August 5, 2011

Planning to Switch to eLearning? Here are Your Options!

You have decided to switch to eLearning to meet the ever-growing training needs in your organization. That’s good, but what are the options available in that case. There are few quick solutions and there are others which pay off well in the long run… Let’s look at some of these options:

Get off-the-shelf courses – This is the easiest route for you. There are many companies who provide eLearning content off-the-shelf. They have various licensing models to suit the requirements of small and large companies. You just need to check for the suitability of the content for your organization and you are ready to roll out the courses for the employees.  This reduces the challenges of implementing eLearning to a great extent.

Then, why don’t we all follow the same model? The downside of using these courses is that you cannot customize them as per your requirement and you have to go with the generic content. Also, you won’t be able to add your own branding to the courses as they are not developed by your company. Another challenge is that it can become an expensive affair in the long run.

Take help from eLearning vendors – Looking at the downsides of using off-the-shelf courses, let’s talk about outsourcing the courses to external companies for development.  All you have to do is discuss your training requirement, objectives and other specifications with your eLearning vendor and they will create customized courses and/or deploy them for you.

This option is good, unless you have budget constraints, as here we are talking about a model, where the ROI should be beneficial for both, your company and the vendor company. Also, once created, you can’t update these courses, unless you have a maintenance contract with the vendor.

Setup an eLearning Team – Though this is the most challenging route, especially in the initial stages, it is great to have your own eLearning dream team.  This option is beneficial in the long run, as we can customize the content the way we want and maintenance also becomes easy, as we are the owners of the source files.

If this is so beneficial, why isn’t everyone setting up an eLearning team? That’s because of the nuances involved with setting it up. You have to find the right set of people with the right skillset. Get the required software and infrastructure to create great eLearning content.

Repurpose ILT – What if you already have all the training content in the form of ILT? No problem, you are not alone.  A lot of us are sailing in the same boat. So what should we do? The saviors here is the Rapid Authoring tools which help you convert the existing PPTs or slides into eLearning content.

Wow! Isn’t that quick! Hold on… this can be a quick solution but not interesting enough to hold the attention of the learners as the style and flow of ILT content may not be suitable for eLearning mode of delivery. So, you may have to do little/more tweaking. But again, it’s a quick solution…

More later… :)

These are purely my views and I would like to know your thoughts about it… Please leave a comment on this blog post to continue the discussion.

Posted by poojajaisingh9:54 PM
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  • http://twitter.com/wslashjack Jack Pierce

    Hi, Nicole!

    Saw this in your Tweet. Good solid article.

    My elearning agency, wslash, is a custom shop. We enjoy clients like Michelin, Qualcomm, Sony, Petco, Sam’s Club and Rubbermaid. Not always, but mostly we do sales elearning. It’s probably easier to measure than most. With Michelin, a few years ago we proved a hard 30% increase in sales, due strictly to our courses. In another test, this year, we showed a 20% increase in sales in Florida, for a national retailer who required our courses, only in Florida. What do you think they’ll do in 2012?

    Speaking of the bottom line, I can’t say enough about setting clear goals and then finding a way to measure them. And to your point, ROI is the right thing to concentrate on. We have clients with an ROI over 1,000 their elearning spend.

    I also agree with you that you need an elearning team in-house. You’re right that it takes some time, and a lot of effort to set up–but you’re also right that it’s worth it. Many of our clients have in-house capabilities. But there are some topics that they still need to turn to a professional outside resource.

    In repurposing ILT, one of the things we’ve learned is that you have to do the facilitator’s job–without writing out a bunch of copy. Layering copy between the essential message and drill-down content helps (need to know vs. nice to know). We also find that our 3D avatars go a long way to making elearning a social experience.

    By the way, I’m just now flying back from CES 2012 (Consumer Electronics Show) and I can tell you there’s an explosion in tablets that really work (they didn’t at the show last year).

    Our clients are consistently asking for tablet versions of our desktop courses–we even have a course we’re just starting where there will be a desktop, tablet, and smartphone version–in 16 languages. And this is important: we just did a survey of nearly 1,200 learners–78% of which said they would use an iPad as part of sales presentations in retail sales. The age of participants went from the 20s to the 60s, with the median age being 36 t0 45. Technology isn’t just for the young!

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