As Content Creation Manager at Learning Pool one of my main responsibilities is ensuring that we deliver e-learning modules that meet our clients’ training needs, timescales and budget.
Whether it’s an internal project, such as a new module for the Learning Pool catalogue, or an external project, such as a piece of bespoke e-learning, the process we follow is very much the same.
Our project plans are always based around our development methodology although at the start of each project we plan it out to ensure it makes sense for everyone involved. Sometimes there may be additional stages and sometimes we may compress the stages to meet a particularly tight deadline. However we always make sure the key deadlines and sign off points are covered. Experience tells us that to miss any of these can cause a lot more time and work in the project overall.
Step 1 The content
Until there is some idea of where the content for the e-learning module is coming from or, at the very minimum, what the objectives of the learning are, it’s not wise to move to the next stage.
Step 2 Kick off meeting
This is preferably a face to face meeting to discuss the aims, objectives and any other requirements of the project. It is the time for everyone to agree the approach, detailed content and the way forward in terms of any actions or gaps that need to be completed.
Step 3 Project Initiation Document
This document summaries all discussions from the kick off meeting and needs to be signed off by all involved before moving onto the next stage.
Step 4 Content Outline
The content outline is the blueprint for the structure, content and objectives of your project. Moving forward without sign-off of this could ultimately lead to a lot of unnecessary work for those involved.
Step 5 Prototype
The prototype tends to be a sample of a few pages of on screen content. It doesn’t need to be finalised content, but must give a feel for the approach to be taken.
Step 6 Storyboard
The storyboard is a document containing the exact text that will appear on screen and a description of all the images, animations, videos and interactions that will appear also. Again sign-off here is vital, it’s easier to change a document than it is a video that has already been shot or an animation that has already been created. Obviously with our Authoring Tool changing a bit of text isn’t too tricky or time consuming, but it’s still good to get it right from the start.
Step 7 Alpha release
The first on screen version of the module. Fully interactive, with all elements included. It’s basically a final version ready for review.
Step 8 Beta release
The second on screen version, hopefully almost complete now but may need a few tweaks before becoming…
Step 9 Gold release
Ready to go live on your DLE or other learning managment system. The content creation process sounds easy, but there are often hiccups along the way. For example, legislation or the needs of the organisation may change, but if this process is followed it should be a smooth path from the seed of an idea for your module to seeing it grow into a fully fledged module being rolled out across your organisation.