eLearning Project Management: Puzzle Solved

Announcing the Replay (No-Signin) of the
knowbly™ Rapid eLearning Series: eLearning Project Management: Puzzle Solved

Have you ever wondered why many eLearning projects fail? Join V. Karen Miller, CEO of Design2Train, for tips and best-practices on solving the project management puzzle.

  • Learn how YOU can manage your eLearnings project with confidence!
  • Learn how to save up to 50% on production costs on every eLearning project.
  • Learn why Karen has chosen knowbly™ as her new “go to” courseware development tool.
  • Come prepared to learn and ask questions!

> View the webinar replay here

About the Presenter
V. Karen Miller – CEO, Design2Train
Karen has spent years perfecting the eLearning development process, from smaller less complex projects to corporate national and global eLearning initiatives. Karen user her 25+ years of industry experience to train others on her process and best practices.

Note: All webinar attendees are eligible for earning one hour of certified professional education (CPE) Texas Education Agency credit from Design2Train, a certified TEA Education Provider.

This is the first in a series of webinars: “What You Need to Know: Effective Rapid eLearning Development“. For more information about knowbly, email steve.case@coxec.com.

eLearning Project Management

eLearning Project Management

eLearning Project Management
The Design2Train team is an experienced group of eLearning professionals who can coach you on how to quickly convert existing classroom training but ALSO how to MANAGE the eLearning project to save time and money.

We help you build your success eLearning roadmap. Our consulting rates are affordable and we can work remotely or on-site at your location.   Questions? Let’s Talk 

eLearning Project Success

Converting ILT to eLearning

Converting ILT to eLearning

Ready to Convert Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to eLearning
The Design2Train team is an experienced group of eLearning professionals who can coach you on how to quickly convert existing classroom training but ALSO how to MANAGE the eLearning project to save time and money.

We help you build your success eLearning roadmap. Our consulting rates are affordable and we can work remotely or on-site at your location.   Questions? Let’s Talk 

eLearning Project Success

Creating a Training Plan

Creating a Training Plan

Need help preparing your new training plan? 
The Design2Train team is an experienced group of training professionals who can assist you and your team with preparing a workable training plan that prioritizes and places emphasis on what is important to you.

Whether you are new to the training job or an experienced professional, it can help to have an outside expert assessment to help to complete the plan.  Our consulting rates are affordable and we can work remotely or on-site at your location. 

Questions? Let’s Talk 

eLearning Project Management Tip #12: Contributors vs Stakeholders

eLearning Project Management Tip #12: Contributors vs Stakeholders

What is the difference between Contributors and Stakeholders on an eLearning Project Management Team?

Contributors are team members with whom you will normally meet with once, but their knowledge is critical to project success. Examples of contributors could include:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Training Manager (if not directly involved in the project)
  • LMS Administrator /Webmaster
  • Audio Narrator
  • Videographer / Video Editor

Each of these contributors has one special expertise that they bring to the project.

Stakeholders are actively involved in the daily operations of the eLearning project.  They have “skin in the game” and are very interested in making sure the program is successful.   Examples of stakeholders includes:

  • Senior management (Supervisor and “Champion” VP or Director)
  • Subject matter experts (SMEs)
  • Instructional Designer
  • Content Developer
  • Graphics Artist

The combination of contributors and stakeholders changes with each project, but their contributions are essential to the eLearning project being delivered on-time and budget, while meeting instructional goals.

Want to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of SMEs?  Checkout the free (no-sign-in) five minute video “Congrats, You’re an SME” at www.emabootcamp.com

eLearning Project Management Tip #10: Contributors and Their Role

eLearning Project Management Tip #10: Contributors and Their Role

eLearning Learning Best Article


In the Design Phase… Contributors provide specialized resources. You will normally meet with contributors only one time.  Who you choose as project contributors depends entirely upon the content of your training.

 

Here are some different types of contributors you might want to consider:  NOTE: If you work for a multi-national corporation, in addition to local product managers, equally important are national, regional and geographic field managers who can be helpful to bringing a “bigger picture perspective”.

