By Ben Palchick

The value of custom eLearning lies in its ability to help achieve business goals. Business objectives are met by knowing what you are working towards and communicating that to others.

Custom eLearning is crafted; it’s unique. This type of specialty training has the opportunity to generate results, but only if you are able to understand and articulate your business needs, training requirements and available resources.

The time and effort you put into creating a custom eLearning project foundation will directly impact its success. Doing this can be complex though, especially since it is not the only thing on your plate.

To help you, we’ve broken it down into 3 key areas. Each area includes specific questions you should ask and answer, in collaboration with your internal business partners.

The 3 Things You Need to Scope Custom eLearning

While this has to be pushed and pulled a bit to make it specific to your company and culture, broadly, you need to think about three things: Business Needs, Training Requirements and Available Resources.

Business Needs: What issue is driving the need for training and how is it impacting your business? Who is the audience and what relevant characteristics describe them?

Training Requirements: What information should the learner know or be able to do differently as a result of this training? What training components and media elements will facilitate this?

Available Resources: When should the training be delivered by and approximately how much do you anticipate spending on custom eLearning? What qualities do you expect from the custom eLearning vendor?

Want to know exactly how to think through these key areas of a custom eLearning project? We’ve compiled our digital learning experience and expertise into targeted training discussion points. Use them to scope your custom eLearning project so your business achieves meaningful results.

Identify the Specific Business Need for Custom eLearning

Think about your last digital learning experience. Perhaps this was corporate compliance training, an industry webinar, or even a “how-to” YouTube video. What about this experience made it meaningful or memorable? Likely, it was the relevance, or lack of relevance, of the information and how it was presented to you and your needs.

Likewise, your training must meet a specific business need. Connect with your internal business partners to identify the business issue or change that is driving the need for training. Start with how this need arose and what’s at its core, identifying if this is something new or if a knowledge or application gap been uncovered.

It is also important to consider the impact of the prospective training to the organization. Consider if this training is part of a large business shift or change in process. Think about if the training is part of an external mandate, such as compliance training. The situations in which the training will be presented to an audience may impact how the training is perceived and understood.

Get to Know Your Training Audience 

Think through and discuss the characteristics of the audience with your business partner as well. Consider their day to day roles, media preferences, age range, location and attention span. Think about what drives them and how they may internalize new information and skills.

Determine your Custom Training Requirements

Now, you can begin outlining what specific training tools will help achieve your business need. Think about what actions or behaviors you want the learner to take after they complete the training. How will you measure the success of your custom eLearning project? As you do this, you will begin to come up with content for your custom eLearning project, as well as training components.

Pinpoint the Core Content of your Custom eLearning Project  

Take a look at what source information you have available – policies, presentations, notes, or previous training – and begin to pull together what essential content pieces should be pulled out to guide the learner to the desired actions or behaviors. A comprehensive source content analysis will be conducted by your custom eLearning vendor once the project begins, but it’s helpful to have an idea of what specific information and sequence of materials are most critical from the start.

Establish your Valued Digital Learning Components 

Now, think about what training components are necessary – and which would be nice to have – to generate a connection between the custom digital learning experience and the learner’s everyday job. Some common custom eLearning components are:

·       Training length of time

·       Certification/badges

·       Knowledge checks

·       Learner interaction/engagement

·       Assessment/testing

·       Learner evaluation

·       Custom graphics

·  Audio and video

· Translations/localization

·  Collaboration and social learning

·  Gamification

·  Specific technical requirements

·  Supplemental resources, such as communication and spaced learning

Digital learning and the opportunity to engage learners across a variety of mediums and settings continue to evolve. Many more options are available today and a valuable custom eLearning vendor will be able to help you determine what custom eLearning components may be right for you, based on your business needs and content requirements.

Consider Key Custom Training Resources

Identify upfront when you need or want the training ready and approximately how much you are willing and able to budget for this custom eLearning project. Timeline and budget are key factors that often impact one another.

When Do You Need Training Ready? 

To identify your target timeline, begin with the end in mind. If you need to have training completed by the time a new regulation goes into effect, or have the sales team trained by the time their annual meeting is held or a new product is released, that becomes your starting point.

Keep in mind that the implementation of higher-level instructional concepts, such as gamification, or multimedia elements, such as video and animation, impact more resources and take more time to develop. In addition, custom eLearning that must be delivered within a tight window of time may come at a cost.

What is your Custom eLearning Budget? 

When thinking about a budget for custom eLearning, you must be realistic and up-front. If you have a specific budget constraint, list it. Quality custom eLearning vendors would rather know what budget you are working in and then let you know what services they can offer within it.

If your custom eLearning project requires complex graphics and development, be practical about a budget that reflects the time and effort that may be needed to implement it. And, if you are unsure what custom eLearning projects may cost, ask. Vendors who want to be your long-term business partner will be honest about their services and openly discuss various factors that impact its cost.

No project is ever the exact same and custom eLearning vendors consider multiple elements when building out a timeline and budget for each project. While timeline and budget may increase, typically so does the value of the learning experience.

Create a Custom eLearning Scope Document

Now, take the time to clearly write down the essence of your business needs, training requirements, and available resources. This sets clear expectations from the get-go for you and your internal business partners to create a digital learning solution that achieves business results.

If you already work with a trusted custom eLearning vendor, this information becomes the basis of your project SOW and kickoff. If not, this becomes the baseline of your search for a custom eLearning partner. If required by your organization, you can use this information in a Request for Proposal (RFP).

Unsure what custom eLearning vendors to reach out to? Our next article in this series provides specific guidance on how to find the right custom eLearning vendor among a sea of lookalikes.

Investing in Your Custom eLearning Success

LHT Learning is investing in your success. This is the first in a 4-part series of articles designed to channel our experiences into step-by-step instructions and insights to help you deliver more value to your business through custom eLearning.

The four articles are:

  1. How to scope custom eLearning projects to achieve business results
  2. How to find the right custom eLearning vendors among a sea of lookalikes
  3. How to select the best custom eLearning partner for your project
  4. How to get the most from your custom eLearning partner

Eager for the next article? Let us know your email address and you’ll receive it the minute it’s available.

About LHT Learning

LHT Learning creates custom, digital learning solutions that engage learners and connect information to action.