The Rapid Elearning Blog

e-learning checklist

On a recent flight, I watched the flight crew go through a pre-flight checklist. This is a series of things that need to happen prior to taking off. While watching them I wondered what we’d consider being part of an e-learning pre-flight checklist. 

  • Information vs Performance. I like to put courses in one of two buckets: performance or information. Performance-based courses seek to change behaviors and have people learn and do something new or different. Information-based courses are more about awareness of certification. Knowing which bucket to place the course,, helps me know what type of resources to commit to it.
  • What are the objectives of the course? Some objectives are to change performance or teach new skills. And some objectives are more like certification and awareness. Knowing the objectives helps you determine the proper metrics to evaluate success.
  • Who is the final approver of the project? This is one of the first questions I ask. It’s important to know who the final decision-maker is. Often you’ll work on a course and then right before launch someone higher up in the food chain gets involved and wants to make changes. Find out who this person is before you get too involved in the project and be sure to keep them in the loop throughout. And most of all, make sure you get approval at various milestones in the project. As David likes to say, “When things go right, the managers take credit. But when things go wrong, it’s all on the trainers.”
  • Is there a budget? I’ve worked for larger organizations with large projects and rarely did we get a budget to build the courses. I was always told I was the budget. It’s a good idea to initiate the conversation about having a budget. Perhaps you start small and say you need $500-$1000. Even if you don’t need the money, it’s a good idea to build the expectation that you need a budget to go with your training project.
  • What expectations does the client have? This goes back up to understanding the type of course that is being commissioned and determining the objectives. Often, the client has a default position that their goals or problems are solved by training. This isn’t a good starting point. It’s important to do some performance consulting to better understand the client’s needs and if training will help. Doing that sets clear expectations.
  • What expectations do the learners have? Let’s face it, the bulk of most e-learning courses are compliance training or annual updates with little impact on the person’s day-to-day responsibilities. Thus, for many, the expectations are very low. We can’t always control the content and client objectives, but there are things we can do to make the experience better and more interactive.
  • What do you know about the audience? Ideally, the course is designed in a real-world context. To do that requires an understanding of the audience’s real world.
  • What resources are available? The most important resource is access to the subject matter experts. Other resources are existing content, technology, media, and the numerous assets required to build good courses. Of course, with services like Content Library, some of that is mitigated and not as big of an issue as in the past.
  • How will you evaluate it? If you define clear objectives you can define metrics to determine if they’ve been met. Thus one part of the evaluation is having measurable objectives. The other part is knowing how you’ll collect and process them. That’s not as easy and probably why most organizations don’t bother evaluating their training properly.
  • What’s the implementation plan? Once the course is loaded into the learning management system, what’s next? How do the learners know there’s a course for them to take? How do managers know? What marketing strategies do you have for the course launch?
  • Does it need to be mobile? Personally, this is somewhat moot. Modern e-learning courses work on mobile devices. However, there are some considerations when it comes to mobile and how you construct the course. Ideally, you use something like Rise where all of the design considerations are already made. If you use Storyline, you’ll need to think about the interface and how things are laid out and how they work on the smaller screens.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. What would you add to your e-learning pre-flight checklist? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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3 responses to “What’s in Your E-Learning Pre-Flight Checklist”

October 10th, 2017

Great article as usual, but can we please stop using the corporate expression of putting things in buckets? I don’t think anyone has ever organized anything by placing them in different buckets.

October 10th, 2017

@Kevin: thanks for the feedback. I’ll probably still use buckets, though.

@Kevin: Sorry Kevin, I used to work with setting up community water supplies and often used buckets to sort out fittings into pipe sizes…