• Tuesday , 23 December 2014

e-Learning Project Management

It is imperative to understand and learn how to manage an e-Learning project to ensure the project can be delivered on time with the expected quality and minimising stumbling blocks and miscommunication among the project’s team members.

Overview of Corporate Learning
Today’s organisations are experiencing bigger challenges of meeting the learning needs. As a result, training needs to be more sophisticated, flexible and easily accessible. Organisations have to explore e-Learning possibilities as the effective way to meet these requirements.

It is imperative to understand and learn how to manage an e-Learning project to ensure the project can be delivered on time with the expected quality and minimising stumbling blocks and miscommunication among the project’s team members.

Overview of e-Learning Project Management

The project management for a typical e-Learning project covers the following stages:

  • Planning
  • Content Gathering & Analysis
  • Instructional Design & Storyboarding
  • Development and Production
  • Quality Assurance
  • Packaging and Delivery

 

 

STAGE 1: Planning

The key in managing an e-Learning project is to develop the project management schedule (PMS). You may use any software like Excel or MS Project or any software that you are familiar with. In this schedule you need to clearly state the following:

  • Phase
  • Activity or Task Description
  • Person-in-Charge (PIC)
  • Resources
  • Start and End Date
  • Status

Once you have determined all the tasks, responsible persons and deadlines, you need to distribute the schedule to all stakeholders for approval. It is very important to gain the buy-in on the details from all stakeholders before proceeding to the next stage. This will help you to deliver the project on time and avoid any misunderstanding with all parties involved in the project.

Besides the project management schedule, there are few more preparatory tasks such as:

  • Prepare a project charter and share with all of the stakeholders to ensure everyone is well-informed about the project.
  • Discuss with the IT team in the organisation to determine any constraint and ensure all the hardware and software as well as the connectivity are meeting the technical requirements of the project.

Sample of Project Charter, Table of Contents

STAGE 2: Content Gathering & Analysis
In this phase, you need to gather and study all existing content. Usually, the materials are the classroom training handouts, presentation slides, CDs, course reading materials such as books, journal, etc. In some cases, it may be a good idea to arrange the instructional designer to attend the face-to-face training session, if possible.

During this phase any missing content should be identified and obtained from the subject matter experts or trainers.

STAGE 3: Instructional Design & Storyboarding
After analysing the content and subject matter, the instructional design phase begins. The instructional goals and performance objectives will be determined. The content outline will be established based on those goals and objectives. The contents should be chunked into topics or shareable content objects (SCOs). Each SCO should be centred on a learning objective.

Definition of SCO
SCO is a collection of instructional content items and practice terms to teach a job task based on a single learning objective. In order to make the SCO stand-alone, reusable and into complete learning experience, an
overview and summary are added.

An instructional strategy will be defined for each SCO. Instructional strategy specifies how the content will be transformed into an interactive and engaging e-Learning course. Examples of instructional strategies are story-based, game-based, and scenario-based learning or simulations.

Then create a design document which serves as the blueprint of the project. It specifies the content, look and feel and instructional design elements for e-Learning content.

Sample of a Design Document Outline

Once the design document is established, the content will be translated into a design template which is commonly named the storyboard. The storyboard documents the content, programming instructions and voice-over script for each page of the course. Storyboards can be built using software such as MS Word, MS PowerPoint and any specialist storyboarding software.

 

Sample of Storyboard (Created using LectureMAKER 2.0)

After the storyboard has been developed, get the subject matter expert to review and provide feedback. Then make the necessary amendments based on the feedback and deliver the enhanced storyboard to the subject matter expert for approval.

 

 

 

STAGE 4: Development and Production
The development and production will start upon obtaining the storyboard approval. The following are the common tasks for courseware development or production.

Task 1:
Compile narration script and go for voice-over recording session with the identified voice talents. Make sure the stakeholders have agreed on the quality of talent’s voice, tone and pace before starting any recording.

Sample of narration script

Task 2:
Create the graphical user interface (GUI) or the look and feel and the navigation of the courseware. Again make sure the stakeholders have approved all these elements before developing the courseware.

Sample of GUI

Task 3:
Create assets such as images, photos, animations, characters that are required in the courseware. There are various media creation tools that can be used in creating different media.

Task 4:
Author the courseware. In this step, all the approved assets, voice-over, layout images will be integrated using the authoring tool. There are many authoring tools available such as Authorware, ToolBook (for professional e-Learning developers) or LectureMAKER, Articulate, Lectora (for non-professional eE-Learning developers like subject matter experts, trainers or instructors).

STAGE 5: Quality Assurance
Upon the completion of production, a series of test will be conducted in the various points to ensure the quality of the courseware. Normally there will be a minimum of 2 tests which are Alpha, and Beta testing.

During the Alpha test, all the mistakes and bugs will be identified and rectified by the production team. Usually more than one person will be assigned to carry the Alpha test.

After the courseware has been amended according to the feedback from the Alpha test, the courseware will be reviewed by the stakeholders. It is very important to obtain the Beta test feedback from stakeholders before finalising the courseware.

A courseware sign off should be obtained from the stakeholders after enhancing the courseware based on the feedback from the Beta test. Proper sign off or approval of each deliverable at each stage is crucial to avoid unnecessary rework.

STAGE 6: Packaging and Delivery
In this final phase, the finalised courseware will be packaged according to the project delivery specification. The course can be uploaded to the existing learning management system (LMS) or website (internal / external) or delivered in CD-ROM.

Conclusion
Just like managing any other project, a smartly segmented project management schedule and proven project management tool is essential. By fully understand the e-Learning content development workflow, you can easily organise activities in every stage and effectively track and monitor progress at each stage to ensure objectives are met and targets achieved.

Related Posts