Rapid eLearning: The Secret to Evolving @ Speed of Business

Quick Rollout of Online Training to Improve Employees’ Competitive Edge

Rapid eLearning puts the ‘rapid’ in eLearning development by focusing on the basics of instructional design and leveraging authoring tools.

Rapid eLearning Design for Quick Rollout

From making it easy for SMEs to aligning training with business goals and standardizing for scalability, explore 5 best practices to get rapid eLearning right.

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The Need for Rapid eLearning

Exhausted with the constant tussle of “there’s not enough time to develop eLearning”? Especially with the current global pandemic, organizations are looking to develop online training programs and digital assets. This is where rapid eLearning will help.

At a time when shrinking budgets and timelines are your biggest frenemies, rapid eLearning is the reliable partner you’ve been looking for. Whether you need ten courses or thousands of them, rapid eLearning can take care of everything. Rapid eLearning services can be used for instructor-led training (ILT) to online conversion, eLearning translations, legacy course conversions, and more.

Since the Internet is filled with resources on rapid eLearning, it can be overwhelming to get the right start. To ease the process, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about rapid eLearning design and development. You’ll find so much more than just the what, why, and how of rapid eLearning.

What is Rapid eLearning?

Rapid eLearning makes it possible to design, develop, and rollout eLearning courses within weeks, unlike conventional eLearning projects which stretch up to months. What’s the reason behind the speed of rapid? What makes it so different from conventional eLearning development? Let’s find out!

First and foremost, setting Performance-based learning objectives is imperative. To make training effective — i.e., to make training positively impact desired business goals — it is important to align training to the desired performance.

Hence, rapid eLearning design is based on performance-based learning objectives that will help link the training with performance. A performance-based learning objective tells in specific and in measurable terms what learners will be able to do at the end of the eLearning course.

The 3-step process involves:

3-step process

Rapid eLearning design also leverages existing training content. This essentially means your SMEs — who hold domain knowledge — put the primary content in place, and work in tandem with the development team. This saves ample time of the instructional designers who can start right away with the storyboards!

Rapid eLearning development stays away from Las Vegas style courses with a lot of ornamental fluff. It follows robust instructional strategies that provide effective courses, saving cost on unnecessary design. The rapid eLearning development process also does away with learner disengagement and myth of missing creativity.

Rapid eLearning courses incorporate new-age learning strategies that engage learners and offer ample scope for game-based learning, storytelling, and more.

When Should you say YES to Rapid eLearning Development?

Before you opt for rapid eLearning development, ensure your content and training needs fall into any of the following categories. These instances show when rapid eLearning is a good fit and a better option than conventional eLearning development.



Content changes frequently

Courses for sales reps on market trends, product features, policies, and so on.

Content has a short shelf-life

Courses on dealing with epidemics — such as on Ebola virus, Zika virus — to educate medical professionals.

You have tight deadlines and budgets to conquer

Rapid eLearning allows cost-saving and adherence to timelines through standardization and reuse, leveraging rapid eLearning authoring tools, and using online review links for reviews.

You need a rapid blend

Creating an efficient blend of classroom sessions with digital learning assets accelerates time to proficiency. For instance, videos, eBooks, audio podcasts, interactive infographics, and so on.

How Well do you Know Rapid eLearning?

Ever since rapid eLearning forayed into corporate training, it has been a topic of debate among eLearning pundits. For some, rapid eLearning is all about easy authoring tools that enable quick development. For others, rapid eLearning means sub-standard output.

Here are 6 things every training manager should know about rapid eLearning:

  • Rapid eLearning does NOT mess with quality and instructional design
  • Rapid eLearning does NOT throw creativity out of the window
  • Rapid eLearning leverages the power of authoring tools
  • Rapid eLearning does NOT do away with project management
  • Rapid eLearning takes less time and cost to develop
  • Rapid eLearning services offer a lot of scope

Inputs for Rapid eLearning

Rapid eLearning converts existing training material – classroom material or legacy courses – into:

  • Online courses
  • Microlearning assets
  • Digital performance support solutions

Whether the content is in the form of SOPs, PDFs, eBooks, documents, or ILT handouts, it can be converted to eLearning – as long as the content is aligned with the learning objectives and there are no gaps. PowerPoint decks can be converted to online courses using with rapid eLearning authoring tools such as iSpring, once they are reinforced instructionally.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of how ILT material can be made ready for conversion to eLearning:

ILT to eLearning Conversion: 5 Things You Need to Do

Therefore, even if content is in place, there’s a lot more to converting ILT to online learning! The content will engage learners only if it’s supported by effective instructional design, including relevant learning objectives and assessments.

