Elearning Practices Survey

In last month’s Newsletter, we launched Part 1 of our eLearning Best Practices survey. We take a look at the results and trends. Over 200 of you have responded so far and Part 2 is now open for your responses. Here’s a summary of some of the key trends we saw, and the challenges you raised in your responses. For each, we share some links to advice that may help you out.

On the topic of helping out internal teams, early in 2010 we’ll be launching a new, free resource centre that’s focused on helping you with challenges like the ones we discuss here. More on that next month.

Key Findings

We need to work better with our SMEs

46% responded that you disagree or strongly disagree that we have a standard interview protocol we apply in content gathering.

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Your challenges:

  • SMEs neither understand the technology or the meaning of "education" all they know is how to lecture--in an expert mode.”
  • SMEs not prepared prior to production.”
  • Clarity and quality of information. Often they don't know what they want.”

Our comment:

Working with SMEs is may be the single most important aspect of an elearning project. If it’s not working with the SME, you’re going to run into problems. The designer / SME relationship is really the make or break.

We share some tips for how to work better with SMEs.

To help them see the wood for the trees and clarify what they want, try some of the tips here.

To help to focus the scoping and prioritization tasks, have a look here.

We need to be realistic about what problem we can solve

45% responded that you disagree or strongly disagree that we apply a standard set of criteria to rank and prioritize performance opportunities.

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“No time for research, everyone wants instant oatmeal.”

“SMEs often have unrealistic ideas of what can be accomplished in short amounts of time and we frequently have to cut back their objectives to meet their time limitations. It is difficult to communicate the reasons for this because they sometimes suspect consultants are trying to get more work.”

“Ambiguity in determining learning objectives and thus the scope of a particular training...”

“I deal with a group of professionals who love heavy power point slides - and I have to develop a culture that can transition from that to scenario based training”

“The problems that the SMEs want fixed are not always the real business problems. It's always a struggle managing "perceived performance problems" and real ones. Because at the end of the day if the end user performance doesn't improve, it's the training developers who get questioned.”

Our comment:

It’s a challenge to make sure you’re focused on real business problems. This guide shares some insights on how to take a business driven approach.

To avoid the death by PowerPoint problem, and to open your SME’s eyes about what’s possible, have a look at our ten tips for yawn proofing your elearning here.

We’re still trying to sell the benefits

There were mixed findings here. Encouragingly, the majority of you seem to have clear methods for presenting to stakeholders. But 32% responded that you disagree or strongly disagree that we have clear methods for presenting training needs analysis to stakeholders with proposed solutions.

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Your challenges:

  • 'Often, the people we work with (our own managers included) have a very limited view into the capabilities of eLearning. Therefore, we're stuck with ‘just get it done’, rather than ‘do it right".’
  • ‘Getting buy-in from the SME's management’
  • ‘SMEs not being prepared to take the time to "contract" on scope, commitment, etc.’

Our comment:

Helping people to realize the potential of eLearning can be a challenge. We’re big fans of the showcase approach – show examples that sell themselves. If you need help in selling the benefits, have a look at our More for Less Report.

Here are five reasons for using rapid elearning, which you could use as a baseline for any presentation to SMEs or stakeholders.

We need to tighten up the process

Again, a range of findings here. Many of you are working with efficient processes in place, but there are some trends that suggest there’s more to be done around process:

35% disagree that we share a number of models for working together with our SME and let them decide on an approach that will work best for them.

38% disagree that we provide each project SME a personalized project plan that documents deliverables, review periods, meetings and other deadlines.

Your challenges:

  • “Time pressures in shaping content, limited perspective of what elearning can achieve amongst SMEs, elongated ADDIE process with vendors and disconnect between what was storyboarded and flash prototype - processes too divergent”
  • “SMEs tend to want to include 'everything' in the content rather than provide references to where the learner can find what they need when they need it - it's often difficult to cut down the volume of content or get them to agree to display it in other ways e.g. visually, scenarios etc.”
  • “Where speed to delivery and rapid production processes become drawn out and over complicated. Also providing the evidence that eLearning is the effective option and trying to introduce collaboration into the early build and development model.”
  • “We have a very small team with limited budget and multiple responsibilities over and above elearning. We are also in the position of wanting to support the business with elearning and there is a lot of interest - but needing to take a 'soft' approach right now to sell the concept and get buy-in, hence less formalized processes”

Our comment:

There’s a concentration on process points here - We’d recommend a look at the elearning process you’re using to see where you can simplify and streamline.

Here’s some guidance on our approach to rapid processes.

We’d also recommend Michael Allen’s book, Creating Successful Elearning, which is strong on process and why ADDIE needs an overhaul: http://www.kineo.com/bookshop/rapid-e-learning-book-review-2.html

Coming in January: Key findings and comments on phase 2. Take part in the survey here.

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