101 e-Learning tips to success on your project

101-tips-for-e-learning

101 e-Learning tips to success on your project

 

It does not matter if you are a teacher, a project manager or the CEO of a company, university or any organization that offers e-Learning courses or use them for self-training. The following tips have been compiled by us for more than 10 years of experience in E-learning projects and have proven to be very useful when to achieve the best results.

 

We invite you to read these 101 tips and send us your own strategies to complement this post:

 

  1. First Things First: The “e” in e-Learning stands for education — we too often forget that — it is not about bandwidth,servers, and cables. It is about education – first and foremost. Ken Gaines East-West University
  2. There is a Place and a Time For Everything: Be assured that e-Learning is not a silver bullet. Refrain yourself from using e-Learning for every training/learning opportunity. There is a place for e-Learning, but it is not appropriate in every circumstance. Ashok Malani TIMGC, Inc.
  3. Start Small, Grow Later: If you’re just starting out with e-Learning, target a course that is small but high visibility for yourorganization. After it is deployed successfully, developing future courses will become moreeasily acceptable. Rick Zanotti RELATE Corporation
  4. Learning Is Learning Is Learning: e-Learning is just a media, a small “e” in front of learning. Thus, everything fundamental aboutlearning applies as well. Victoria Penacca Telefonica
  5. Do You e-Learn?: Make sure you experience being an e-Learner yourself before you attempt to deliver a course online. Sophie di Corpo University of New South Wales
  6. First Time?: Consider blending e-Learning with classroom learning as a short mandatory component. This may help people to become comfortable with e-Learning if they haven’t tried it before. Adam Oosterhoff Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
  7. One Step At A Time: First step, think about Learning. Second step, think about e-Learning. Geellis Winkel
  8. First Impressions Stick: Make sure a learner’s first experience of e-Learning is a good one or else they won’t try again. Gail Smillie Scottish Enterprise Grampian
  9. Maintenance, Anyone?: Ensure you have a plan for updates or maintenance of the software. Scott Sutker Wachovia Corporation
  10. Learning + Business + Technology = Value: I found that by focusing on “learning solutions” that have business value, and then building in technology to achievethe advantages we all know about, e-Learning can become much more relevant in the business world. Willie Maritz Kalleo Learning
  11. Just Do It: With the current economy, you may need to be realistic, not idealistic. Planning is the best way to build e-Learning but just doing it, honestly, has worked well for some. Ahden Busch Sun Microsystems
  12. What Worked, What Didn’t: Failures? Doing too much with too short a time frame; Doing too much with too little resources; Too many hands in the “cookie jar”; Over promising and under delivering. Successes? Since first impressions are everything, bringing in new opinions as new delivery mediums rolled out; Employing numerous content delivery methods; Telling them, showing them, telling them again, then giving them something to take away. Albert Lilly 360 Training
  13. 15 Minutes A Day Keeps The Doctor Away: Develop a culture that supports – at all levels – 15 minutes of professional development everyday. Not an average, but a minimum of 15 minutes every single working day. Will Fleshman MindLeaders
  14. Rock Solid Learning: If you do not have expert level technical staff in your department, partner with an IT group in your organization and ensure availability through budget transfer if necessary. Without a solid “e”, there is no e-Learning. Eli Munzer Verizon
  15. Dear Manager: Teachers need the support of their manager if e-Learning is to be successful. Madeleine Pitt Chisholm Institute
  16. Don’t Re-Invent The Wheel: Use vendors’ expertise and challenge them with your specific business needs. They haveprobably seen this before with another client. Elaine Wilson British Airways
  17. Budget Out Several Years To Stay In: Make sure you know where your e-Learning budget will come from three years down the road.Have a business model that is built to last for your e-Learning initiative. Dr. Herwig Rollett Assn. For Computing Machinery
  18. It’s Like Building A House: Instructional design and review time is usually about 25% more than planned. Watch your planning schedule! Dave Goodman SoftAssist
  19. High Maintenance Can Be Costly: If your organization relies heavily on distributed computer based training and the system is old and very difficult to upgrade, perhaps you should think about investing in a new one to reduce maintenance, increase profits, and not risk the safety of the data. Carold D.Whisnant APS
  20. Show Me!: Buy stuff that works … seeing is believing. Richard Berg
  21. At The Heart Of It: It’s not enough to engage learners’ minds. You must engage their hearts as well. Carter Andrews Little Planet Learning
  22. Adapt, Don’t Just Copy: Put thought into the creation of the e-Learning module. Follow instructional design principles. E-learning is NOT just a conversion of Word or PowerPoint documents. E-Learning is a different medium – adapt your content accordingly. Ashok Malani TIMGC, Inc.
