What to think about when planning an elearning project?
The information on these pages is based on years of experience and should help your eLearning project run smoothly and be more cost effective.
There are several models that can be used to manage a complete instructional design process, the most well known being the ADDIE model which is an acronym for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.
In the planning stage we are particularly focussing on the analysis and design and at LINC-Learning we have created a checklist of key project specifications that you can use as a baseline for your project. Please email us for the latest version of the checklist. First though you should consider these four fundamental questions:
Why do you need this training? What benefit do you hope to get from the training? For example, a product update might mean internal staff and Resellers need to know how to demonstrate, sell and support the new features, or you have identified a high call rate concerning a particular aspect of a product so some user training could dramatically reduce support calls and give a better user experience. Whatever the reason being able to define it will provide some very good guide lines for the Instructional designer to work from. It will also help you to define the metrics needed to measure the benefit and ROI.
Who is the target audience and how many will benefit from the training? There will often be a spread of audiences who will benefit from the training but you must have a primary target audience in order to determine what level the training is aimed at, what we can assume the audience will already know and whether any supporting training is required, such as concepts regarding a new technology. The size of the audience is significant too as dividing the development cost by the number of students gives you a cost per head which may be important when determining the budget.
How long before the training will be out of date or require updating? There is of course no point in investing thousands into a training course that will be out of date in a few months. New Product Training is a good example: it is often capturing a snapshot of new features in time, so assumes previous product knowledge, it has a fast turn around and must be delivered as quickly as possible, i.e. before the product ships. So New Product training is probably not a candidate for polished graphics and time consuming interactions. However, the content could be a basis for job aids, detailed ‘How to’ nuggets and updates for the ‘official’ user training courses that would be more polished and have more interactivity.
The bottom line for most projects: “how much time or money is available to spend?” If this is limited then there is no point in considering a high end piece of eLearning. In estimating budget you will need an idea of how long your eLearning will take to develop and hence the cost of development. On the next page you will find a rough guide to calculating development time.