The other areas of expertise include project management, graphic designing, authoring tool expertise, quality assurance, and IT support to ensure you receive zero-error courses. Hence, it’s a wise move to outsource rapid design and development to an eLearning vendor who will take away your burden and deliver high-quality courses within timelines.

The 4 ‘R’s of Rapid eLearning

Now that we know of the inputs rapid eLearning can leverage, it’s time to see how exactly it uses the inputs to convert them to online training.

And this involves the 4 Rs – Record, Republish, Rebuild, Redesign

The 4 ‘R’s of Rapid eLearning

1. Record to Save SME Time

The Record strategy will help you minimize SME touchpoints during the design and development of eLearning to rollout courses at the speed of need.

Step 1: The SME puts together a rough PowerPoint deck with relevant & current content and sends it along with the explanation (highlighting important points) – a recording on their mobile phone or any audio recording app/software.

Step 2: The ID team works on the PPT deck to enhance it instructionally, transcribes audio into the narration script, and finalizes it after editing.

Step 3: SME reviews the narration script and the improved PPT (storyboard).

Step 4: The eLearning development team develops the final eLearning course with audio.

2. Republish for Mobile Compatibility

Courses developed in older versions of authoring tools can be republished to a newer version of the same tool to make them mobile compatible. This will also give us an opportunity to update interactivities and look and feel if needed. Minor content updates can also be accommodated.

Pro Tip: Check for alignment and spacing issues after republishing legacy courses.

3. Rebuild as Microlearning Assets

If you have courses developed a few years ago, they might be having a seat time of anything between 45 minutes to an hour. Such lengthy courses don’t fit in the busy schedules of today’s employees who want short and sweet solutions.

With rapid eLearning, such lengthy courses can be reconfigured as microlearning curriculums. The key is to ensure one microlearning module is mapped to exactly one learning objective.

4. Redesign to Get Started with Blended Learning

With the Redesign strategy of rapid eLearning, you can convert classroom training materials to online training – be it:

  • Asynchronous (eLearning, mobile learning, microlearning)
  • Synchronous (virtual instructor-led training)

For complete insights on the 4 Rs of rapid eLearning design and development, check this article by Dr RK Prasad, CEO – CommLab India.

Role of Instructional Design in Rapid eLearning

Though it sounds like rapid eLearning design doesn’t include scope for instructional design, its essence lies in following instructional design and adult learning principles. For instance:

  • Using learning objectives to show learners what’s in it for them
  • Keeping the navigation free to enable self-directed learning
  • Avoiding the fancy bells and whistles to save time
  • Using new-age learning strategies to provide memorable learning experiences

Here are 3 secret sauces to make your eLearning click.

What goes into making a memorable learning experience?


Address learners by name

Let learners choose an avatar



Metaphors and analogies

Empathy in Engagement

Open navigation

Clear instructions

Diagnostic feedback

Take a look at 6 new-age learning strategies and how they can be used in eLearning:

eLearning Design and the Right Brain [Infographic]

Role of SMEs in Rapid eLearning Design and Development

Do you really think your subject matter experts (SMEs) — who are mostly on-the go, traveling to client locations, solving multiple million-dollar issues — have time to lead rapid eLearning projects? In fact, training – reviewing or finalizing eLearning courses – is the last of their priorities.

Rapid eLearning can help you save your SME time and make them willing contributors to. It reduces their touchpoints to 3 compared to the 9 touchpoints required by conventional eLearning design and development.


Explore 10 handy tips to reduce SME time in this mini guide. In a nutshell, the success of the project heavily relies on efficient partnership between the SME and the development team.

How do you Know you are Ready for Rapid eLearning Development?

Here’s a checklist to help you check your readiness for rapid eLearning development. If your answer is Yes to all questions, you’re good to go!


  • Do you have content to meet the learning objectives?
  • Are all content gaps closed?


  • Do you have an SME for the rapid eLearning project?
  • Will he/she spare time at the set milestones of the project?


  • Does your vendor have expertise in rapid eLearning development?
  • Does he have enough resources to scale up development?


  • Is your LMS SCORM-compliant?


Why Should you Opt for Rapid eLearning Development?

Here are 4 of the many benefits of rapid eLearning development.

Better Costing and Faster Turnaround

To state the obvious, creating rapid eLearning courses takes less time and hence costs less than conventional eLearning courses. However, what makes rapid eLearning ‘rapid’? Here are some factors.

