This guest blog entry was written by Articulate Community Manager Jeanette Brooks.
In April 2009, Anjali Mullatti and H. Jaishankar (Jai) set out to tackle a big need in India’s banking & financial services industry: develop and market a suite of online training and certification programs for current and aspiring finance professionals.
In just 12 months, not only did they create and publish more than 200 hours of online courses with the Articulate tools, they also became e-learning award winners. Their company, FLIP (Finitiatives Learning India Pvt. Ltd.), was a finalist in the LINGOs E-Learning Global Giveback competition last month.
“It Was a Great Opportunity to Give Back”
FLIP’s award-winning course was a series of four modules on risk management for ACCIÓN, a micro-lending organization that helps people in developing nations work their way out of poverty. Like other participants in the competition, FLIP donated their design & development time for the project. They built the course in just two weeks.
Anjali says FLIP’s production team wanted to participate as soon as they saw the announcement of the competition on the Rapid E-Learning Blog. “The competition was a dual benefit for us,” she says, “because not only did it give us more visibility as a start-up, it was a great opportunity to give back, and that was a big attraction. The team, of their own volition, worked totally over and above their regular work, at one point clocking a record 20-hour day!”
Here’s what Lynne Curran, Vice President of ACCIÓN International, USA, said about the result:
“I really love the course. I think it will be very useful for our staff around the world. FLIP has done a great job. Everyone’s hard work and dedication is evident in the quality of the course.”
FLIP’s Model: Put the Articulate Tools in SMEs’ Hands
I talked with Anjali to find out more about FLIP’s first year of business. Their approach to e-learning is unique. All the content in their online training is authored by banking professionals and then built into e-learning courses by a design team that knows finance — but not Flash or instructional design.
“We had to choose between designers who knew finance (but had no Flash or instructional design background), and developers who didn’t know finance. In the end, the Articulate rapid authoring tools made the choice easy.
“For our production team, we put together a team of finance MBAs from India’s top 30 business schools. We trained them in e-learning best practices, and then we put the Articulate tools in their hands. Since most business professionals are already familiar with PowerPoint, the transition to rapid e-learning was easy.
“We chose Articulate Studio as our authoring tool because of Articulate’s responsiveness, the quality of their support, and the active user forums.”
FLIP’s approach to e-learning development is working. Five of India’s leading banking and finance institutions have already endorsed their online certification programs.
Rapid E-Learning Cuts Costs & Development Time
Jai says that FLIP’s rapid approach allows them to keep their costs in check and speed their e-learning courses to market:
“We had initially planned on outsourcing the development of our courses, but it quickly became clear that outsourcing would be far too expensive and time-consuming. If we’d done that, we wouldn’t have launched our courses till 2011!
“We found we could easily cut development time and eliminate the need for specialized Flash skills by using the Articulate tools instead. We’re able to create and deploy an hour of e-learning in the equivalent of three person-days of work.”
Flexibility is Key
Sourabh Chirimar, who heads up FLIP’s e-learning development, says that another key to FLIP’s success is their ability to easily update their courses:
“We like the fact that we can incorporate our users’ feedback immediately. For a pioneering initiative like ours, it’s critical that we react quickly and adapt to what the market’s telling us. Also, the world of finance is sometimes a moving target. Interest rates, regulations, and norms change often, so we update our courses regularly to reflect real-life data and examples. It’s great that modifications can be made in a matter of minutes.”
What’s Next for FLIP?
In the months ahead, FLIP plans to continue expanding its course offerings with 500 more hours of e-learning. Retail and corporate users alike are signing up. “Ours is a scalable model,” says Anjali. “We’re looking to expand into other countries in 2011, using the same business model and design methodologies.”
Congratulations to the FLIP team for their first year of business success, and for creating an award-winning course in the LINGOs competition!