Global Training Leaders can also offer suggestions on how to “localize content” by recommending alternative wording, graphics or people pictures that are more culturally sensitive for distribution to specific regions or countries. The training manager can recommend these training leaders.  If you are offering training in multi-languages, these training leaders are critical for identifying good regional SME language and cultural translators.

A Product Engineer is mandatory if your training includes specifications, preventative maintenance, tear-down procedures and / or product replacement parts.  Based upon training requirements you might even want to consider and include a product engineer to serve as a SME.

Safety Officers – are a necessity if you are creating technical or job training that includes working at height, climbing, operating machinery, chemical usage, or other workplace safety issues.  They are experts on: personal protective equipment (PPE), safe operating procedures, federal regulations, OSHA, and company policies regarding safe product usage.

Chemistry Lab Technicians –  are helpful because they are on the front line completing real-life testing situations and can provide excellent content for graphics and videos. They may also have an informal lab safety manual for you to reference.

A Customer Service Manager is mandatory if training deals with people who support customers.  Take time to ask what are the best training formats for Customer Service representatives to use on the job. You will want to create training in the easiest formats for them to use as workplace references. Ask the manager if its possible to assign an experienced representative to serve as a contributor to share some “real life case scenarios” to make the training relevant.

An Outside Expert such as a manufacturing representative can provide can provide: product specifications, product photos, preventative maintenance recommendations, tear-down procedures,  and / or replacement part numbers. Their product specifications add value in the training as well as great reference materials.

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This tip is part of the eLearning Manaqgement Academy ( eMA) Bootcamp program.  If you found this tip useful, learn more and view an SME onboarding video (no signup) at: www.eMAbootcamp.com

eLearning Project Tip #9:  How to Manage Three Common People-Related Problems

eLearning Project Tip #9: How to Manage Three Common People-Related Problems

Managing an eLearning Project can just be overwhelming especially since it involves two key elements: people and technology. Here is how to address three common problems that project managers face on all eLearning projects. 

• Managing People Inside & Outside Your Department 
Solution: Each project is unique and therefore each leadership team will be configured differently.  The typical leadership team consists of you as the Project Manager, your supervisor and a Director or VP as your “Project Champion”.

Meet with your Supervisor weekly to discuss any potential project little snags or issues, so they do not grow from issues into problems. It is always better to seek advice BEFORE it becomes a real problem.  Don’t wait until the last minute and think it will go away, it won’t, even if it goes quiet it will come back to haunt you later.

Remember that what might seem to be a big issue for you, is not from your Supervisor or Champion’s level. Your issue might be resolved by a quick phone call or short email to another senior management colleague. Let your Supervisor or Champion handle issues “above your paygrade’’. Your main role, as project manager is to provide overall project leadership and work with the senior instructional designer so they can get the training developed.

• Choosing The Right Stakeholders 
Solution: Stakeholders is the term we use for the key people you will work with to provide the content and services to make the project happen. They may perform one or more services on the project. The moment you have gotten management project approval, is a good time to start stakeholder selection.

How many stakeholders should you include? As many as needed to ensure all project bases are covered in providing the right kind of content to ensure eLearning project success.  You just want the best people on the project to produce the best eLearning product.

• How to Lead People Who Develop Course Content
Solution: Whether internal or consultant content developers are utilized, they should take direction from the Sr. instructional designer. A typical eLearning project could make use of multiple content developers depending upon the timeline and specialized skills.

Content developers perform many roles. They create the PowerPoint (PPT) templates according to specifications, add bullet points, graphics, and speaker notes. Then also edit and add audio narration files and video segments to the PPT.  After final approval, the content developer compiles the PPT into a SCORM format Mp4 video format ready for uploading to the LMS server.

You need someone who is knowledgeable of all of these processes to accomplish these tasks with knowledge and confidence.  That is why it is important to tag-team with your instructional designer so they can handle the instructional side of eLearning development.

If you found this tip useful, check out the free SME onboarding video (no signup) at: www.eMAbootcamp.com

eLearning Project Tip 8: Stop SWAG Bids, Save $$$

eLearning Project Tip 8: Stop SWAG Bids, Save $$$

eLearning Learning Best Article


eLearning Project Tip 8: Stop SWAG Bids, Save $$$

How do you control costs and become the company eLearning hero?
By stopping SWAG bids and breaking the traditional one contract system into two! What?

