10 eLearning Time-Saving Tips To Adopt Now


The Rolling Stones crooned "You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need". Who would have thought that Micky and the gang could relate to one of the most common issues facing Instructional Designers? i.e., Lack of time.

Turns out, time—like rock idols—is a finite resource. So, instead of wishing for extra hours, here are a few eLearning time-saving tips. No matter the project, with a few tweaks to your processes and your perspective, you’ll find you have all the time you need.

1. Audit Your Time

Before you can find ways to save time, you must first determine how you’re wasting it. To discover your time-wasting habits, spend a day studying the way you’re spending your time. Is half your day spent on busywork?

Is actual course creation a blip on your radar? Identify your weak spots. And then, work to improve those.

2. Plan, Prioritize, Program

At TalentLMS, we’ve noticed that customers who plan carefully, save on course development time and produce higher quality training courses too. We came up with the 3Ps as part of our eLearning time-saving tips.


Make a list of everything you need to do. Do you have to assess a current course? Put it on the list. Create a new module? Return an email? List everything. Next, break down each item even further by listing every step you need to take to complete the task.


Use a low, medium, high priority scale to carefully plan in which order you’ll complete your tasks. Take note: High priority does not mean "urgent". Because urgent does not necessarily mean important. Make sure to work on important tasks first.


Assign a date, and allocate a set time to complete each task, by order of priority, into your schedule. Before you start your day each morning, study your list, and pick the items you will work on that day.

3. Compress Your Time

So, you think you don’t have enough time? Could it be that you have open deadlines? Instead of only using a single end of the project deadline, set constraints, and challenge yourself to complete a task in a specific block of time.

As you make this a habit, start blocking out shorter time periods than you think you’ll need. This type of "working against the clock" makes work more fun, makes you more creative, and saves time.

4. Always Storyboard

Ask any 10 seasoned Instructional Designers for eLearning time-saving tips and 9 of them will answer "Always storyboard". For the uninitiated, storyboarding is a way to plan out all the steps of your online course before you begin developing any of your content or adding it to your Learning Management System.

How does storyboarding work? Outline everything your course will need: visuals, text, audio, navigation, knowledge checks, test placement, and other course elements.

By planning your entire course, you’ll save time on 2 processes down the road. Team members or stakeholders can provide feedback in the early stages when it’s easier (and faster) to change.

And it’s an excellent time-saver when you’re creating your course inside your LMS because you’ll have done most of the heavy-lifting already.

5. Make Templates

Work smarter, not longer. And nothing is smarter than a template. You create it once and then reuse it again and again. What can you template? Virtually anything.

Some course developers template the outline of an entire course because a significant portion of courses will have a similar structure, e.g., Welcome, instructions, objectives, module, module check, module summary, etc.

If you haven’t dipped your toes into templating yet, look back over the work you’ve done over the last six months. Find areas where you have repeated the same structure or the same content. Template it.

Cut down on your eLearning development time by thinking ahead: When you’re creating anything new build it as if you will use it again.

6. Reuse Content

There are plenty of eLearning time-saving tips that will help you work smarter and faster, but the one we love at TalentLMS is reusing your content. (That’s the reason we’ve made it so easy to import any file into a course.)

For example, remember the course you created last year? Or the video you made for introducing a new concept? This is all content you can re-use. You may not be able to use all as is, but you may be able to use its structure.

Find material you can re-use or alter slightly, and you’ll be shaving of minutes. And if you use some of our other time-saving tips, the minutes will quickly add up.

7. Don’t Memorize, Standardize

Look, you’re not an elephant. There is only so much information you can remember at one time. Instead of relying on your imperfect grey matter, use calendars, notepads, and checklists.

When a new idea or responsibility pops up that you’ll need to do in the future, write it down, and then get back to the task you were working on.

Using checklists is also one of the more efficient eLearning time-saving tips. Use them for any part of course development that has the same steps. Unlike a template, a checklist should include all the steps or processes you need to do for any given task.

Make it a habit, and a checklist will help you work through each step quicker.

8. Avoid Multi-Tasking

Do you ever find yourself researching content, refining learning objectives, uploading a new course and having lunch -all at the same time? Stop it. Unless you’re working on a mindless task, multi-tasking is not the way to be more productive. And it is not a part of eLearning time-saving tips!

Rather work in batches. For example, check your email twice a day only. Or pick one day to record voiceovers for videos. This way your brain is focused on one task and will perform it faster, and you’ll save time.

9. Build Shorter Courses

The reason you’re developing a course is to train your employees to do their job better. They shouldn’t have to spend more time than is necessary away from doing that job.

As an Instructional Designer, your task is to train them and get them back to work as soon as possible. How? Create shorter courses. Not only are shorter courses quicker to complete from the learner's’ perspective but they can be a huge time-saver for you too.

Note: Einstein once said, in effect, that everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler!

Your short course should not be so short and simple that your learners won’t gain the relevant knowledge.

10. Choose An Intuitive LMS

Finally, choose the right Learning Management System for even more time-saving. An easy-to-use LMS, like TalentLMS, saves time because you won’t have to spend hours trying to understand how it works. And with an intuitive navigation system, you’ll find the feature you’re looking for quickly.

Wrapping up

Bottom line, as an Instructional Designer, you’ll rarely have all the time you want. But if you follow a few of our eLearning time-saving tips, you’ll soon see you have all the time you need to produce a quality product.

By Nikos Ventouras