Checklist for critiquing elearning

by | Apr 20, 2020 | Uncategorized

A colleague asked me to critique and provide feedback on an asynchronous elearning course she had designed and was about to launch.
I’ve been designing elearning courses for almost a decade but had never formally critiqued someone else’s work before. I’ve certainly seen lots of terrible elearning.

I’ve created some tips for designing programs for virtual delivery. If you’re looking at redesigning for virtual delivery, I hope these tips help!


And, I’ve talked with friends in other professions who grouse about elearning they have to complete as part of their company’s annual compliance training. One friend shared that her favourite elearning course was one where she could press ‘play,’ walk off to make dinner, then return to complete (and pass) the quiz.

“Not very effective.” 

So when asked to critique my colleague’s elearning course, I accepted the challenge. I started by considering the components that contribute to a quality elearning course:

  • Interactivity.
  • Multimedia – images, music, video.
  • Strong visual design.
  • Accessibility.
  • A story or emotional ‘hook’ to engage the learner.
  • Adult learning principles, including learner control.
  • Clear objective – what will the employee be able to do after completing the course? As much as learning professionals love learning objectives, it should be more about how the course will change performance.

I also referred to the Institute for Performance and Learning (I4PL) competencies for Learning Professionals.

I created a template or checklist I could use to evaluate my colleague’s elearning course and provide her with helpful feedback. These are the areas I focused on and some of the feedback I identified:

  • The overall visual design was clean and not cluttered.
    It’s important to pay attention to colour combinations. Red and green are challenging for people who are colour blind. Small font is challenging for those of us who are middle-aged!
  • The interface and functionality were smooth – the learner knew where to click on each page.
    Be sure to QA your course in different browsers and on different devices (e.g., tablet, mobile and computer) to make sure you don’t get any error messages. This is especially important if your course includes links to external sites.
  • The course was pretty linear, which could be frustrating for a younger, tech-savvy employee.
    Try to follow adult learning principles and incorporate learner control where you can.

In Ontario, we have AODA (Accessibility for Ontario Disability Act), which outlines some pretty specific accommodations that need to be incorporated into elearning courses. I encourage you to educate yourself on the requirements in your area to ensure you meet the accessibility needs of your audience.

If you would like a copy of the template I created, please click on the button below. Let me know how you’re able to use it to create more impactful elearning courses.

Curious to learn more?

If you want to learn a bit more about my background, here are some projects where I have designed elearning:

Here is some information on some of the services I provide.

  • Designing elearning courses that engage learners.
  • Designing training courses that focus on changing performance and aligning with your business needs.
  • Coaching individual leaders and their teams.

Check out the other services I provide to clients to help them improve employee performance.

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Hannah Brown

I help close the gap between formal training from learning and development and leaders fostering learning on their teams to embed it into their DNA.