Instead of putting out the traditional one contract training development bid and hoping companies will give you best pricing, turn the tables to your favor. Use a two contract system.

Contract One: Hire an Experienced eLearning Instructional Designer if one is not available in your company. Work through the Design Phase together to build the training project scope.

Your Design Phase Deliverables should include creating four key documents: Timeline & Milestones, Statement of Work (SOW), Project Plan, and Course Outline.

Contract Two: Solicit bids using the SOW for the Development Phase and stop SWAG bids forever. Using this tip, along with following detailed checklists will save your project up to 50% in staff time-on-task and production costs on your FIRST project.

Once you have implemented the system, “rinse and repeat” for more savings on all future projects.

If you found this tip useful, check out the free SME onboarding video (no signup) at: www.eMAbootcamp.com

How Important is the Design Phase?

How Important is the Design Phase?

eLearning Learning Best Article


How important is the Design Phase in producing a high quality online training (eLearning, wbt, cbt) program? The Design Phase is critical.

Why?  The Design Phase is both the instructional and technical foundation of the finished product.  If you get the Design Phase completed properly, you have a detailed road map to drive the Development and Deployment phases. If you do not complete the Design Phase the right way, you will end up with cost-overruns of re-work, redefining the project scope, and lots of stress.

How do you know if you have completed the Design Phase properly?  Many novices think that if they have a template picked out and a general topic defined they have met the requirements.  No, that is not enough. So what is the goal?  There are three defined objectives that must be met in the Design Phase.  They are:

1. Selection of the Project Team: From the Sr. Management to the content developers, you must name the people that will be stakeholders and contributors.  Knowing who you will work with and their specific roles and responsibilities is important.  Many teams are now a mixture of internal staff and external consultants.  If this is your first project, save time by dealing with one point of contact and consider hiring an Instructional Design Agency rather than single consultants. It’s less paperwork, hassle, and you have a team ready to go.

Identify Existing Information, Data and Information Gaps: Whether you are “recycling” an existing classroom training program or starting a new program, it is critical to gather all of the relevant documentation to sift and sort upfront.The Instructional Designer and the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are responsible for completing this task.  While this does take time to complete, it will save so much time on the back-end, if new information suddenly appears or if you realize that critical information was left out.Need to Know and Good to Know: It’s critical to define what information needs to be taught.  We call this info separation,  Need to Know and Good to Know.  Need to Know becomes part of the course lessons, Good to Know is great to add as a resource library for those who want to take a deeper dive into the information.

What types of information will be included?  it really is a decision on the SME, but they would typically want to review can include:  white papers, manufacturing specifications, product marketing and sales information and even previous training programs. Just as important is knowing the “information gaps” where critical key points have been left out or new information needs to be added.  The information needed depends entirely upon what the SME determines is critical for learner audiences to learn and demonstrate competency when completing the course.

2. Design Phase Deliverables – Four Key Documents: After researching and determining the types of information that need to be included, it is time to create the four document deliverables for the Design Phase.The four documents are Timeline & Milestones (your daily project management tool). The Timeline & Milestones is critical to your success. Get this right and your project easily falls into place. Ignore it, get it wrong or put if off until later and you will suffer project pain, delays and potential failure.

The Statement of Work is used to provide a proposal document if you are having external instructional design agencies bidding on work.The Project Plan is created for your senior management as an overview and budgeting tool. Finally the Course Outline is shared with everyone at the Stakeholder Kickoff Meeting to give the vision and introduce team members.

All of these document (Statement of Work, Project Plan, and Course Outline) contain information from the Timeline & Milestones, so you see how critical that document really is?

3. How much time should the Design Phase take? For example, a finished 8-10 hour eLearning course would typically takes about 80 hours of Design Phase research and document preparation (if you are using templates to prepare the four key documents, if not add on another 40 hours).  Expect the Design Phase to be about 20% of the entire project budget.

Now would you agree the Design Phase is truly is the important phase of the eLearning 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   www.emabootcamp.com 

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

Tasked with eLearning?

Tasked with eLearning?

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 
www.emabootcamp.com 

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