Do’s and Don’ts for Leading eLearning Projects

Leading eLearning course and product development is complex. It requires coordination of subject matter experts, instructional designers, usability experts, and software developers as they strive to accomplish a large number of tasks.

Failure to understand and implement a production process can have serious repercussions for your eLearning project. Without clear communications, in-house teams and external content experts and vendors may work at cross-purposes. Costs can escalate and deadlines slip if a delayed deliverable has a cascading effect across the project plan.

Below are some dos and don’ts for how to generate success from our team of project leaders.

Elearning project leaders need to develop processes that leverage best practices from both the instructional design and software development fields

1. DON’T – Fixate on Technology

One mistake we often see is project stakeholders getting fixated on technology. “There are always five ways to solve every technology hurdle,” suggests Monarch Media project leader Adam Ryszka. “It’s important to define your objectives first and then hone in on a technical solution that best fits your situation.”

2. DO – Develop Multidimensional Project Requirements

Elearning project leaders need to develop processes that leverage best practices from both the instructional design and software development fields

The key to a successful project is to start with a good understanding of the end goal and the individual tasks that go into creating an online course or product. This analysis can be broken into several parts, including:

  • Needs analysis: What must learners understand after taking the course and how will they be able to better perform in their chosen field? How will taking the eLearning course change and improve their knowledge and capabilities?
  • User analysis: Who is the audience for the eLearning product? What do they already know and what is their context? How will they access course materials?
  • Technical analysis: What development tools and platforms are available and best suited for the project? What are the minimum standards and constraints? What is the production teams’ experience and capabilities?
  • Resource analysis: What is the time and monetary budget for the project? Is there pre-existing content or a previous project that can be leveraged?

3. DON’T – Forget You Are Dealing with Two Different Worlds

Unlike most software development , eLearning projects require two sets of design teams from very different backgrounds. Elearning project leaders need to develop processes that leverage best practices from both the instructional design and software development fields.

Curriculum and instructional designers are trained to create effective and engaging learning experiences that achieve a pedagogical goal. They may or may not have a good understanding of the technology processes and requirements for implementing their vision in an online environment.

> Learn about ADDIE, a key development model for instructional designers

Software developers generally come from an engineering background. Their goal is to select the right technology tools and platforms for building the product. They’re trained to translate business requirements into software functionalities, and to code as quickly and elegantly as possible.

> Learn about RAD, an important development model for software developers

Both disciplines have their own methodologies and practices. Successful eLearning project leaders have the ability to build a bridge between these two worlds.

Three areas of eLearning Projects: Instructional Design, Project Leadership, and Software Development

4. DO – Focus on Project Understanding

Successful project leaders understand that clear, objectives-based communication is the most valuable skill a leader can develop—it provides the glue that binds individuals together to achieve the end goal. “But communication is nothing without understanding,” councils Monarch Media’s Devta Kidd. Project leaders must also maintain a high-level understanding of the objectives, required steps, task dependencies, and tradeoffs involved. By carefully tracking and reporting on what works and what doesn’t for each project and team, they build a body of knowledge that can be translated into systematized processes and build a knowledge base that allows for continuous improvement for future projects.

Although it takes an understanding of all elements of eLearning production, as well as work to collect and analyze data from each project, developing and adhering to a good process can yield dramatic business results. It is the best way to ensure continuous improvement in cost efficiency, development time, and quality for your eLearning courses and products.

If you would like more information about how Monarch Media can help you create better eLearning outcomes, please make an inquiry.