How Skipping the Design Phase Could Derail Your eLearning Project
By Cheryl Powell, CEO of Learn2Engage
Take a good look at this word cube. What word is missing from this entire list of project planning terms? If you guessed ‘Design’, you are correct!
Most organizations tend to skip this phase due to time constraints, and sometimes because they believe it is optional. A luxury. A nice-to-have.
“What could possibly go wrong?” they ask. Well, I have seen situations where this phase was skipped either in the Storyboarding phase or even the final stages of eLearning development. The client looks at the deliverable presented to them with a furrowed forehead and says, “This is not what I asked for?”
No one wants to hear those words. Time to break out the Change Request document and start calculating those re-work hours and costs. Ugh!
Compare those rework hours, to the 10 or 15 hours it would have taken to create that Design Document and the difference is crystal clear. It’s simply not worth it to skip this phase.
So let’s talk about what goes into a design document! In the end, it should be your ‘shell’ for the entire course. Your go-to document when creating your storyboard, prototype, and modules. I’ve listed the sections to include in your design document below.
As you can see, it is quite comprehensive, but will ultimately save you time, money, and many headaches later on in the project.
Be sure to present your document in Word format and have the client use Track Changes to make edits and add pertinent information. Afterwards, have them sign off on the document to confirm agreement to the course design.
With this as your ‘shell’, you can feel more confident that each phase thereafter will match this design and give the client exactly what they want.
In the end, your phased process for your eLearning project should look like this:
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About the Author
Cheryl Powell, CEO of GC Learning Services LLC dba Learn2Engage, is in her 22nd year as a Virtual Instructional Design and e-Learning Specialist, with clients all over the US and overseas.
Her industry experience includes Telecommunications, Finance (Mortgage, Banking and Credit industry), Sales, Pharmaceutical, Media, Software Development, and many more. Most of the requested corporate topics revolve around employee development, with topics such as Corporate Compliance, Cultural Diversity, Workplace Ethics, Sexual Harassment and Labor Laws and other HR New Hire topics.
She holds a Bachelor in Business Management, a graduate certification in Project Management, and a Master of Science degree in IT Project Management and has studied the Adult Learning principles of experts and theorists such as Gagne’s (nine events), Maslow’s (hierarchy of needs), and Dr. Ruth Clark, to ensure her courses, presentations, storyboards and modules, engage the learner, utilize the proper balance of white space, text and graphics, and result in high Learner Retention rates.
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