  23. Don’t Confuse Your Learner: The e-Learning program must be easy to access and navigate or you will lose the learner before they can even start. Don Eppert Sara Lee
  24. Keep Things Simple: Don’t try to get too fancy, too fast. The more complex your solution, the more things can go wrong. John Brisbin Scotiabank
  25. Learn Over Coffee: A success in course development was to take an 18 hour total training time and break it into 15 minute learning segments. This allowed a very busy work group to complete a segment in brief periods before starting work,lunch hour, or coffee breaks. Our unofficial theme was, “Improve your skills with a cup of coffee.” Dan Castro, GE Company
  26. Don’t Hog The Bandwidth: When developing e-Learning content, be sensitive to your enterprise bandwidth limitations. Compress yourgraphics and use proper streaming media to increase performance and reduce bandwidth consumption. Rick Zanotti RELATE Corporation
  27. Sticky Stories: Engage your learner. No matter how technical we get in deploying learning, a good story is still a good story and helps the learner remember. Also be sure to give the learner an opportunity to put what they have learned into action. The sooner you get them to do this, the more likely the learning is going to stick. Christel Block Convergys
  28. Visualize Where You Are: Always provide a visual indicator of the student’s progress through the lesson or course. For example, % of pages completed and remaining to be completed. Ricardo Allen Pepco
  29. Let Learners Choose: Give them choices of how, when, and where they will do the learning. Make sure each component is bite size and escapable. Chris Ballinger Palo Alto Medical Foundation
  30. More Is Not Better: Design and program for the lowest common denominator in skill sets as well as technology within your organization. Cynthia Eisel FedEx
  31. Less Is More: One screen, one thought. Emiliano De Laurentiis Knowledge Enviroments, Inc.
  32. Reality Bytes: Make sure to always (or at least whenever possible) incorporate real life business examples and exercises in all e-Learning sessions. This keeps the students interested, helps retention,and eases frustrations of learning in a distant environment. All examples should tie directly to the business goals of the organization. Pam Weining AIG Agency Auto
  33. Know Thy User: Keep the user in mind during the design. Give them what they need to know, not what you think they need to know. Brian Lauer Freddie Mac
    Is Your Design As Clean As It Should Be?: Think like a learner and keep it simple. Clean design and speed of access is important. Carol Watson Indiana University
  34. When To Say No To Video: Forget video if your learners are using 56K modems. Elizabeth Brock Siemens
    Faster The 2nd, 3rd, 4th … Time: Design everything to be repurposed – from text content to graphics. John Fallon
  35. Use And Use Again: Make sure your development strategy supports reuse, even if it is only with your screentemplates. It will save you effort and money. Mike Davis IBM
    Talk To Me: When writing online materials, speak in an informal style to develop a conversation with the learner. Joan Scheppke Student, George Mason University
  36. Learn, Don’t Read: Putting existing material onto the web is not e-Learning, but e-Reading. The most successful interventionsare those that include a fair amount of planning, innovation and active user involvement. Natalie Santos Liberty Life
  37. Real Users, Real Scenarios: Involve a selection of end users in the design process and create real business scenarios. This ensures the exercises and assessments are business related and helps get e-Learning buy-in. Lucy Cameron Arcadia Group Limited
  38. Tailor Your Content So It Fits Properly: Know your audience and create with them in mind. Kris Wilkerson Country Insurance and Financial Services
  39. A Five Step Design Process: 1. Always employ good adult learning principles (there are 13 of them!) when creating instructions; 2. Have an interaction every 4-5 screens to keep the learners engaged in the learning process; 3. Have a relevant graphic on every 1-2 screens to reinforce learning through the symbology and the visual learning channels; 4. Supplement with online learning audio that reinforces the visual message; 5. Create assessment items that are at the same level of Bloom’s taxonomy as the performance objectives. Richard Cavagnol Deloitte
