watching: Copyright or Wrong? A Brief Guide to Finding and Using Online Images. 

You may also like my Instructional Design Toolkit, which contains several free and open places to get media!

Now, and only now, it’s time to move onto learning authoring software: