Matthew Lloyd, managing director of the e-learning solutions provider, Omniplex (http://www.omniplex.co.uk), contributed to the recent discussion, in London, on ‘Value for Money eLearning Solutions’, organised by eLearning Network (eLN) – a non-profit organisation run by the e-learning community for the e-learning community.
While welcoming the trend to use rapid authoring tools to produce learning content in-house by subject matter experts, rather than outsourcing the process to specialist instructional designers, Lloyd sounded a note of caution. He said: “When you adopt this process purely to try to save money, you need to be wary of some issues.”
- Keep the learning project simple. Just because you’re saving money by producing learning materials in-house, don’t be tempted to over-extend the project’s remit.
- Beware of hidden costs. For example, Moodle – an open source LMS – costs little to install and run but users should not forget its associated maintenance costs.
- It’s still important to use the right tool for the job in hand – regardless of the cost.
- Make sure you don’t have to go back to the tool or system’s suppliers every time you want any changes to that tool or system. Opt for high quality rather than the cheapest option – and remember that enjoying good customer service should not be a luxury.
- Bad (learning) design can cost you as much as – or even more than – good design. Eventually, learning materials produced using bad instructional design will cost much more than learning materials produced using good instructional design – even if the latter learning materials are, initially, costly.
- It’s what happens after the learning intervention – however that is delivered – that is key to the success of any learning initiative. Designers and developers need to find ways to stimulate the brains of those who use the learning materials, if that project is to be successful.
Comment: Lloyd’s summary proved popular with the eLN delegates but – as fellow speaker Cathy Moore (www.MakingChangeBlog.com), of Indiana, USA, pointed out – people don’t do what their employers want them to do because of one, or more, of only four factors: knowledge, skills, motivation and environment. Learning solutions can only affect the first two of these factors. If there are motivation and environment issues, then no amount of learning programmes in isolation will help to resolve them.