  40. The Magic Number? 15: E-learning modules should be designed so that learners can take chunks of content in no more than 15 minutes at a sitting. Eric Kugler Healthcare E-learning Collaborative
  41. Navigation Without Guessing: Keep it simple, simple, simple . . . Make it easy, easy, easy . . Interactivity does not mean “Click Next!”. Helen Mcgraw General Motors University
  42. Turn Up The Volume: Make your learning come alive – ramp up the engagement to make it game-like!. Clark Quinn Otter Surf Laboratories
  43. Hmmmn, How Did You Get 120% Correct?: Randomize questions in all assessments. This is especially helpful when the user decides tore-do a course. Otherwise, the user will most probably get a 100% in his second attempt. Linda Al Ansari Emirates
  44. Make It Easier On Yourself: Use Style Sheets when developing to make updates easier. Kathy Lents House Hold International, Inc.
  45. Don’t Be Flashy Unnecessarily. Use Flash wisely and only when it meets a specific objective. Try to use Flash for complex interactions to achieve high-level cognitive objectives and to drive the story line. Animations for the sake of animating are a waste of time, money and attention. Phil Antonelli Intellinex
  46. Message Before Medium: Technology will not replace good design. Focus on the message rather than the medium. Charles D. Hunter Williams Scotsman
  47. No One Tool Does It Al: In e-Learning, as in other projects, don’t fall into the trap of having to fix all the problems with one tool. Tom Pears
  48. Save Yourself Some Headaches: Unless you have very strong IT support, I highly recommend having your online delivery tool hosted externally. Ginger Jones Siemens Energy & Automation
  49. 1st Annual Global e-Learning Day: Block a day where everyone does e-Learning. Bob Dean Grant Thornton
  50. Cultural Sensitivity: When deploying for multi-culture, multi-language, multi-country, be very sensitive to local nuances and language(s). Ashok Malani TIMGC, Inc.
  51. Mostly Cultural: Culture is 70% of the success on an e-Learning project. Carlos Bravo E-Learning Solutions
  52. Steady, But Surely: In some cultures, it’s necessary to build e-Learning acceptance slowly and with small successes. Laura Amick Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
  53. “Root” Your Learning: Synthesis is not always easy to grasp so build your own mindmap(s) all along the course(s). Maxim Van Beneden Continental AG
  54. Be A Student Too!: Try to learn in the same way you ask your students to learn. Simone Testa Eos Knowledge & Learning
  55. Execution = Perfection: e-Learning has to be obviously easy to use so that anybody can figure it out with a minimum scan of the screen navigation. And every feature must work impeccably. Testing, Testing, Testing! Sally Heinz St. Paul Travelers
  56. Get Real: Always test your e-Learning in the environment most similar to the environment that the learner is using. Joseph Dunlap Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance
  57. Hard To Use = No Use: Run usability tests on your course deliverables. Dr. Erwin Bratengeyer Donau-Universitaet Krems
  58. Don’t Pilot Without A Map: Before you make a pilot test, make sure you know what to observe and which is the relevantinformation to gather from it. Xavier Bellés Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
  59. Access Is The Key – Literally: Ensure all content, including multimedia, is fully accessible. Keith Bain Liberated Learning
  60. Facilitate Communications: Use e-Learning as a tool for increasing, not reducing communication – especially for accessing material and feedback. Martin Linsley Australian Government Dept. of Defence
  61. Pilot, Don’t Auto-Pilot: Never roll a new initiative without a pilot program – problems arise from the most unexpected places. Implementation requires a cross-functional team including Human Resources Development and IT among others.
