teamworkINTRODUCTION

As an eLearning developer, one the most important (yet often overlooked) functions is project management. Project management strategies contribute to the success of an eLearning project by ensuring the project remains on schedule and achieves the business unit’s goals. This article reviews a web-based training (WBT) project I worked on in 2016.

CHALLENGE

Each year this business unit produces an eight-hour eLearning project for approximately 24,000 users. In 2016, 24 WBT modules were developed in Captivate 9.0, averaged 40 pages in length and included videos, animations, simulations and drag and drop interactions. The department delivered the training via the SumTotal learning management system (LMS) to PC, Apple laptop, iPad and Android tablet devices. The four-person development team delivered all 24 modules on time with few content and functionality issues.

In contrast, the 2015 project had content organization problems, typos and content errors, functionality issues and LMS tracking problems. One week before the WBT launched, the business unit realized several modules were not developed. Team members had to work 16-hour days, seven days a week to complete the modules. In addition, the instructional design, graphic design, writing and functionality quality was low. The 2015 project lacked a clear project management plan.

SOLUTION

In 2016, the team implemented a basic project management plan. Although there are more components that make up a successful project management plan, this article focuses on three, which led to the success of the 2016 project.

  1. Communication Plan
  2. Project Plan
  3. Quality Assurance Plan

Communication Plan

The team conducted a project kick-off meeting nine months before the launch date with the following developments:

  • Weekly planning and status meeting
  • Weekly update email

Project Plan

The team collaborated to create a tailored project plan with the following sections:

  • Project scope
  • Role definition and responsibilities
  • Timeline and deliverables

Quality Assurance Plan

A brainstorming session led the team to implement a three-phase quality assurance plan. The small size of the team presented another challenge, so we had to enlist the help of outside resources (instructors).

Phase I

  1. The curriculum developer creates the storyboard
  2. The assigned Captivate developer develops the module
  3. The other two Captivate developers review the module and provide feedback
  4. The assigned Captivate developer edits the module based on the feedback

Phase II

  1. Instructors (group 1) review each module and provide feedback
  2. The curriculum developer reviews the feedback and sends relevant feedback to the assigned Captivate developer
  3. The assigned Captivate developer edits the module based on the feedback

Phase III

  1. Instructors (group 2) review each module and provide feedback
  2. The curriculum developer reviews the feedback and sends relevant feedback to the assigned Captivate developer
  3. The assigned Captivate developer edits the module based on the feedback

TAKE AWAY

I learned two things from this project, the importance of flexibility and motivation. A project management plan does not have to be a rigid set of stages that you must follow in order. You can create a plan that fits the project and team members. In addition, the team’s motivation can bring a project to a screeching halt. Team members started to lose steam around the middle and end of the project. There should be a plan in place to encourage and support team members to keep them motivated.

Share your eLearning project management stories. I would love to hear your successes and lessons.

Author: Rema Merrick is an eLearning consultant who helps startups and small businesses attract and retain growth-oriented talent by delivering customized eLearning solutions.

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