  • Availability of content – Once the gaps are fixed, the ID team can begin with the storyboards straightaway.
  • Agile processes – Competent eLearning vendors will follow agile project management processes that involve the customer – you – at all major milestones, eliminating costly rework.
  • Rapid authoring tools – These tools come with in-built asset libraries, easy to use and customize templates, and don’t need extensive programming skills.
  • Standardization – Rapid eLearning saves time and cost by reusing elements such as layouts for common (agenda, definitions, summary) screens and global instructions.

Easy to Update

Rapid authoring tools — such as Storyline 360, Adobe Captivate, Lectora, iSpring, dominKnow — make it easy to update existing courses! So whether there are changes in industrial regulations, policies, or market trends, rapid eLearning helps you provide up to date training. Moreover, because of the ease of use, you can do the updates in-house rather than going back to the vendor.

Another major advantage of authoring tools is their ability to publish to HTML5. This makes them the ideal choice for Flash to HTML5 conversion. With authoring tools, you can:

  • Make courses multi-device, multi-platform compatible
  • Record and salvage even courses without source files
  • Recreate Flash-like interactivities easily
  • Translate courses easily

Offers Learning the New-age Way

In the kernel of digital transformation, stagnant training approaches can make you lose the race. This especially applies to organizations that use “one-size fits all” conventional training programs for a workforce that consists of learners belonging to different generations – the Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials.

While developing eLearning courses that cater to the needs of all generations seems almost impossible, it really doesn’t have to be with rapid eLearning. It helps make learning engaging by incorporating modern-day learning strategies while offering anytime anywhere access on mobile devices. For instance, you can opt for:

This essentially means making learning engaging by incorporating modern-day learning strategies while offering anytime anywhere access on mobile devices. For instance, you can opt for: 

Microlearning that offers bite-sized learning nuggets – ideal for time-pressed learners. Microlearning has to be developed keeping in mind performance-based learning objectives so that they offer targeted knowledge transfer. Though there are a variety of microlearning assets to choose from, we should ensure form follow function.

Microlearning Assets

Social learning to allow learning from and with others. Social learning doesn’t necessarily have to happen face-to-face. You can incorporate social learning elements in online learning. For instance, just like the interactions in a live classroom, the same can be emulated in online learning using social learning approaches via video conferencing tools. Discussion forums and chat rooms are another great way to facilitate social learning.

Virtual training to beat the disruption caused by COVID-19. Rapid eLearning makes it easy to develop digital assets that can be used in both self-paced eLearning and virtual classrooms.

Offers Enhanced ROI

Nothing is worth it if your investment in eLearning doesn’t pay off at the end. With rapid, you are sure to gain enhanced ROI. How?

To reiterate, rapid eLearning enables the following that ensure greater returns.

  • Cuts the fluff by offering effective eLearning courses backed by robust instructional design and adult learning principles
  • Cuts down development time by almost 40% and sometimes even more.
  • Allows easy updates and changes.
  • Enables the quick development of responsive courses using rapid development tools.
  • Accelerates time to proficiency with quick rollout.

What Goes into Rapid eLearning Development?

At the outset, rapid eLearning development might seem simple; however, it takes expertise to make it to the finish line. For instance, robust instructional design, set communication channels, authoring tool expertise, quality assurance practices, pool of resources for easy scale up, and so on. Let’s find out what goes into a successful rapid eLearning project.

Preparation: Setting Clear, Realistic Goals

This is the most important (and unfortunately, the least focused) step in the rapid e-learning development process. You need to have a clear idea of what you intend to achieve with the training program. Proper planning plays a key role in the successful development of a good e-learning course in a short time frame.

Ask these 4 questions to get a good idea of what you need to do with the training program:

  • What do you expect learners to achieve after taking the training program?
  • How relevant is the training program to learners?
  • Is the training program going to use a single e-learning module or a curriculum which covers basic, intermediate, and advanced knowledge on a specific subject?
  • Do you need to evaluate learners’ comprehension of the subject?

Getting the Content Ready

Once you get answers to those four questions, you need to focus on getting the learning content ready. The rapid e-learning development methodology leverages existing classroom and other training materials in a big way, and in most cases, the content in these materials has gaps, and as a result, does not flow logically. 

In such cases, begin by picking resources needed to achieve the set learning objectives. For resources that need to be updated, the SME can quickly record an audio track to fill the gap. This saves ample time of the SME while providing updated content to the development team faster.

Collaborating with the SME

Since the SME is the primary source of information, one of the crucial things is to ensure smooth collaboration with the SME during the rapid eLearning development process. However, to state the obvious, SMEs are hard-pressed for time. So, how do you save SMEs’ time? Here’s how we do it!