  62. Once Again, IT Is Key: When implementing an LMS, make sure you have the full support of your IT department. Nicky Dunn ntl Group LimitedJean Lowry Energen Corporation
  63. No Way To Fake It, Don’t Even Think About It: Know how to use your online application thoroughly before attempting to deliver an online class. There is nothing worse than an instructor who does not know how to use the tool that is facilitating the delivery. Ginger Jones Siemens Energy & Automation
  64. Out of Sight, Out of Mind: I recommend a web-cam on your delivery side so students can at least see you from time to time and remember that you are real. Howard Goldstein Howard Goldstein Associates
  65. Are Your Learners Ready?: Spend the time assessing learner readiness before the course begins. It is terribly frustrating todiscover, midway through the course, that a learner is struggling because they lack foundationalskills needed for success. Tawanna Ward University of Phoenix
  66. People Love A Challenge: Turn management e-Training (soft skills training) into e-Learning by issuing a challenge to the learner. At the end of the lesson, give them a challenge to test the concept or skill within the next week/month (depends on the frequency with which the knowledge/skill can be applied).The idea is to get them to prove to themselves that the skill/knowledge has value to them and that the lesson has credibility. Not everyone responds but some do. And others do the “test” and don’t email us but they transfer the learning to the work site which is what counts.
  67. Be Natural: Use direct language when giving instruction in online sessions. Use the same sort of language you would useif you were meeting the learners face-to-face. For example. I use headings such as: What is this module about? What do I need to do to pass it? This is how I would handle the situation in person. Pam Atkins Swinburne University of Technology Jerry Moran Hilton
    Help Students Set Goals: Having total freedom of when to learn can lead to procrastination. Having a dated goal written down will help students make progress. Nancy Nash MindLeaders
  68. Keep Students Updated: Provide timely feedback to students, including grades if part of the course or program, on the work they submit as part of the course or module. Wiiliam Mcpeck Maine State Government
  69. These Things Happen: For synchronous e-Learning, always have a dial-up connection available for use (as a leader) in case the network goes down during training times. Cameron Griffith Ingram Book Group
  70. Be Flexible: Don’t assume. Learn as much as possible about your participants BEFORE the course. If that’snot possible, learn as much as possible at the beginning of the course. Then be flexible enough to meet their learning needs and styles. Maureen Miller
  71. We’re All In This Together: Make every e-Learner part of a learning community. Whether you do it through discussiongroups, bulletin boards, mailing lists or chat rooms, make sure all students feel they have joineda community of learners with whom they have something in common. Bruce Hitchcock
  72. Those Who Can, Teach: As instructors for e-Learning: keep it interactive, keep your voice loud enough for everyone to hear, display enthusiasm, and know how to use the tools of the trade. Connie Fluegel BMC Software, Inc.
  73. Plan For Chatroom Hours: Open a chatroom in the morning of any day so that any learner or number of learners can set a time to enter and carry on a discussion. George Drops National University
  74. Reach Out: Provide encouraging feedback really quickly — especially for new online learners at the start of a course. Jane Anderson TAFE Global
  75. Teach Out Of The Box: Engage the mind of every participant every 3-5 minutes. Think beyond the tools and technology to other options such as participants spending 10 minutes writing in their materials during aweb-cast. Use the tools in different ways, such as asking a multiple choice question with no single correct answer, and having participants explain their choices. Ken Seemann Nextel Communications
  76. More Ways, More Learning: Ensure there are lots of ways for your learners to learn. Plan many modes of interaction among your learners – not just the more obvious reading of text and test taking. Mary Anne Campo
  77. Sylvia, What Do You Think Was The Reason For … : In order to get learner’s attention span high, regularly ask each (by naming them) some questions, have them give their standpoints, or ask them to do exercises online. Stephane Alric Kodak Health Imaging
  78. Long Live Gumby (The Eraser)!: Expect mistakes and be ready to demonstrate your flexibility as a facilitator/trainer when they arise. Betsie Reynolds Ingram Micro
  79. Week by Week Views: Include a printer-friendly course schedule showing topics and activities week by week, including any set tasks. Paul Left Verso NZ Ltd.
