There is a science and an art to designing effective eLearning solutions. The science calls for applying proven theories on learning. These theories guide initial design and implementation, as well as ongoing research evaluating effectiveness and identifying opportunities for improvement.
Two frameworks are central in my approach toward building effective learning solutions:
Universal Design for Learning
Universal design for learning (UDL) tells us how to leverage technology to support the needs of diverse learners, including those with disabilities. It provides a framework for understanding what individuals bring to the learning process so we can minimize obstacles and increase learning opportunities. This framework is based on neuroscientific and cognitive understanding of the learning process. UDL was developed in the 90's by CAST*, which continues to spearhead its development and application.
*Bob has worked and collaborated with CAST since 2000.
Evidence-centered design (ECD) provides a detailed framework and process for designing and building assessments that evaluate complex knowledge, skills, and abilities in a consistent and scalable fashion. The ECD approach applies not only to testing, but to instructional designs that incorporate evaluation of learning, such as adaptive learning. ECD was pioneered by Bob Mislevy and colleagues in the 90's. An excellent introduction to ECD is provided by Val Shute and colleagues at Florida State University.