E-Learning Design and Development

Dr. Beatty has worked as an e-learning designer since 2000, fulfilling roles as instructional designer, project manager, and project (course) director. He was a founding member of Option Six, Inc. (now a division of General Physics Corp.).

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Brian occasionally teaches graduate courses in E-Learning Development in the Instructional Technologies MA and training certificate programs at San Francisco State University, and oversees academic technology functions and services as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Operations and Senior Academic Technology Officer (SATO) at SF State.

Brian's design work includes award-winning courses created for Microsoft, Eli ELearning SampleLilly Co., Fort Hill Company, The Chasm Group, and many others. Whether you are just beginning an e-learning project, or you are trying to assess the effectiveness of an existing program, Brian may be able to help you realize maximum value from your investment in e-learning.

In addition to assisting organizations in designing successful e-learning, Brian also offers workshops to help trainers begin or enhance their e-learning efforts.

Current Workshops:

A Strategic Look at E-Learning
Choose e-learning wisely - one size does not fit all

Strategy ChessboardKnowing that e-learning is the right choice to solve your performance issues is something you should be convinced of before investing resources in building or deploying an e-learning program. Projecting an expected return on your investment will help you make that decision wisely. Once you are sure that e-learning is the right choice, you’ll need to figure out what type of e-learning to use, and how you can make it memorable, motivating, and meaningful to learners. Take away a brief but compelling rationale for choosing e-learning and develop a plan for turning your strategic vision into reality.

E-Learning Tactics
What should e-learning include?

E-learning can include any electronically delivered media imaginable, and even E-learning coursemore. What specific materials will you need to include? What activities should learners complete in order to reach training objectives? How can the e-learning design support effective learning at any scale? Answering these questions for your situation will help you bring a strategic e-learning vision to life. Take away a customized framework of media elements and specific activities that will allow your training to achieve strategic goals.

Critiquing E-Learning
Is it any good?

Looking at samples of award-winning e-learning products, we’ll deconstruct the Binocularsdesigns and critique the solutions. Knowing what has worked well (or maybe not so well) in other places will help you make solid design decisions when developing or purchasing your own e-learning solutions. Take away a framework for evaluating any e-learning product along the characteristics you value most.

Usability Testing
Not an afterthought, but a critical step for project success

Testing your e-learning solution before rolling it out is even more critical than pre-release testing in other training settings, due to the unique combination of Types of Usability Testsfeatures that characterize most e-learning. The aspects of e-learning that provide maximum training value (scale, time-independence, individualization, flexible delivery) also lead to serious risks when problems are not identified and fixed before roll-out. Learn how usability (a.k.a. pre-release, or formative) testing can save you time and money when done well. Take away a plan for testing e-learning in your setting to make sure it is able to meet your audience's learning needs and expectations.

Evaluating Return on Expectations and ROI
Are you making an impact?

After an e-learning has been rolled out, how can you evaluate its impact? Unless ROIyou evaluate impact, at all appropriate levels, you can't know whether expectations have been met and whether the desired ROI (return on investment) has been realized. Learn how to evaluate impact at Kirkpatrick's Levels 1 through 4, and expand this to include basic participation (level 0) and ROI (level 5). Take away a plan for specific measurement of impact, for shaping e-learning designs to support your evaluation needs.

Custom workshops in these or other topics can be arranged. Contact us for details.

Flexible, Adaptive Design

Brian believes strongly in flexible, adaptable design. No two clients, trainers or students are exactly alike; the same training experience often leads to different learning outcomes in each participant.

Flexible Spring

Effective instruction has to be flexible so that it can adapt to the unique needs of each participant. Be creative - think outside of your training box! You'll find a lot of learning happening there.

Respect the Learning Process

If you think carefully about how you learn, you will realize that any single training event is not sufficient to bring about significant learning. Focusing your training efforts only on the training event is woefully shortsighted!

Happy Learners

Learning is a process: begin with preparing to learn, continue with specific training events (experiences) and finish with follow-through after training. If you cut off the front or back end, you cut off much of the potential power that training has to change knowledge and improve performance.

Is Training Really Needed?

No matter who you are, what you do, or where you've come from, you have experienced training that was unecessary. It may have been in a formal school, training program, or in a social organization... the fact is, much of our education and training efforts are wasted - imagine the cost!


To prevent this, you have to take the time to be sure that training is really needed to solve the problem or take advantage of the opportunity you see in front of you. Don't waste time, money, and other resources training, when you aren't convinced that training can help.