How To Create eLearning Courses On Budget
With a bit of ingenuity, eLearning professionals can make a little go a long way. Here are a few top tips for getting the most out of your eLearning resources, so that you can cut development costs without sacrificing quality.
- Repurpose existing eLearning content.
Chances are, your client already has a wide range of learning materials to choose from, or you may even have some eLearning content that can be reused for your current eLearning project. Printed materials, such as employee manuals, brochures, tests, and a wide range of other resources can be integrated into the eLearning course. This saves you the development time and expense of having to hire an eLearning content developer to create everything from scratch. Keep in mind, however, that you will need to fine tune and modify your materials to get them ready for their digital debut. For example, a 20-page manual may need to be whittled down to avoid cognitive overload and make it suitable for the screen.
- Rely on rapid eLearning authoring tools.
Thanks to modern technology, you can create a high quality eLearning course for a fraction of the cost, and time, by using rapid eLearning authoring tools. Many of these tools are free or low-cost, and are web-based. This means that you can access them anytime, anywhere, and work collaboratively with your eLearning team. You can share files, feedback, and keep track of deadlines without having to search for a third-party project management platform. Lectora Online, Adobe Captivate 8, and Elucidat are just three examples of authoring tools that can help you design amazing eLearning experiences on an eLearning budget.
- Incorporate links to supplemental learning resources.
If you don’t have the resources to develop your own eLearning videos and supplemental materials, you can include links to external materials within your eLearning course. For example, providing links to YouTube videos and informative articles can help your learners explore the topic on their own, and it doesn’t take a bite out of your eLearning budget. You can also point your learners in the right direction so that they are able to find the information on their own. Explain how to use social media sites and forums to benefit from the experience of their peers, or teach them how to effectively search for topics online, especially if they aren’t tech-savvy.
- Save time with eLearning templates.
Instead of developing your eLearning course from the ground up, use eLearning templates to cut down on development time and costs. Many authoring tools have pre-designed templates and themes that allow you to input your own information and branding logos. This means you don’t have to hire a graphic designer to take care of the layout, color scheme, buttons, and navigation bars. It’s all taken care of for you. eLearning templates also make it easier to build additional eLearning courses and make changes to your existing eLearning course, as you can simply access the user interface and update the contents.
- Create your own eLearning course narrations.
Audio narrations in eLearning helps to engage and immerse online learners. However, hiring a professional voice actor to record and edit the audio can be expensive. If you handle the eLearning narration yourself or ask a member of your eLearning team to narrate the script, then edit it using a free editing audio software, like Audacity, so you can cut down on project spending. In addition, Text To Speech software, when chosen correctly, is a fantastic way to add narration to your eLearning courses, and the translation options get it to the global market, reaching a wider audience. Also, text to speech software makes your courses accessible to either visually impaired learners or people with learning disabilities who have difficulties with reading.
- Develop tutorials and interactive videos with screen recording tools.
If you are dealing with more complex subject matter or need to convey a step-by-step process, add interactive videos or screen recordings to your eLearning course instead of paying for a professional production. Programs like Adobe Captivate and Camtasia give you the opportunity to record or capture anything that’s on your screen, and then add it into your eLearning experience. You are also able to add narrations to your eLearning videos to make them even more beneficial.
- Enlist the aid of a subject matter expert.
This may seem counter-productive, especially if you are trying to save money. However, hiring a subject matter expert can actually cut costs in the long run.Think of how much time you would have to spend researching the topic yourself, especially if it’s a topic you aren’t familiar with. Instead of wasting valuable resources on trying to tackle the subject on your own, you can enlist the aid of an expert who can tell what needs to be included and what can be left out of your eLearning course. This can also help you to create the most valuable eLearning experience for your learners, as you can custom tailor your online content to meet the learning objectives.
- Enlist the aid of eLearning specialists.
This same rule applies to eLearning specialists. If you aren’t sure how to design an interactive branching scenario or high quality eLearning video, then you can outsource the work to experts who can. They already know about the tools and techniques, so they will be able to create the eLearning content in a fraction of the time, and maybe even a fraction of the cost. Ask for an estimate in advance and speak with a few different freelancers or companies to figure out which one has the experience and skill sets you need for your eLearning project.
Don't let a shoestring eLearning budget stand in the way of creating an unforgettable eLearning course. Use these tips to stretch every dollar and deliver an effective eLearning experience.
As they say, "time is money!" Check out the article The Ultimate eLearning Course Design Checklist to streamline your work flow and maximize your productivity.