Saturday, July 21, 2007

Shifting up a gear and getting rapid

At my company we are finally beginning to see a shift towards calls for rapid elearning options coming from our clients, or other clients being won over by what we show them we can offer to speed up their turnaround if they adopt rapid tools for certain parts of their output.

This is all to the good. The pressure cooker of bespoke development does no-one any good if the basic situation is that content cannot be finalised until only days before the final rollout of training is required. It even less useful if the content is apt to change AFTER the training begins, as it does with one company we work with. Collating changes, forwarding them to developers, testing the results, getting sign off, LMS testing and finally integration can ome in days after we might otherwise fire up PowerPoint, tweak the offending content, distribute for sign off and publish to SCORM output. Its a no-brainer.

By far the most convenient approach for us in these circumstances is the tried-and-tested PowerPoint to Flash route (Breeze, Articulate, PointeCast et al) as it allows the SMEs, mostly experienced classroom trainers beside their elearning roles, to get on with collating and editing content, while we can help by ensuring standard appearances and the optimum use of the tricks and workarounds that disguise the output's humble origins.

This approach is increasingly becoming attractive for dealing with that part of elearning that we do where we are dealing with straightforward knowledge transfer - performing the function that a memo may have done in the past, but with the trackability afforded by an LMS. This is not what I would hold up as a shining example of the benefits of elearning, but some clients feel it necessary and for them it is a huge advantage. I suspect that if many elearning practitioners are honest, they'll admit that they've seen this before - after all, it comes out of the same place as much of the compliance work that forms a huge part of the demand for elearning in the corporate environment.

I'm pleased as this allows our clients time to lift their heads up from the worry of gathering content that in the grand scheme of things is ephemeral, and instead they can begin to focus on that sort of content that makes for real benefit for their learners - and by cutting time on what is really, in terms of the final outcome, the 'little stuff', they are able to free budget to tackle the 'good stuff'. And that's a win all round.

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