Plan for curriculums and not standalone courses

This makes their role less demanding when it comes to involvement in the rapid eLearning project.

Planning for curriculums and not standalone courses

Opt for online reviews

The easiest way to cut down SME time for reviews is to send them an online Review Link. This comes in handy when there are multiple SMEs for the project since the complete feedback is collected in one place. It helps in providing in-context feedback, resolving contradictions, thus making implementation faster.

Roles and Responsibilities: Determining Who’s Going to Do What

To set the communication process, it’s important to designate roles and responsibilities at the onset of the project. Decide who will be:

  • Part of the review team
  • Responsible for tracking the review process
  • The decision-makers
  • Responsible for gathering feedback and resolving conflicts
  • In the quality check team

Authoring Tools for Rapid eLearning Development

Rapid eLearning courses are quickly developed using rapid authoring tools that do not require programming knowledge. Rapid authoring tools – either desktop or web-based – enable eLearning developers to create meaningful leaning experiences, quickly and effectively. From developing interactive modules and multimedia assets to making them mobile-compatible, rapid authoring tools make everything possible.  What are some of the popular eLearning authoring tools?

Authoring Tools

Can be used for……

Articulate Storyline 360 and Rise

Articulate 360 offers Storyline 360, Rise 360, and a range of other authoring apps. We like to call it the “Swiss army knife” of eLearning development that offers everything you need to churn out effective courses, rapidly.

Storyline 360 allows you to build impeccable interactive eLearning courses at an unprecedented rate. Courses can be made multi-device compatible with a single click. So, if you want courses with custom interactivities, opt for Storyline 360. 

Rise is a fully responsive web-based authoring tool and is part of Articulate 360. All one needs to get started is a web browser to create beautiful courses optimized for every screen size. Rise 360 is an ideal match for text-based courses which needs to be digitized.

 Adobe Captivate

Adobe Captivate 2019, is the go-to tool of you want a lot of simulations in your eLearning courses. This latest version of the tool has also made designing immersive learning experiences a reality. All you need is 360̊ images and videos to get started with virtual reality courses.

 Lectora Online

Lectora Online is a web-based authoring tool that also harnesses the power of the desktop-based authoring tool. It offers collaborative features that enable the creation and review of eLearning content anytime, anywhere.

Moreover, online review saves time by ending multiple cycles of feedback by offering everything at one place. If your courses are going to be text-heavy, Lectora makes for a perfect tool.

 iSpring Suite

iSpring Suite is one of the most popular authoring tools to convert PowerPoint decks to eLearning. The best advantage given by this tool is that it is integrated with PowerPoint and that makes it user-friendly and easy to use.

What are the benefits of using rapid authoring tools? Let’s find out!

Rapid authoring tools allow you to repurpose existing training resources. They enable you to deliver courses across different platforms and mobile devices. So, whether your learners access courses on mobile devices with various operating systems — such as Windows RT, Android, iOS — or modern-day browsers — such a Mozilla, Chrome — authoring tools offer output that runs seamless on every platform. Moreover, the fact that rapid authoring tools get updates based on the latest technology is another major reason you need not bother about keeping up with the latest eLearning trends.

Rapid authoring tools allow easy updates and scaling up. There might be instances in the future when you would want to update or change some elements of your eLearning course. In such cases, you can simply import the existing course in the rapid eLearning dashboard and make changes.

Tools also allow templates to be standardized and reused. Most eLearning authoring tools offer an array of pre-built themes, templates, and interfaces that can be tweaked as per your corporate branding and saved in an eLibrary. You can standardize templates for common screens and assessments.

Authoring tools also make eLearning translation easy and quick – with their options to export course content as XML files. Once the content is translated, it can be imported back into the tool, synced with audio, and published. Check this blog for insights on tools that can ease eLearning translation.

Hence, with rapid eLearning, you bid adieu to sluggish development process, extensive bills, and ever-stretching timelines. All without compromising on learner engagement! It’s your one-stop solution to keep up with the ever-changing business demands, and impart efficient and up to date training.

Why are RAPID AUTHORING TOOLS eLearning’s New Best Friends

Samples of Rapid eLearning Projects

Here’s how we developed a large repository of rapid eLearning courses to train the sales force of one of the world’s largest manufacturers of weighing instruments. Our Success Mantra was standardization, communication, and process adherence – by both parties.

Samples of Rapid eLearning Projects

Deliverables & Development Time

23+ Rapid eLearning courses

3432+ man hours


1 Project Manager

2 Instructional Designers

2 Courseware Developers

1 Visual Designer

6 SMEs

1 Stakeholder