Successful elearning project management: technology tips

    This article aims to explore and provide some pointers on essential features for elearning project management success.

    Elearning professionals are accustomed to ensuring that elearning or content is delivered to a network of colleagues that might be based remotely (and perhaps globally). In very recent times, collaborating and communicating via online learning technology in this way has become an enforced necessity. So, what tips and best practices for online project management can be gleaned?

    Setting goals and expectations

    First, consider all of your aims, or learning outcomes, for your project(s). There may be a single aim for an elearning course – eg, ‘create and deliver a new proprietary, informative course on the launch of ‘Product X’ that achieves a 90% pass rate among the worldwide workforce by January 1st. Alternatively, a course may have multiple outcomes. Regardless, the team should be able to identify the current knowledge gap, and what success looks like at the end of the content being received by your target audience(s), whether internal or external.   Consider the following points:

    – What materials or content do you already have at your disposal?

    – Where is any useful content that can be retrieved (does your current elearning technology allow you to do this from, say, a central digital repositary)?

    – Which elearning technology tools do you currently have and are they suitable for the task at hand? Eg, do you have an adequate authoring tool, etc?

     

    Roles and responsibilities

    Identify who will be involved in the project. For instance, who will be leading the  project? Who will the subject matter experts (authors) be? How many are there? How can they work collaboratively, from different locations, with other team members performing different tasks? At project initiation detail:

    – Role assignments, to include authors, reviewers/editors, instructional designers, etc

    – Assign permissions for all of the necessary roles – can you do this in your technology? Do you have sufficient access for all of the ‘levels’ of collaborators necessary for the project?

    – Agree the relevant tasks and who will undertake them. Do the team members have sufficient capacity? Is the size of the planned team realistic? Is it necessary to identify wider members of the team should you need to create a ‘contingency’ project team?

     

    Timelines

    Set your ‘end date’ for delivery and/or completion. Is any desired ‘delivery’ date and completion date(s) realistic? Are you allowing for ‘slippage’? Are your production (content creation) schedules feasible? How can you regularly review and monitor multiple tasks and projects to check that they are on time – are your elearning project management tools sufficiently equipped with the adequate features to allow multiple users to check on this, in ‘real-time’?

     

    Learning needs assessment

    Consider your audience profile. What do you already know about them and what assumptions should you make about their knowledge-base, in the context of the course or communications you need to deliver? Will you undertake surveys, or other means to gather information on their knowledge-base? Are you dealing with a multi-generational workforce? What learning styles are you going to cater for? How personalised does your elearning content need to be? Do you need to cater for learning needs that require your content (therefore the technology that you are using) to be compliant with accessibility regulations in the relevant jurisdictions in which you are delivering content? Does your content need to be delivered via mobile channels? How will the answer to these questions affect your course design and shape your content? Is your learning technology therefore fit for purpose?

     

    Workflows

    Workflows can help take your business process and turn them into digital steps for creating content. For instance, in the eXact learning solution LCMS, the workflows function directly with roles. That is, each task in a workflow is set up to be sent to the correct person in an organization. Additionally, within the solution, roles can be connected via workflows, by providing or restricting roles and permissions. For example, if a user has a reviewer role where they cannot edit documents it is possible to set up a workflow task for them.  This should provide users with an editing permission for that certain material, specifically just for a particular task.

    Project Management Information (PMI)

    Accessing data for projects is critical for Project Managers. The type of data you are looking for includes: overall progress; Earned Value Analysis (EVA) of a project; and user progress on certain tasks. There are many other data points that are needed, which it is possible to grab, the eXact LCMS provides this flexibility to grab other types of data too. How easy it is to understand your data can be influenced by how the data is presented. The eXact LCMS can display data in customizable tiles, as shown below.

    Overview of project management in the eXact LCMS

     

    It is important to consider what kind of information do you need to see, and does your current technology allow you to retrieve it?

    Summary/Conclusion

    So, we have covered the main steps for planning to successfully project manage elearning course design and roll-out.

    You must ensure that your technology is fit for purpose. Is it scalable for the task at hand, as well as for future proofing further learning and content delivery? It is important to assess whether or not your elearning tools can handle all your requirements for managing your projects adequately. Are you expecting to use the technology in different ways in future? Will the wider features of the technology allow you to integrate future plans? Eg, are you expecting to re-brand? Can you easily retrieve all of your past learning and content to seamlessly re-brand all of your documents and content chunks? Consider your project management technology needs not just in the short-term, but also medium to long term. This will ensure that you are making the best RoI.

     

    To find out more about our award-winning, scalable, Learning Content Management System (LCMS) get in touch for a demo of our project management and workflow functionality, as well as our other ‘all-in-one’ solution features, such as our award-winning authoring, digital repository, delivery and informal learning suite then get in touch for more information or a free demo.