Charles Shields, Head of Online Delivery at Youth Sport Trust, was looking for a tool that his Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) – who are not technical wizards – could pick up and start using quickly. Learn why he chose Elucidat to help his team create high quality, industry leading content.
Charles Shields is a respected elearning practitioner expert with over 20 years experience. Currently working with Youth Sport Trust, Charles is building blended elearning courses with a team of Subject Matter Experts.
“I can honestly say that I haven’t come across any other tool that is easier to use than Elucidat. With Elucidat you get something that will speed up the process of creating elearning at scale, while keeping quality up.” – Charles Shields
A new direction
Elearning has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, and as an elearning practitioner expert, Charles Shields has seen it all.
He’s worked across a variety of disciplines, from education to sports; and with an even bigger variety of offering tools from HyperCard to Adobe Authorware and everything in between.
Charles has worked as a one-man show, as well as a team leader to large teams of experts, but his current position as Head of Online Delivery at Youth Sport Trust, was something new – he would be leading a team of Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) with little to no elearning experience.
Charles was looking to implement online and blended learning for the organization, a national charity in the UK that promotes physical education and physical literacy.
“I wanted to find a tool to partner with that was something that I could envision Subject Matter Experts, who are not necessarily technical wizards, picking up and being able to work with,” Charles recalls. “I wanted it to be the case that we bought in a tool that gradually I could get colleagues across the organization, across the office, to use themselves.”
Well versed in elearning offering systems, Charles knew it would be a challenge to find a tool that would compliment his unique team needs.
“If you’ve got an individual structural designer working on content in a tool like Articulate, what do you do about making it available to multiple stakeholders who need to review your progress?”
Adds Charles, “I knew that type of desktop-based platform was not going to work for us.”
With specialized courses such as “Sporting Ethics” and “The Teenage Brain,” Youth Sport Trust was relying on academic SME’s to write research based content. However, with limited elearning experience, they also required the services of freelance instructional designers which was costly.
Charles recognized an opportunity to truly scale the project.
Empowering SME’s to create elearning content themselves would not only save time but also money by eliminating the need for expensive instructional design contractors. The opportunity was there if Charles was able to find the right tool.
“There’s no way our SME’s were going to be able to create content with something like Articulate Storyline,” explains Charles. “They are reasonably technically literate but are not doing web development in their free time. We needed to find a tool that they could gradually get used to using.”
Charles had high expectations for an elearning platform, but he knew Elucidat was up for the task.
A tool that enables users to create high quality content
Elucidat’s easy-to-use system intrigued Charles immediately.
“I can honestly say that I haven’t come across any other tool that is easier to use than Elucidat,” beams Charles. “With Elucidat you get something that will speed up the process of creating elearning at scale, while keeping quality up; that’s where Elucidat excels.”
Working within a team capacity, Charles was drawn to Elucidat’s cloud-based system which easily allowed for a number of users to work on a single project – just the type of collaboration aid he had been seeking.
“An authoring tool from a stand-only desktop application, that doesn’t work anymore,” explains Charles. “Elucidat’s model of a cloud-based tool where you have reviewing functionality built into it, that’s absolutely the future.”
Elucidat’s ease of use had exceeded Charles’ expectations. SME’s were easily able to produce content directly inside the tool. In addition, content maintenance and refreshing was a breeze thanks to Elucidat’s one-step updating system.
“Elucidat is the right product at the right time for us,” smiles Charles. “Being able to instantly update our LMS through Elucidat has been a huge bonus.”
Refreshing content within Elucidat is so easy and effective, Youth Sport Trust is now in the position to license their content to outside agencies – an opportunity Charles never imagined before Elucidat.
“We are using Elucidat is to create a range of modules for elite young athletes, 14-15 year old athletes, who are on the talent pathway for their sport,” Charles explains. “We’ve had a lot of interest from sports national governing bodies in buying that content and then creating their own versions, by replacing our images with images from their own sports for example. Elucidat’s given us the ability to quickly and easily customize our content.”
Elucidat has brought an added level of trust to Charles and his SME’s thanks to their dedicated customer service team, always at the ready to help with frustrations – a key feature with so many users new to content design.
“Knowing that you can be working in Elucidat and if you come up against something you can click on the chat channel, fire a question away and that often instantly, or generally within five minutes you will have a response from Joe or whoever, is a huge thing for us,” grins Charles.
Decreased costs with increased growth potential
Elucidat’s easy-to-use platform has allowed Charles to train ten SME’s to create high quality, industry leading content in the first year alone – a number that is set to rise exponentially in the future.
“Right now we have about ten SME’s working within Elucidat.” Charles continues, “As an organization we’ve got 100 or so field experts based all around world and I think a significant proportion will be creating more engaging resources in Elucidat rather than Microsoft PowerPoint or Word in the near future.”
Also set to increase is room within the budget. As more SME’s are trained, Charles believes they will soon be able to eliminate the need for instructional design contractors.
“As we progress with Elucidat I see the potential to eliminate the need for instructional designers which would save us between $250-$300 pounds a day,” grins Charles. “By utilizing SME’s within Elucidat we will be able to keep costs down without sacrificing quality.”
Elucidat delivered exactly what Charles had hoped for – and more. Thanks to Elucidat’s superior quality, Charles and his team are now being approached to sell their content – a completely unexpected and welcome surprise.
“Creating content in Elucidat has given our project visual appeal and made it engaging for the user,” beams Charles. “We’ve had a lot of interest from outside agencies in buying our content and ‘white labeling’ it to create their own customized course.”
“That’s a really exciting growth area for us and using Elucidat to create the content is very much at the centre of that.”
Thanks to Elucidat’s adaptability and ever-expanding list of features, Charles is confident in their partnership now, and in the future.
“With Elucidat you’ve got a tool that is genuinely easy to use, you’ve got re-usable templates, and you can cut out that instructional design function,” beams Charles. “We’re very excited about the new analytics tool Elucidat has released, we’ve been very impressed with the insight it has provided and are looking forward to utilizing it more in the future.
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