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Developing REAL E-learning: Get The Best in A 30 Minute Interview

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Developing REAL E-learning: Get The Best in A 30 Minute Interview

How can you create an effective eLearning course? What does it take to create a good online course that has a high impact on the learner? How can you build an excellent course, in quick time, spending minimal financial resources? Well, you need to understand stakeholders’ needs clearly.

All you need to know about why you have to develop this eLearning course can be learned with a 30 minute interview with the stakeholder, and you will be ready to develop a course.

Before I share the questions you need to ask the stakeholder, let us see who the stakeholder is and who is not.

Stakeholder can be:

  • A sales manager who is looking to train his sales people on the products and selling process
  • A supply chain manager who is looking to impart six-sigma training for all employees
  • An HRIS manager who wants to train employees on the latest employee performance management tool like Workday
  • An eLearning manager who likes to blend eLearning with their existing ILT programs to deliver induction training for new hires
  • A subject-matter expert (SME) or trainer who wishes to convert their existing training material into online courses

Stakeholder is NOT:

  • An eLearning project manager who is in charge of developing eLearning courses in his organization
  • The CLO or a top C Level executive who is responsible for approving training budgets.

Once we identify the stakeholder, asking questions in a quick 30 minute interview will help us get the best of the eLearning budget. I have also shared sample responses from the stakeholders, and you will see how these quick questions help us learn so much about the need. 

First 10 minutes – Understand the Business Need

It is very important that you understand the business need to develop an eLearning course, in the first 10 minutes. Here are some questions:

  1. What is the existing business problem that you want to solve?
  2. How will this course help solve the problem?
  3. Does this course need to cater to a global audience?
  4. Does this eLearning course have some strategic launch date? 

Sample Scenario: Sales Manager Speaks 

As a regional sales manager of a pharmaceutical company, I am responsible for the development of online curriculum for new hires. We recruit more than 500 sales representatives every year. 

As the sales representatives need to meet doctors and introduce our drugs to them, it is important the new hires get a good knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the human system. Then they need to be trained on all products and drug usage. 

Presently, the training happens in the classroom and takes about 6 to 8 weeks away from work. This involves logistics and the time needed for the trainers and learners to travel. It is very inconvenient and costly.

As our company has a global presence, we would like our courses to be translated into 8 major languages.

We would like to launch these courses in the first quarter.


Second 10 minutes – Understanding the Learner and Outcomes 

The next important thing is to understand the learner and what the stakeholder is trying to accomplish by this eLearning course. Here are some questions that help us achieve this. 

  1. Who are the primary audiences? What are their educational qualifications?
  2. What are the learning objectives of the course?
  3. What is the learner required to do after he takes the course?
  4. How is the present strategy used while teaching in the classroom?

Sample Scenario: Sales Manager Speaks 

The learners include new hires as well as the members of the existing sales team. Some of the new hires are science graduates while the others have a commerce background 

We are looking for a blended solution where learners can take online pre-classroom sessions. Learners can also use these courses as a quick refresher. 

We aim to educate all learners on the basic functions of each organ. What are the symptoms of diseases? How can our drug help in curing the disease? What is the dosage and side effects of drugs? 

We want the learners to apply this learning while dealing with doctors. This training should also act as a ready reckoner. 

Currently, senior sales managers directly train teams through a detailed PowerPoint presentation which is approved by the medical staff. Then, they have a formal assessment.


Third 5 minutes – Technical Requirement

Sometimes, the stakeholder may not be aware of these technical requirements. You can educate him and ask if he can get these details from the IT department.

  1. Where will the course be hosted?
  2. What are the devices and browsers that the course should be compatible to?

Sample Scenario: Sales Manager Speaks 

We use Moodle, an open source LMS to manage all our learning. The courses need to be SCORM 1.2 compliant. As the sales team is always on the go, its members use iPads. The courses should run on all browsers and need to be compatible to iPads and PCs.


Last 5 minutes – Project Management and Next Steps

Now that we understood the need for eLearning, it is time to check some project management queries in order to execute the project smoothly.

  1. Do you have a project manager for this course?
  2. What is the review process of your company?
  3. How much time is allotted to the SMEs to review the courses?

Sample Scenario: Sales Manager Speaks 

Yes, we have a sales trainer who will act as an eLearning manager. We need to get the content and all images approved by the SME and then by the medical team. 

The sales trainers are available part time for this project. Please give two weeks’ time for each review.


Once we get answers to these questions, take time to quickly explain the eLearning design and development process. Most of the stakeholders are not aware about what it entails to develop the course. Educating them would be a good start.

Agile Project Management

So, are you ready to build your REAL eLearning course? Do share how your interview with the stakeholder went and how these questions helped you come up with a good learning strategy?

View eBook on Best Practices for eLearning Design and Development

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