After recently running our first "Learning about Learning" event, we thought we would share with you, our quick guide on creating cost effective e-learning. Our Managing Director Lorna presented this at the event and we received really good feedback on it.
The idea came from speaking to clients, who are interested in e-learning and learning management systems (LMS) but are concerned that they don't have an e-learning developer in-house to set up the content. We wanted to show the group that although it is great to have big budgets and the perfect skill set, we can achieve great things from starting small and using a bit of KISS.
Lorna ran through her top 6 tips when it comes to developing content which are;
Repurpose, Recycle and Re-use
As an organisation that does its best to be "green" we love the first step in our 6 step plan for creating e-learning. That's because it is headed up with some of favourite words. We bet that you all have PowerPoints and PDF guides hanging around the office. These are a great place to start when developing your first e-learning projects. You can save a PowerPoint as a video file by using the tools directly in PowerPoint, add a voiceover with a basic mike and there you go, your content is ready! If you want to make it even easier, then just take a PDF file (with some pictures) and upload it with a multiple choice quiz.
As long as the content is KISS (Keep it short stupid) does it matter that an employee has to read a short document, rather than clicking through a full e-learning module or watching a cartoon? Will it get the message across and if so then it is good enough?
Ask Yourself - what is the value?
We want to upskill staff for a number of different reasons such as staff moral, skills gaps, difficult to recruit specific roles etc. Whatever content you are going to spend time on (no matter how much) it needs to be worthwhile.
Where has the requirement come from – Is it from training or from a manager who needs to tackle a specific challenge?
Who is going to access it – How many people (you can easily work out the cost per head if you know this)
How long is it going to be valid for? – Will it be replaced tomorrow or next year? This should be taken into account into how much resource you put into its creation
What is the outcome of providing the training? – Will the business be able to sell a service they haven’t done before, will it reduce complaints, increase productivity?
These questions are all worth asking and together they should help you come to a conclusion on how much resource you want to put in?
Make a Plan
We aren't talking a full-on project plan designed and beautifully laid-out in MS Project, but you need to get involvement from the key stakeholders, especially if you need a technical expert to provide the content, or a manager to do the voice over!
The key is to have a timescale on when key project steps need to be completed, so when does the technical expert need to have the notes to you, when will you have a rough story-board set-up and is there a critical date when it needs to be out to staff - think GDPR (did we all get our staff training completed before the 25 May?)
Keep everyone involved up to date, get someone to check the content when you have finished and get a sign-off date. The key thing with any internal project is to not let the dates slide and keeping everyone up to date helps avoid any confusion or problems and most importantly missing the deadline!
Once you have made the plan and scoped out the project, ask yourself do you need any extra software to best deliver the objectives? There are loads of free and extremely cost effective software products online to help you create video and interactive e-learning content. Most of us these days, have a high definition mobile phone camera so you could consider investing in a gimble which allows you to create higher quality film and attach an external microphone and turn your mobile into basically a digital SLR, but without the price tag.
As we have already said you can convert your PowerPoint into Video (click here to download a guide on how to do this) but there are many more tools such as TechSmith Camtasia or TechSmith Snagit (a reduced but much cheaper version of the Camtasia software), I-Spring, Go-Animate (Vyond), Crazy Talk or more complex and complete authoring tools such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate, IsEazy which allow you to create SCORM compliant (allows interactions to be reported on in an LMS) and create quizzing modules to test user understanding.
Use Public Existing Content
For engineers and installation staff you may be able to download or link in to YouTube videos or a video that is on the manufacturers website. Once downloaded you can embed them into your own content and build in testing if required. There is so much information out there on online, your employees will be looking at it anyway, it's how so many of us learn, but they aren't viewing content that you are recommending. If need to train staff on HR processes then look at the ACAS website where you will find lots of video content. It can't be sold on but for internal staff development you are free to use it. If you are directing staff to high quality on-line learning they wont be wasting time searching for what they need and filtering through the rubbish to find the gems.
KISS - Keep it Short Stupid (yes we know this may not be right)
Creating e-learning is no different from putting together a normal workshop. You still need to have aims, objectives, engaging content. But the most important thing about e-learning is that the modules must be really short. 3-5 mins max otherwise learners disengage and the outcomes will not be achieved. If you have a longer topic to cover, break it down into a number of small bite-sized chunks which employees can work through. If loaded onto an LMS it will track where they have got to and take them back to where they left off, without the training team having to do anything.
So KISS and start with just one topic and see what you can create, once you let yourself try.
If you would like to any help or advice with integrating e-learning into your existing L&D function please don't hesitate to contact us.
Download this document as PDF here.