Managing e-Learning Projects - Part 4
In my third blog post, I talked about the stages of effective project management and the skill set required for managing eLearning projects. In this final blog post in a series about eLearning Project Management, I will cover some eLearning Project Management tips and considerations. I will also go over the key deliverables that all eLearning Project Managers should be aware of. There are three major goals that a project seeks to achieve. They include ensuring that the task is completed On Time, Within Budget and delivers Expected Quality results. To accomplish that, the project team, and specifically the Project Manager, should focus on:
- Good Time Management Practices
This means monitoring critical tasks to ensure they are completed within agreed upon timeframes. More importantly, it also means accurately estimating the time required for the job
- Good Asset Management Practices
Whether it is a laptop or a tablet, or a high-definition projection system or specialized eLearning content development software. All project assets must be closely tracked and their usage monitored
- Effective communication
It is estimated that 60% of project "issues" would never have existed had there been effective communication between conflicting parties. As a PM, you must know how to communicate effectively with all project stakeholders, both internally and externally.
- Team organizationHow teams are managed, how files are organized for quick and efficient retrieval, and how teams communicate and collaborate internally and externally as workgroups is something that will impact the three goals (Time, Budget, Quality) of the project.
Paying close attention to these four tips will result in delivering a successful ID project.
Overall e-Learning Project Management Considerations
Managing an eLearning project that delivers an Instructional Design package, which pleases everyone, isn't overly complicated. However, to do it right, PMs must give due consideration to the following:
- Clearly understand the learning challenges within the organization
- Identifying all key stakeholders as early as possible
- Get key sponsors onboard early on in the project's life cycle
- Define the desired outcomes (success/failure criteria)for the project in as much detail as possible, and get formal sign off on them
- Agree upon metrics for measuring project outcomes
- Identify and secure the right resources, People, Technology, Processes, for the project
- Initiate regular stakeholder communication
- Pay attention to organizing the project’s library: Create common object repositories and manage /control them. Update the library with new and discard old versions. Manage course versions carefully
- Identify potential risks to the project and revisit them frequently.
- Project Closeout: Build a project "Knowledge base" and "Lessons learned" repository with all pertinent information about the project for future PMs to refer to
Types of e-Learning deliverables
A very crucial part of the eLearning Project Manager's responsibility is to produce and manage a variety of eLearning deliverables. Some of the key eLearning deliverables include:
- Project Charter
Which clearly outlines the project's scope, and defines the roles and responsibilities of major stakeholders
- Course Design Document
This is one of the more important deliverables for an ID project as it outlines in detail what the final course package will look like
- Storyboard Templates
Storyboards help everyone - the Project Sponsor, the Project Team, and Instructional Designers. Where possible, the use of templates also saves time, introduces standardization and ensures consistent quality of all storyboards
- ScriptsInstructors depend on these scripts to deliver the course. It is essential that the PM institutes processes to build, validate and control these scripts throughout the project, including updating and archiving them when necessary
- GUIs and other graphics
An ID project will not be completed without a slew of graphics and other animation objects. All of these are part of the final ID package.
- Other assets
Depending on the type of content being developed, the project may produce other deliverables, including Microsoft Word documents, Microsoft Project Plans, MS Power Points, Videos, Audio and Animation files.
It is the eLearning Project Manager's responsibility to institute adequate process to ensure that not only are high quality deliverables produced, but also to make sure they are managed throughout their individual lifecycles (Creation, Change, Updates, Version Revisions, Archival and Destruction/Deletion).ConclusionIn conclusion, it is important to realize that Instructional Designer and Project Manager roles are both important for successful eLearning course design. Both have similar but slightly differing goals and objectives. Yet, both have many identical stages in their lifecycles.Bottom line: ID and PM are not necessarily replacements to each other, but rather both roles complement each other.If you want to learn more about Instructional Design for eLearning, you are more than welcome to check the Instructional Design for ELearning: Essential guide to creating successful eLearning courses book.
Managing e-Learning Projects Article Series