5 Crucial Steps To Create A Custom eLearning Solution For A Large Enterprise

5 Crucial Steps To Create A Custom eLearning Solution For A Large Enterprise
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Summary: In this article, I'll present you the most important steps for developing eLearning platform: clarifying the enterprise-wide goals, preparing training materials, planning for high-cost processes, ensuring the platform is designed for integration, and understanding eLearning software options.

How To Create A Custom eLearning Solution For A Large Enterprise: 5 Crucial Steps

Are you thinking about building an eLearning platform for your enterprise?

If the answer is “yes”, then you’re not alone. A growing number of companies are realizing the benefits of employee learning software and experiencing the boost to employee competence and training efficiency they can deliver.

Most enterprises find that implementation of eLearning software results in a dramatic reduction in the costs associated with employee onboarding and continuous development. This is likely the reason behind the staggering growth of the LMS market.

But where do you begin? Should you opt for a popular out-of-the-box solution, hire a development company, or build a platform in-house from scratch? How much should you expect to pay? Are there any major pitfalls involved?

These are all questions that managers are likely to ask. In this article, we’re going to look at the 5 most vital “big-picture” steps that you need to take during eLearning platform development so that your solution works for everybody in your business.

1. Clarify Your Enterprise-Wide Goals

Here are some specific questions you will need to ask:

  • Will your solution be used for onboarding as well as continual employee training?
  • How many unique groups of employees (salespeople, marketers, managers, tech specialists etc.) will your software need to cater to with unique content?
  • How much collaboration will be required between users and content managers?
  • Do you want to test employee understanding through tests, one-to-ones, and events?
  • Do you want to track employee engagement and progress through an analytics dashboard?
  • Do you need functionality to allow people without any tech training to create and edit content?
  • Do you need to offer multiple platforms with different structures to cater to different departments, languages, branches, and so on?

Companies might be limited in the range of features they can provide. One of the worst possible scenarios is one in which you’ve invested time and resources into building an eLearning solution only to discover it falls short of what is required.

2. Make Sure Training Materials Are Adequately Prepared

There are lots of considerations for putting together training materials for a platform that will work across a range of languages, countries, and even company cultures.

It’s also vital to think about how training materials will evolve and change in light of shifting demands. It’s highly likely that you will need to build functionalities into your platform to allow for easy updates and employee alerts, for example.

It’s also important not to underestimate the amounts of resources that will need to be allocated to creating training articles, videos, and tests, not to mention the workforce involved in analyzing training results and drawing actionable insights from them. Many companies have entire departments dedicated to creating, adapting, and updating training materials.

One obvious option is outsourcing. A number of reputable companies offer outsourced solutions for creating training and development materials. It’s up to you to determine whether or not it will be more cost-effective to handle these tasks in-house or let a third-party take care of them.

It’s worth bearing in mind that most third-party learning management solutions make it very easy to upload training materials in a variety of formats (docx., pptx., pdf., video formats, etc.). The real difficulty only arises when these materials need to be adapted for disparate groups of employees—separated, for example, by language—and company cultures. Here, the required tasks may be beyond the skills of an in-house team.

3. Plan For High-Cost Processes

An enterprise-level company that intends to build a new eLearning platform will encounter a number of high-cost issues. Here, you can see the main problems associated with implementing an enterprise eLearning solution.

Gauging the impact of high-cost processes is usually crucial to gaining the support of all key decision-makers within an organization. In particular, you will want to plan for:

  • Translation
    How many languages will your training materials need to be available in? Are there cultural differences that will require unique approaches to how content is delivered, such as in regards to pop culture references?
  • Human involvement
    Where does your training process require direct human feedback and how will this be built into the software? How much will technical support cost?
  • Updates and time-sensitive content
    It’s important to adapt your eLearning platform to important time-sensitive training materials, especially those that relate to legal issues.
  • Back-end costs
    eLearning platforms for enterprises may require their own dedicated servers and tech teams. Even cloud-hosted options that provide support teams can be very costly over the long term.

4. Ensure Your Platform Is Designed For Integrations And New Tech

As new learning methods emerge and new technology makes it possible to drive down costs associated with traditional employee training practices, it’s crucial that your platform is able to adapt to changes.

One great example of this is the trend towards gamification in online learning. Including in the educational environment interactive elements taken from the gaming environment has proven incredibly powerful. Some educators have argued that it is changing the entire face of education.

The same is true of training material that can be accessed remotely via smart devices, enabling employees to flexibly engage in the learning process. Nearly all popular eLearning platforms will offer mobile versions.

Another clear trend in the LMS space is the move towards personalized learning, where employees are able to consume information in an environment specifically tailored to their preferences and learning style. The technological processes underlying this functionality are usually very complex.

Finally, it’s also vital to be clear about how you want your software to work in conjunction with your existing infrastructure. Do you want, for example, to integrate your training software with existing project management or CMS software? If you are opting for a complete HR solution, as opposed to just an LMS, will it need to integrate with your CRM or accounting tools?

5. Understand Your Options

The eLearning software market is easily one of the fastest-growing in the B2B space. A range of third-party options have emerged, each with their own unique benefits and drawbacks.

If you consider building a tailored solution and have already decided on an existing platform, it’s still worth having an understanding of the key players in the market. Not only will you be able to mirror important features in your own software, you’ll also avoid high development costs if any third-party solution is viable as-is.

The following are the most popular LMS providers for large enterprises:

  • Moodle: The biggest LMS on the market, this platform is targeted mainly at higher education but can be used in an enterprise setting as well.
  • SAP SuccessFactors: LMS market leader with an emphasis on large enterprises and collaboration.
  • Oracle PeopleSoft: Highly customizable software designed to meet a range of complex needs within enterprises.
  • Adobe LMS: Cloud-based LMS aimed at large enterprises and designed to offer ease-of-setup and use.
  • Cornerstone: SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) LMS with multi-language functionality and support packages included.
  • Skillport: Content delivery platform with a reputation for including the latest tech in its learning environment.

It’s important to be clear about the technical features you require when evaluating third-party solutions. Consequently, it’s vital to consult with your tech team before opting for a provider or engaging with a developer team to build a tailored solution.

There are a number of important questions to ask. Do you want a cloud-hosted solution or are you happy to utilize open-source software on your own serves? Do you need to integrate with employee management software? Are developer APIs a necessity?

What’s The Next Step In Building Your eLearning Solution?

The power of eLearning platforms shouldn’t be understated. Software solutions can dramatically cut costs while creating a consistent training culture across an entire enterprise. They also make it significantly easier to improve the training process going forward by delivering unified data insights and feedback.

But it’s also important to avoid the many common mistakes that managers make when building a new platform. To this end, using a development company is one of the best ways to build a customized enterprise-level solution without the hassle of major issues. They will also be able to ensure other steps are properly taken, such as SCORM and Section 508 compliance.