July 8th, 2013 E-Learning

implementation-planImplementing any type of elearning program can appear daunting, no matter what the size of the organization.  I have worked on a variety of implementations, ranging from international programs to very centralized, but each still came with their unique a set of challenges.

This being the case, it is always good to have a general plan in place so as to maximize the success of your elearning program.  Sure, there will be unique components for your particular project, but these 10 areas will ensure that you cover the major items so as to avoid the bigger problems down the road.  When implementing your elearning program, you should do the follow:

1. Clarify Your Goals: Before you begin building anything, you need to clearly define the goals for the elearning program. Getting this right will lend itself to step number two.

2. Define Scope: With your goals in place, you now need to define the scope of the project.  Many implementations suffer from what is known as “scope creep”, which is just a fancy way of saying “getting off track”.  Carefully define the scope so that it is in line with your organizational goals.

3. Recruit Talent: Whether it is within your organization, or outside, you need to recruit talented people for the implementation.  Create a core group of key stakeholders to manage the goals/scope process, then from there identify the individuals that will be involved in gap-fit analysis, project management, implementation team, corporate communications, and so on.

4. Consider Partners: If it makes sense, find partners internally or externally for developing content, or even in the more technical set-up.  For example, perhaps it makes sense to partner with your I.T. department in a greater capacity because you’ll need them for testing and set-up of the LMS.  Or, if you are a school, perhaps you partner with another school district to split costs and responsibility for set-up and content development.

5. Pick a Platform: What mechanism will you use to deliver your elearning?  What tools will you rely upon to create your elearning?  These are critical questions that need to be answered up-front so that you can effectively estimate and manage the project budget.

6. Define a Budget: Before pressing “GO”, you need to define the budget so that you know what tools you can explore, estimate the lifespan of the project, etc.  Make sure you build in some contingency at this point because you will see that costs can add up quickly.

7. Mind Quality Assurance: Throughout the entire project, and even after implementation, you need to have a means for quality assurance.  This includes the building of courses, installing and running the LMS, future updates (technical and structural), among others.  You should have quality phase-gates built into the different phases of your project so that you maintain high program standards, remain in-scope and on budget.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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Hi Justin:
I am amazed at all the actual responses that you make. When I read the steps above, I am beginning to wonder if it is possible to use LearnDash in a very “small” way without being corporate? I am a professor, and a certified online instructor, but I want to teach some of my own material on my own website for learners who may not want to sit in a classroom with young students, do not care about getting credits, but want short and concise focused instruction (courses) on various content – and they may not even care about getting a certificate (though I do think this upgrade is really a good thing). And MOOCS are not what I want to offer.

Avatar Alana Jolley

Hi Alana-
Thank you for the comment. If you don’t mind me saying, your situation is a perfect one for LearnDash as it’s a great way to get your feet wet with online learning (and a “blended learning” format for your classes). You don’t need to use all the features straight away, but slowly integrate them over time. Encourage participation through comments on the courses/lessons, perhaps even some sort of extra credit (?), or online assignments. There are a ton of possibilities, and with your background in being an online certified instructor, I’m sure you have better ideas than I do for making it an effective means of learning 🙂

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