Project Management In 6 Simple Steps
Over the recent years, the educational sector has advanced considerably. We’ve come a long way from the traditional blackboard and chalk era. Today, we’re utilizing digital tools for assistance in teaching and learning practices.
To say eLearning has been beneficial for both students and teachers alike would be an understatement. In fact, the global eLearning market in the U.S. will be worth approximately $460 billion in 2026. So, you can imagine what the future of education and professional training will look like.
But such practices are not easy to adopt. At times people feel like they’ve hit a roadblock while trying to work their way through an eLearning project. For instance, they don’t know where to start a project or how to develop a suitable timeline. However, there are people who have adapted to it nonetheless. And to help you get there, we’re sharing some tips that you can put to good use.
1. Kickoff Meetings
If you’ve never heard of a kickoff meeting before, it is time to familiarize yourself with it. To avoid getting stuck in a loophole of never-ending what-ifs, you must call a kickoff meeting before starting any project. Such a meeting is held with the team and the stakeholders to discuss every aspect of the project and for team building. The basic idea is to let everyone know of the objectives and aims so that they can work accordingly to play their part.
Furthermore, you can devise a mission statement for the project and explain the entire timeline to the team. The meeting might take a long time, so inform each member beforehand to clear their schedules. A key tip would be to dedicate someone to noting down the minutes of the meeting as well because it’d help in referring back to what has already been discussed later on. In this way, you’ll get to establish your project leadership and make sure everyone is on the same page.
2. Project Timeline
The next step is to create a timeline, which the whole team can follow throughout the project. Now keep in mind this timeline is for you to track the project proceedings according to schedule. So, while you’re not bound by it, it’s best if you and the team follow it strictly. Otherwise, if unforeseen delays occur, the project may very well derail.
The timeline would include content compilation. This stage, in particular, would require extensive research because you need to oversee each course’s content and how every instructor will teach it. There’s also the matter of content gaps and how to overcome them with further research. Finally, every chapter should include learning goals so that students can judge where they stand.
You can outline each deliverable and its tentative timeline. For instance, drawing up the course outline should not take more than a month or so. All the decision-making related to the course outline should be completed within that deadline, such as content writing, storyboarding, organizing the material, etc.
Another major step will be to review and test the course prototype because before developing the entire course, you need to go through the workings of each feature. You will have to see how the functions pan out and whether they’re user-friendly or not. Address any issue promptly, otherwise, it can cause delays in the project timeline. It’d also be wise to take the team’s input and adjust your timeline as per their requirements.
3. Project Deliverables
Once you have decided upon the timeline, it’s time to highlight your deliverables or milestones. It will help to let the team know what to prioritize, and meet expectations by delivering the tasks on time. A typical eLearning project would consist of the following milestones:
- Course outline
- Research notes
- Course content
- Beta eLearning course
- Final eLearning course
You’ll have to write down the tools and resources that will be required to complete each milestone. State the time frame or window during which the team should complete the milestones. Factor in any issues that the team may encounter, and include additional time for it. Also, include estimated costs, if any, so that you can keep track of the budget. To be more efficient, use Google Sheets for drawing up a chart or a table to note down each piece of information.
In case you’re having issues, you should study a few project plan templates to get an idea, just like you’d reach out to an academic site. Keep in mind, though, that every project works differently, so you’ll have to tailor yours to your needs. In this way, you’ll be all set with the planning phase of your eLearning project. Furthermore, you can also leverage a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) to refine each stage delivery accordingly.
4. Storyboarding And Development
One of the major components of an eLearning project is the storyboarding process. It allows a developer to visualize the eLearning project that has been laid out for them. In addition, a storyboard serves as a training document for the online courses you’ll be teaching. They help outline the content, audios, and visuals to indicate how the interaction between a student and teacher plays out.
You can use storyboards to collaborate with experts in their particular field and get their input. They can help by providing feedback to make the student-teacher learning process smoother. For instance, a graphic designer will tell you whether the design is attractive or plain old boring. Similarly, a developer would let you know whether a feature is integral or not.
Speaking of development, whether the eLearning platform is user-friendly or not depends on the developers. These guys will be the ones shaping your ideas into reality, thanks to the storyboards. You’ll have to pick out the color scheme, graphics, animations, and features (if you have a preferred list), and they’ll do the rest for you. A development process may consist of the following steps:
- Define your goals as per the eLearning project
- Create a design with these steps
- Mind mapping
- Develop the content with a keen eye
- Study templates
- Curate content
5. Stakeholder Management
An eLearning project involves a number of stakeholders. Without even a single one of them, the project can be unsuccessful. Hence, you have to keep an eye on each player so that they play their part accordingly. For instance, if the project manager is not assigning tasks and monitoring the team, the project could be in jeopardy. As a result, it may not be completed on time.
At times, there’s also the fact that a stakeholder will have unreasonable demands. So that’s where you’ll have to come up with a solution to satisfy stakeholder expectations. The following people are stakeholders in an eLearning project:
- Project manager
- Subject Matter Experts
- Instructional Designers
- Multimedia designers
- Technology experts
- Quality assurance specialist
To establish a successful relationship with each one of these key players, you’ll have to communicate extensively. Not only that, but you’ll also be responsible for defining the scope to them. So take the time that’s required, because their understanding and time are an utmost necessity for project completion.
6. Tools And Channels
In an eLearning project, things can be disastrous if a team member doesn’t know which tool they ought to work with. Not only will it disrupt the project timeline, but you’ll also have to deal with possible collateral damage. Hence, you’d be better off letting everyone know what they’re supposed to work with at the beginning of the project.
So, let the team know which channels you’re using to communicate with them. The development team will have an idea in mind of what sort of tools will be useful for the project. However, you should also let them know your preferences about software, like the authoring tools you think will be best for the project, and so on.
Make sure your eLearning project goes through alpha as well as beta testing. In this way, you’ll be able to carry out tests in batches with two different sets of users. Changes from both versions can be incorporated in the final version of the project, and you’ll be good to go. Here are a few eLearning tools off the top of our heads:
Video editing tool for screen recordings
For creating responsive screens
eLearning content creating tool
Messenger for experienced learning designers
- Adobe Captivate
Creating high-quality content
We believe that with these key points in your mind, you’ll be perfectly capable of creating an eLearning project and handling it all on your own.