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eLearning: It's Not as Difficult as You Think

— by Bill Cushard

Employee trainingLearning developmentUncategorized

You are a one-person training department mostly running live, classroom training sessions. You have even started conducting live training using a virtual classroom technology, which made things a lot easier for you. But scheduling and rescheduling and rescheulding and rescheduling is a drag. The way your company is structured, you need a solution that allows people to take training on their own time. However, getting started in self-paced eLearning seems so daunting, with graphic design, animation, and even custom interactions using javascript.

It doesn’t have to be.

In fact, you can easily get a short eLearning course up and running and have people take it, in a week or two if you run a small, targeted pilot. Here’s how to remove “the daunt” from eLearning.

Choose an Existing Power Point Presentation

First, choose an existing presentation. I would choose a short one. 10 to 20 slides. Maybe you have one for a new product announcement. May one exists that talks about a new feature in your CRM. The point is to choose content that you already have. This will make it easier to get started.

Upload Presentation to Mindflash

The next step is to upload the slides to Mindflash. Just get them in there and see how it looks. Edit and rearrange as necessary. You are not looking for perfection here. You are creating “version 1” of a new eLearning course.

Add Audio Narration

This step is important. Use the audio recording tool in Mindflash to add narration to each slide. People have come to expect audio narration in eLearning. For this pilot, you don’t need to write a script. Use the headphones from your smartphone that have a built in microphone and just record yourself explaining each slide. Be conversational and casual.

Create a Short Assessment

Create a short quiz. You don’t need to engage a PhD assessment writer. The point of the quiz is to give people a chance to review a few key points from the presentation. 3-5 questions is fine.

Add 10 Users

Add 10 users (your pilot group). If you want, you can create a group to put them in. But keep it simple for now.

Communicate and Distribute

Now, you are ready to announce your new eLearning course. Just set up a URL, write a short message, and send your message along with the URL. For this first message, make it personal. Explain what this pilot is all about, and ask people to be part of the experiment.

Collect Feedback

As you run reports and observe people completing your new eLearning course, ask them for feedback. You can create a survey if you want. But with a pilot group this small, you could easily call people and ask them how it went. Ask them what they liked and disliked.

Share Your Results

Share the results of your project. Tell people the following: How long it took from the day you started the free trial, to the day everyone finished the first course. Management will be impressed with this time frame. Share comments from the feedback (both good and bad). When you share the bad feedback, add a comment about what you can do to solve that problem in a future release. That will show you are thinking ahead.

This is Your Project Plan

That was not so hard was it? You can do this in two weeks if you are organized, have content, and a small group of people willing to give it a try. In fact, take each header in this blog and make it a task on your project/task management tool. This blog post is your project plan.

Don’t worry about perfection. Just start, collect feedback, and improve. The more often you launch eLearning in a simple way, the more comfortable you will become. As you get more comfortable, you can expand your design skills one step at a time and become really good at eLearning.

Bill Cushard, authorblogger, and learning experience (LX) designer, is a human performance technologist (HPT) with extensive, in-the-trenches experience building learning organizations in start-up and hyper-growth organizations like E*TRADE, the Knowland Group, and Accenture. You can follow him on Twitter or on Google+.

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