Is it possible to develop high quality e-learning courses in a cost-effective manner? Yes, of course! You can do much, even when your e-learning budget is tight. The old saying ‘What you pay is what you get’ may not fit here. It’s not about finding cheaper ways of doing things, but making the best use of available resources. You can exploit free online resources to get the job done economically and explore other means to develop cost-effective e-learning solutions.
Here are seven simple tips to develop effective e-learning courses with nominal resources.
1. Opt for free tools
In many cases, free tools can do up to 90% of the work and share many features of commercial tools. For example, You can use ‘Audacity’, the free tool, for audio editing in online courses. Videos can be edited with Windows Movie Maker. There are numerous free graphics finding websites too. You can use all these free resources while developing an online course.
2. Select rapid authoring tools
Rapid authoring tools give you the flexibility of time by developing e-learning courses swiftly and provide a wide range of choices such as interactivities, character packs, etc. . For example, Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate provide good returns on costs. Explore and use them based on your course requirements.
You can also use free authoring tools such as Microsoft’s Learning Content Development System (LCDS), Easygenerator, LessonWriter, MOS Solo, etc. They help develop effective online learning courses within the budget. You can have more details about how to select a right authoring tool here.
3. Use E-learning templates
Using e-learning templates will ease your work and avoid ground level designing. Uploading the text, pictures, videos, and logos in a pre-designed template/theme is all you need to do to develop an online course. You will get PowerPoint master slide layouts, themes, icons, etc. in the templates. When you have readymade templates, e-learning course developers can focus on delivering high quality learning materials. You can get 10 free e-learning templates here.
4. Convert the existing course materials
Instead of developing from scratch, you can use your client’s printed materials, manuals, marketing collateral, and other resources for e-learning courses. Converting and customizing the existing learning content will make the designers’ and Subject Matter Experts’ (SMEs) job much easy. If the course material is available, you can also avoid the cost of hiring content developers.
5. Retain essential content
Covering too much content in an online module will increase your budget. So, it’s better to retain just the essential, “need to know” content for efficient cost control in e-learning development. Discussing this with the SMEs before starting the e-learning design process will help you finalize the essential content that can go into an online module/course. This will also reduce the learners’ efforts in finding the important information in the course. Framing clear learning objectives and creating assessments in line with the objectives is the key to develop your online training material precisely.
6. Rely more on in-house expertise
In-house SMEs and audio narrators/voiceover experts will reduce your e-learning developing costs considerably. Full-time SMEs are needed to review the course effectiveness and provide learning content in context.
Instead of hiring voiceover professionals for audio narration, you can choose a person from your team who can lend his voice. Recording at a studio will increase the e-learning budget. The free software ‘Audacity’ for audio editing is available. You can also choose ‘text to speech’ software. This will help you avoid voiceover costs.
7. Make courses compatible with multiple devices
Developing separate e-learning courses for various digital devices will increase your budget. Adopting responsive design for creating online courses will give optimal viewing experiences across multiple digital devices. This will save the cost of developing separate courses for each device, i.e., mobiles, iPads/tablets, desktops, laptops, etc.
Choosing the right authoring tools, getting the most out of the available skill sets and resources will create cost-effective online learning experiences in corporate training. If you follow these tips, you can achieve maximum results in e-learning with much lower budgets. Doing more with less will also interest your clients.
What other innovative ways are there to do more within the allocated budget? Do share your tips.