Often when we receive a go-ahead for implementing eLearning, our first reaction is to plan an immediate migration of all of the organization’s existing classroom training materials to the eLearning mode, without giving too much thought to factors such as what are the various kinds of trainings the organization has, what is the current training capability, what are the organization’s goals for training, what does it hope to achieve with eLearning, what are the costs involved etc. As a result, we sometimes end up biting off more than we can chew.
Planning an enterprise wide eLearning solution is a gigantic task no doubt. And might appear daunting initially – if one doesn’t break it down into manageable steps. One of the first tasks is to define the scope of the eLearning solution. While cost obviously plays a large role in this decision (especially given the initial investment in IT infrastructure), there are other factors that impact it as well, such as the shelf-life of the training, time-to-market speed etc. Defining the scope involves an analysis of various aspects such as evaluating the current training capability (the kind of training, audience, overall expected results, business impact etc), charting the proposed eLearning solution by analyzing which of the current trainings are ready-to be migrated online (using Rapid content development tools) and which of the organization’s learning needs can be addressed by developing new courseware. This in turn would lead to decisions around whether to go in for off-the-shelf content or customized courseware. Further leading to decisions around whether to develop this content in-house or whether to outsource it to content development vendors. Alternatively, while examining the existing ILT materials, you might want to see which of the courses are best suited for a blended learning approach and proceed accordingly.
Often, in our zeal to implement eLearning, we could end up taking quick and ill-formed decisions around the scope of the proposed eLearning solution and not ask ourselves questions such as ‘is the specific learning goal best supported by eLearning or by using an existing classroom course?’ or ‘Will a workshop be more conducive to learning for a given subject or will a live eLearning session be more effective?’ A very detailed and thorough analysis of the organizations current training capability is important to help us arrive at the scope of the intended eLearning solution. This exercise will also help us to look at the hard benefits of the proposed solution by doing a comparative cost analysis between the ILT and eLearning solution. One of the decisions you need to take during this exercise is to see how critical it is to include a given program in the current scope of eLearning. You don’t have to tackle all of the organization’s training needs in one go. Once you and the learners’ taste success in the initial implementation, this can become a selling point for expanding the scope – and in phase two of your eLearning solution, you can address the remaining training needs of your organization as well.