What is a successful e-learning project? It's a well-defined, well-written, well-finished project! Find out more in this podcast.
Hello, my name is Anne-Claire Prévost and I have been working in digital learning for almost 20 years. Today I would like to share with you 3 secrets to succeed in your e-learning projects.
When I use the expression "e-learning project", I will talk about building a digital training module and its possible integration into a broader training programme.
I will not discuss the change management required for any digital transformation or the implementation of an LMS platform to host your projects. But these are other important aspects of digital training and if you are embarking on this adventure, they will also have to be taken into account. But that of course is another story...
So let's focus on your e-learning module project. In this podcast, we will imagine that you need to design a module around IT security, to remind your company's employees of some essential rules and good practices.
Secret n°1: a successful e-learning project is a well-defined project
When someone comes to you with a request to create an e-learning module, it is essential that you define the scope of this new project. The more precise this perimeter will be, the more comfortable you will be in carrying out your project. This perimeter must be defined between you and your client, whether external or internal. This time is important: the more solid these foundations are, the more likely your project will succeed!
First of all, you need to know the context: why do we need a module on IT security? Who is asking for it? What is the urgency of this request? Is there an existing face-to-face or digital module? Can you call on internal business experts to help you?
Then, you need to know who the target audience is: the number, their level... A module is not created in the same way for experts and for people to be sensitized... Similarly, the number of people concerned can be an important factor in the choice of whether or not to use digital training. If only ten or so people are concerned, perhaps it is better to plan for face-to-face training. However, if only ten people are concerned but there will be ten new people to train every month for two years, then digital is a good solution.
So we have the context, the audience. Now we need to know the objectives to be achieved. Ask your client about the subject: in his opinion, what should the learners know or know how to do at the end of the module for the training to be considered successful? Here you also have a key role to play in defining these objectives. Help your client to formulate achievable goals! If they are very ambitious, you may have to start with a training course of several modules or a "blended" course, mixing digital and face-to-face training.
Encourage your client to use action verbs: "at the end of the module, learners should know how to create a secure password" for example.
At this stage, we therefore have a more precise idea of the project. We still need to determine the key elements: the timeframe and the resources. The deadline is important of course to manage your workload schedule, that of your service providers... As for the resources, they refer to the financial means you have to develop this project (will you have to develop internally or can you subcontract for example) but also the human resources.
In an e-learning project, human resources brings together :
- The business experts who will help you with the content of the module,
- And the designers who are going to help you make the module.
The availability of your human resources will help you plan the realization of your project.
So in summary, the first secret to success of your e-learning project is to define it well in advance with the CoPODeR (Context, Audience, Objectives, Deadlines and Resources).
Secret N°2: a successful e-learning project is a well-written project
You have therefore established your context: it is a question of training all the employees of your company to the stakes of IT security, following a certain number of observed dangerous behaviours. Several modules will have to be created to deal with different themes: reflexes to daily life, types of attacks, nomadic tools, etc. The first module should be released at the end of the summer and will deal with the right daily actions (password, locking your computer...).
You are developing it internally, 2 people from the IT services have already sent you documents for the content and you have a designer for the technical realization of the module.
So you are off to a good start!
Now let's look at the secret n°2 to make your project a success: writing it! Because a successful e-learning project is a well-written project.
As you know, the difficulty with digital training lies in its ability to involve its learners, to engage them. And even if you have a state-of-the-art app or you are launching into virtual reality if you don't have a script that holds up, apart from the "wow" effect, your learners won't have much left at the end of the module.
So you will work in two steps: write the synopsis and then write the storyboard. You're going to tell me "what's going on, I got the wrong podcast, I'm taking a course on writing series for Netflix". Well actually, there are great similarities between the two, I'll grant you that!
The synopsis, this will be the outline of your module. Where you start from and where you want to arrive. The topics you will cover and which will of course meet the objectives you set at the start of the project.
For example, I want to start from the situation of a collaborator who goes on a coffee break and forgets to lock his computer. I want to show my learners the consequences of forgetting to lock their computer and give them the trick to lock their computer quickly and easily. This will be my first part. And so on and so forth.
The synopsis allows you to scan all the content to make sure you don't forget anything. It will be proofread and validated by your client. This will ensure that the stakeholders are ok with what will be said in the module. It also allows you to make sure that you have understood the content, that there are no grey areas for you, that everything seems understandable! You are the facilitator between experts and learners: the clearer the content is for you, the easier it will be for you to disseminate it and tell a "story" that supports it.
Once the synopsis has been validated, we move on to writing the storyboard, just like in the movies. The storyboard allows you to describe screen by screen what you will see in the module. For example, the first screen will be the home screen of the module: it will show a photo of your company, with the title of the module, there will be a "start" button that will appear after 3 seconds, etc.
The whole module will be described: the text that will appear, the media to be created (videos, animation, voice-over...), the exercises and their corrections, the annexed documents to download.... This is a stage that requires a great deal of rigour but which saves time afterwards: in fact, you must have it validated by your client before you start producing the media.
So if your client wishes to make changes, they take place before the actual creation of the video or animation, and are therefore easier to change before than after?
In the same way, the storyboard also allows the module designer to know precisely what is expected, so he can work autonomously without asking for details at each step: this is an invaluable time saver!
Secret n°3: a successful e-learning project is a well-finished project
Project framed and scripted, you are approaching the end and will soon deploy your module... So it's time for me to tell you the third and last secret: for your e-learning project to be successful, it must be well finished.
Often, we run out of time when we finish a module, and we tend to skip a bit the last step: testing and handling by outsiders.
You will of course reread the module, go over it again. You will have the feeling that you know it by heart and that nothing has escaped you. But we know that in these cases you don't really see what's under your nose... Having the module tested by someone outside the project is a good way to get a fresh look at your project. Ideally, having it tested by a person who does not know the subject is also interesting because it will allow you to check that everything is clear enough.
You should also take the time to test the module in different circumstances: on different browsers (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Safari...), on a pc, a tablet, a mobile phone... With sound, without sound (oh boy, we forgot the subtitles!).
Even if it is more and more widespread, e-learning continues to have its detractors and to be preceded by a bad reputation, especially the one linked to the technique which, it is well known, "never works anyway". Knowing that some of the people you are targeting will expect the module not to work, put all the chances on your side by making sure, as much as possible, that the module will work, whatever the circumstances. In any case at least by reducing the bug factor as much as possible. A module that works well is also a module that you will want to follow...
Finishing a project well means eliminating technical errors as much as possible and, of course, it also means communicating about its deployment. To do this, use marketing techniques! You have to "sell" your product, make learners want to follow it, make them understand why they will be interested and be useful. You can use all the resources at your disposal, be accompanied by the Communication Department, by your client, by internal ambassadors. You can create trailers, encourage teasing, organise a competition... Depending on the issue at stake, the communication part of the module(s) will also be a factor in success!
In short, a successful e-learning project is a well-defined, well-written and well-finished project. It's also a great adventure every time, full of unexpected events, cross paths and small victories... I hope that I have made you want to dive into it because the last secret ingredient for the success of your e-learning projects is... you!
- To be successful, an e-learning project needs to start off on the right foot. Above all, it is necessary to analyse the context in which it takes place, define the target and the objectives of the project!
- A well-written e-learning is a successful e-learning! Don't skimp on the "story" you tell throughout the course. The entire module must be written, which requires a great deal of rigour and precision.
- Is your digital project ready? Evaluate it, better, have it evaluated. An outside point of view can only be beneficial.