SHIFT's eLearning Blog

How to Get Kick-Ass eLearning From Your Team

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 @ 12:19 PM

Companies are taking note of eLearning and revamping their strategy and talent pool to generate higher levels of employee engagement. Want to know how you can transform your training department to become an eLearning generating machine helping your HR team rock it and lower costs and boost productivity?

Here's how: Talent.

All your eLearning excitement won't deliver results if you don't have the right skills to adapt. After years of working with eLearning teams, we've got a pretty good picture of the different approaches you can take to create a high performing team.

elearning teamsFirst of all, you need to be clear about something: even when it’s a small or big project, managing eLearning development teams requires the participation of different people. Therefore, it’s all about reaching a collective task as a group, not individual goals. 

An eLearning team is commonly integrated by programmers and graphic designers, media specialists (audio/ video producers), instructional designers/writers, project managers, testers and editors… depending on your company’s size these roles vary. Also, tasks change depending on the authoring tool you’re using. For example, by using a tool like SHIFT, eLearning development is made easy; basically you don’t need programmers anymore or hiring large development teams. However, no matter if you’re a small or big company, or if you’re using a simple or complex tool to develop courses, there always needs to be a project manager. This person needs to work into schedule as much as possible and make the team get faster over time.

If you are managing an eLearning team this post we will definitely help you! It’s true that all eLearning courses are not created equal; developing eLearning programs effectively can be a challenge. Here are some ideas for helping your team create more engaging and effective eLearning courses:

Set a Good Example

This doesn’t mean that the project manager should create an eLearning course! It means finding and showing the team examples of the sort of eLearning projects that yield the desired results. They don’t have to be on the same subject as the eLearning courses the team is tasked with developing; focus on the techniques and strategies that these sample programs use. One of the most important factors for an engaging eLearning program is user interaction. That can be as simple as making the user periodically click a “Next” button, or as complex as quizzes and games. The goal is to prevent the user’s attention from wandering to their email, web-surfing, or Solitaire while they should be focusing on the course material. Showing a development team a variety of examples of strongly interactive programs will help them in developing eLearning courses that engage the user.  Showcase projects that exhibit the breadth and depth of your expectations and engagement standards. 

Encourage Teamwork

Use a collaborative authoring tool: One of the benefits of using web-based eLearning tools is its ability to allow multiple members to collaborate in real time. Designing and developing eLearning courses under this approach definitely speeds-up development. That’s the case with SHIFT, a web-based and collaborative tool where several members of your eLearning team can go online and work on a project at the same time, sharing and modifying content simultaneously. Because everything is integrated and online, SHIFT helps you avoid many of the pitfalls of outsourcing. Everyone can work within the tool, avoiding the need to communicate through email or go through lengthy FTP sessions.

Program meetings: By programming weekly meetings, team members can build on one another’s ideas, ultimately developing eLearning strategies and courses that are much better than any one member of the team could have come up with alone. This sharing of ideas is vital to the development of ideas that go beyond the ordinary; even the most creative person has habitual patterns of thought, causing their ideas to expand outward in some directions more than others. By combining the efforts of the entire team, each person has an opportunity to put their own twist on a new idea, or reality-check the work of their peers, so the end result is both more original and more reliable due to the team effort.

Give Plenty of Lead Time

When a development team is rushed, they don’t take risks. They don’t try new things, or experiment with different ways of conveying information. They just make sure all the material has been covered and package it up in time to meet their deadline. The end result is unlikely to be an engaging, interactive eLearning course. It’s important to give a team tasked with developing eLearning programs the time they need to experiment, to try out new approaches, to make a few mistakes and correct them. When the project is assigned well in advance of its deadline, the development team can take the time to brainstorm and discuss ideas and approaches, make videos and screen captures, and create more engaging content.

By using these simple strategies, managers can inspire their design teams to develop interactive, engaging eLearning courses. We know there’s no single “correct” approach to eLearning. A great design team needs to be exposed to a number of eLearning courses using different styles and strategies, and know their target learners well enough to choose user-friendly and effective approaches, making the best use of available media.

 

Tags: eLearning