3 Questions to Consider Before Developing New eLearning
Developing new eLearning is a big undertaking. While it may be tempting to dive right in and start designing, it’s important to answer several critical questions first. Having a solid grasp on your goals and resources keeps the project on target and getting these answers early on gives you the information you need to create a detailed plan. With that in mind, here are some general questions, and some specific ones, you should ask before you begin.
Why are you considering developing this eLearning?
eLearning courses do not exist in a vacuum; they’re designed to address needs, wants, and requirements. Knowing why a specific offering is being considered lets you focus on the training’s purpose and gauge possible perception of the training. Related questions include:
- Is it mandatory training?
- Did the board or managers decide that it needs to be offered?
- Did your learners request it?
- Is this an update to an existing training?
- Does it introduce a new procedure or product?
Do you already have all the content you need?
You can’t make a course without content. Whether you already have what you need, or not, makes a big difference in the production process. Even if you think you have everything, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to add something along the way. It’s important to keep track of your content so it’s easy to find, use, and update. Related questions include:
- Is the content current?
- If you need to add or replace content, where will you go for new material?
- Do you need to bring in a Subject Matter Expert to clarify or supplement the content?
- Do you need to get permission or legal rights to use any of the content?
- If the training will include multimedia, where are you getting the assets from and will they be an acceptable size and quality?
What limitations do you have to work with?
It would be great to have unlimited time and resources for creating the best eLearning humanly possible. Unfortunately, that’s not an opportunity most training departments or eLearning developers will ever have. Limitations may be a harsh reality, but they help you scale projects accordingly and focus on the key content. Related questions include:
- Who are the learners and what’s the best way to teach them the skill or information?
- What’s the budget?
- When is the deadline (or deadlines if there’s more than one for the project)?
- What requirements does the training need to meet (SCORM compliance, a certain maximum bandwidth, a time limit, accreditation standards such as CME, etc.)?
- What software is available to you, do you know how to use it, and what can it do?
This isn’t a complete list, but it’s a place to start. If you get answers to questions like these before you start designing, it will be much easier to anticipate and avoid road blocks. Okay, so this was more than three questions. But knowing the reasoning, content, and limits associated with an eLearning project help you make the big decisions down the road. Do you have a story about a time when a lack of pre-planning came back to haunt you? How did you work around it? Let me know.
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