Are you a NON-training professional tasked with delivering an eLearning project? It’s a trend we are observing all too often these days.

With so many corporate “right-sizing” and mergers, unfortunately the training department staff are often the first to go and last to be re-hired. Even if you have a training department, they are probably so bogged down with mandatory compliance and classroom course development and delivery, there’s probably not an experienced eLearning instructional designer available for guidance, much less available to work on your new project.

Is there hope? Yes.
Over 75% of our clients fit into the “non-training professional category. Many of them  carry real job titles like: Sales Director, Product Manager, Marketing Strategist, Environmental Engineer, or Construction Safety Manager. And guess what? They have successfully delivered online training, even on their first project because they have followed a proven plan. 

How did they do it? Here are three strategies that work.

Strategy 1: Hire an experienced eLearning instructional designer to “tag-team” the project with you.

Spend your time focusing on your strength, management, not course development. There is NO reason for a non-training professional to attempt to become a training professional overnight or within the project timeline. You were selected to lead the project, not become a content developer. If an experienced elearning instructional designer is not available from your corporate staff, hire a consultant. 

What will you do?  Spend your time focusing on managing the “corporate side”, including:

  • selection and recruitment of senior management
  • securing internal subject matter experts (SMEs) to provide accurate content
  • interviewing the “right stakeholders” (with the instructional designer) to gather project critical information
  • run interference on project roadblocks
  • keep the project moving along with the timeline and milestone deliverables

Strategy 2: Use a two-contract system instead of a traditional one-contract system to get the best bid back for the development phase.

Separate the project Design phase from the Development phases (yes, there are two) and the Deployment phase. Use the first contract to hire an experienced eLearning instructional designer to help prepare the Design Phase deliverables. 

Why choose an experienced tag-team partner?  You want someone with experience who has created many projects and can help you avoid project pitfalls.  You want someone to help you LOOK GOOD at the end of the successful project. 

By separating the project into two contracts, you are forced to decide the project scope in detail.  The four key documents to complete in the Design Phase are: The Timeline & Milestones (spreadsheet), Statement of Work (SOW) used as the proposal document, Project Plan to give to senior management for project justification, and the Course Outline that is shared with your stakeholder team at the initial Kickoff Meeting. 

By spending about 20-25% of your project time on Design Phase planning, will SAVE you 50% on staff time-on-task (SMEs will love you) and 50% on lowering production costs (your boss will love you).  By using pre-made templates on all documents will save you hours (or days) in preparing them. But most important you will have Confidence knowing the “big picture” and knowing the flow of project tasks and activities.  

Did you know how many tasks and activities in a normal eLearning project?  Over 50 Tasks and 150 Activities!  No wonder you cannot keep track of an eLearning project without a plan. 

Strategy 3: Stop SWAG bidding in it’s tracks. Quit being ripped off on eLearning budgets.

SWAG bids are the slang term for Silly Wild Ass Guess Bids.  Typically when a company puts out a training proposal they are in a time crunch and just want to get started on the project and the looming deadline.  By using the two-contract system, as explained above, you ELIMINATE SWAG bidding forever. 

How?  Because you have a specific plan for the size and scope of the project.  You will signify if there are special audio narrations, video productions, and requirements up front.  The instructional design agencies or training developers will be bidding on producing a defined number of courses, lessons (or hours) of instruction.  The companies come back with their best bids and you can easily compare apples to apples on hourly rates or reviewing their proposal examples.  

Being able to produce a well written SOW can save thousands of dollars on bids, because the agency can bid flat fee with confidence that you know what you want.  If for some reason there is a need to create an extra addendum, you can specify how that will be addressed in the SOW.  

So, there you have three strategies that you can employ on your first and every project from now on.  By following these strategies and employing a proven plan will help you earn the title of Super eLearning Hero at your company.  

Want to learn more on how to consistently deliver eLearning projects on-time and budget? 
Want to get a ROI of $5K-$25K on your first project?
Want to get up to speed on completing Design Phase tasks in two short 90-minute training sessions? 
Check out >  eLearning Management Academy (eMA) Bootcamp 

Article Author:
V. Karen Miller, M.Ed.  CEO, Design2Train  |  eMA Bootcamp Author
Karen is an industry award-winning instructional designer with corporate global delivery experience. She founded Design2Train in 2001 and is based in The Woodlands, TX.  Her “Tiger-Team” approach to eLearning development matches the right experienced instructional designers and content developers to the project.  Her teams have successfully produced hundreds of eLearning to corporate and government agencies.  Design2Train is a federally certified WOSB. 

For More Information:
Contact Karen at:  Miller@Design2Train  or  Office: 281-367-1282