eLearning projects are no different than software projects. We start off with a rose-tinted vision of what we want, draw up project timelines with well defined review and response timelines, define the budgets, and then preside over the piece by piece dismantling of every assumption we made. We finally have enough people to blame for why we did not complete the project on time and within budgets. Here are some of the key issues you should watch out for before you start your eLearning project.
1. Know who your learner is and understand what exactly is needed. Perception and reality are often diametrically opposite. In an enterprise, especially one that has globally distributed learners / employees, make sure you understand their real needs first. Needs should always tie into business objectives. For example: If you are tasked with building a course on customer service, find out what gaps you intend to address. Is it poor product knowledge? Inability to pick a product to address customer requirements? Poor enforcement of returns policy? or Poor skill-gap analysis among the customer facing staff?
2. “I want an interactive course” is a great start. But the devil is in the detail. “Interaction” could have different meanings to different people. Start with the content outline and brain storm the type of interactivity you want to include. Enough time should be spent to ensure that everybody agrees on the course outline and instructional design strategy upfront. It’s always better to build sample screens and interactivity samples so that everybody is on the same page.
3. “I want a high-end course” could mean a Level 3 course or it could mean slick graphics. If the course demands high-end graphics it could mean a image-based course or animations or a combination of both. Make sure all stakeholders (business users, Subject Matter Experts, training department) are on the same page. BTW, involve the legal and the marketing teams as well. Legal may object to using certain images and words and marketing will tell you how not to use the company’s logo and other branding guidelines.
4. Figure out how you will deliver to the course to all the learners / employees that will use your “Interactive, High-end, Path-breaking Course”. Many a times, you will find that your office in Alabama has no internet connection or the connection is too slow to handle your course. Do you have a low-bandwidth version of the course ready or did you know your employees in China don’t enjoy English? And what works on one LMS will not necessarily work on other LMS platforms. If your organization has been in an acquisition spree, prepare to deal with multiple LMS platforms (good luck with that).
5. Finally, plan ahead on how you will update the course, measure feedback, incorporate changes based on feedback, and push these updates back to the learners.