How to produce rapid elearning really slowly

Did you every wonder why so many companies seem to have trouble producing rapid e-learning really quickly?

Almost as if they want to produce rapid e-learning slowly?

Us too.

So… we created a video to teach the common pitfalls you should avoid to create engaging e-learning really quickly. We hope it helps.

In this video:

00:10 – How to produce rapid e-learning really slowly
00:24 – Generate as much documentation as possible
02:02 – Use disconnected technologies
03:11 – Use the wrong kind of people to produce courses
04:27 – Use an over-complex, obscure process

What do you think?

Feel free to share in the comments below!

Read the transcription here:

Hi! This is Patrick Dunn for the Elucidat blog.

So, I’m very intrigued that despite the growth in rapid e-learning development tools so many organisations I talked to seem to still have real trouble producing rapid e-learning really quickly. So much as if they want to produce rapid e-learning slowly. So, I thought I’d do a video about it.

Generate As Much Documentation As Possible

The main reason that we used to have to use a lot of documentation in e-learning is because it was devoted to express to stakeholders what it is we were actually making, what we were producing. So we have to describe it in some kind of text documentation, video documentation or whatever.

The thing is – that’s not helping things anymore now we have rapid tools, I mean like Elucidat and others, you can actually produce what you’re making so quickly that the effort that you’re going to invest in producing documents is often wasted. And frankly, most people ignore documents anyway.

If you think about the three most important documents in the typical e-learning development process;

  1. You have some kind of project specification
  2. You have a high-level design or a high-level description
  3. You have a script or storyboard

Now, if you’ve got the right tool, my view (and this is increasingly shared amongst experts), my view is that you can do away with the second and third in that list. You don’t really need a high-level design. You don’t really need a script or storyboard because the best way to express what you’re making… is to make it! Tweet this!

A couple of weeks ago, I finished reading a book about editing and there the author was saying, “If you take the first draft of almost any piece of text, you should aim to cut it by 50%”, and I think for me that’s become a rule. Not just about text but about all forms of documentation in e-learning. So, cut the number of documents that you’re producing by 50% and cut the length by 50%.

Use Disconnected Technologies

What I mean by this is the suite of technologies that you’re using, they don’t connect or fully integrate. There are breaks in the process. I call them jump points.

For example you might be writing a script in Word, and then copying and pasting as you often do. You can introduce errors, delays. We all make mistakes.

You might be publishing your final course in one system and uploading it to somewhere else and emailing subject matter experts so they can have a look at it – they click on a link and go to different system.

These could all be discontinuities or break points, jump points. You’ve got to analyse your process and look where these breakpoints are. And then change the process or change the technology.

I think the key point here is that we don’t live in this physical delivery world anymore. You know – when you make something, and then at a separate time you deliver it to another party, another person in your organisation.

We’re now living in a networked world where we’re we should be aiming to work synchronously. Together! At the same time!

That is, unless you want to produce e-learning really slowly.

Use The Wrong Kind of People to Produce Courses

I still come across quite a few organisations that frankly use the wrong people for developing rapid e-learning.

For example, they might use senior subject matter experts for a very short period of time (very expensive!), because they feel that they’re the only ones who understand the content.

Or, they might use technology experts because they feel they’re the only ones that will cope with the challenges of using technology…

And because of both of these errors – they slow the whole process down again.

E-learning courses need to be produced by people that understand learning. Tweet this!

E-learning development these days, because of the kind of deskilling process that’s occurred with rapid tools like Elucidat, e-learning is not rocket science. I wish it was rocket science because then people like me get paid a little more, but it’s not!

So, the barriers to entry have come down and some of these phrases that I used to hear and I still sometimes hear, like, “Oh I’m a learning expert so I don’t use technology,” or, “I’m not very good with computers.” These really are not acceptable anymore. They’re not relevant. They’ve got to get over it.

Find the right tool. Learn how to use it, which is ever so quick, and use the right people to develop e-learning. It’s much quicker that way.

Use An Over-Complex, Obscure Process

If you’re building a ship or if you’re planning the next Olympic games, you probably need a very elaborate, very sophisticated project management planning control process. But you’re not! You’re producing rapid e-learning and rapid e-learning is quick and it’s easy.

The process should be in all cases, really simple, 5 stages:

  1. Find out what people need to learn
  2. Decide on some kind of high-level approach, a learning strategy of some sort
  3. Create the content
  4. Check the contents are okay
  5. Get the content out

Simple as that!

So, ask yourself these questions:

1. What are the least number of stages that you and your organisation can go through in your process for producing rapid e-learning?

2. How can you get through those stages quickly? What’s the quickest way to get through them? What’s the most efficient way you can move through the process?

3. This is the big one: Who is responsible for managing that process so that it stays neat, clean and doesn’t bloat unnecessarily?

Okay, so, if you want to produce rapid e-learning very slowly, do these things. Tweet this!

If you want to produce rapid e-learning quickly, do the opposite.

Thanks very much for your time, see you next time. Bye.