  80. Keep That Support: Did you know that e-Learning doesn’t necessarily save work labor? You still need qualified workers to be in the class, to help the students, and supervise them. Shuka Shavit
  81. Connected, Not Lonely: In blended courses, students should get some kind of a message from tutors every day.Otherwise, he/she will feel alone. Marek Kotowski
  82. Clean Out Your Course Closet (Or Server): Schedule time to periodically evaluate and update courses. Out of date information will detractfrom the learning experience. Janet Clarey Utica National Insurance Group
  83. Can We Set Up A Time To Talk At Your Convenience?: Just making an offer of personal telephone coaching to support an online learning program heightens interest and willingness to “try it out” tremendously. Lee Maclean Converge Consulting Group
  84. Be Careful What You Wish For …: E-Learning is like that pony you wished for at Christmas time. Once you get it you then have to worry about the vet bill, hay, food water, barn, saddle etc, In other words, all the necessary support things you never thought about that will keep your pony healthy and alive. Bill Kurolvech Daimler Chrysler Corporation
  85. Don’t Take Anything For Granted: Don’t assume familiarity with a PC, Internet and net-based collaboration tools on behalf of your learners. Orthe learners’ ability to troubleshoot PC for plug-in’s etc if the course requires these as it is likely to be limited. Rajesh Lele Bank of Baroda
  86. E=MC ^ 2: Effectiveness = measurements × content ^ 2. Training without measurements is like car withoutwheels; it may be comfortable but it will get you nowhere. Ulrik Ramsing LogiLearn, Inc.
  87. If Important, It Should Be Core: Build e-Learning into the Performance Management process if you want to increase the usage of e-Learning. Peter LeCornu
  88. The Golden Design Rule:Listen primarily to what the learner wants to know about the subject and cater to that exact want in the e-Learning courseware design and not (only) how/what we think the learner wants to know.
  89. No One Tool Does It All: In e-Learning, as in other projects, don’t fall into the trap of having to fix all the problems with one tool. Tom Pears
  90. Don’t Overkill: Don’t let the technology drive the solution. Sometimes a Post-It ™ note could be the solution to your learning gap. Focus on what you’re trying to accomplish, not the tools you’ll use to create or deliver it. Nina Adams Adams I-solutions, Inc.
  91. Putting Technology In Its Place: Use technology to add value to learning and/or increase efficiency of the learning services. Nothing else. Dennis Macnamara
  92. Just Because You Can Does Not Mean You Should: Software gives us hundreds of possible transitions to use in video editing. But it is best to stick to using the basic “cut” or the simple “dissolve” unless your “gee-whiz” transition will somehow improve the learning process. Most others are often distractions. Don’t get caught in the design technology trap! Tom Forster Skywalker Properties Ltd.
  93. Can You Find Me Now?: Develop a strategic plan for the use of keywords and metadata. Make sure that you include course, lesson, and topic names in the metadata for each content screen. Phil Antonelli Intellinex
  94. Murphy’s Law – Waiting To Strike: Software installs for e-Learning products and tools always take longer than expected in a large organization. Allow plenty of lead time to get systems and software up and running when starting e-Learning from scratch. Or even if “just” upgrading. Tricia Franke Fidelity Investments
  95. Hello, Hola, Alló: Always offer students technical support, but also be sure the support speaks the language of the students. Eduardo Ramos Instituto Infnet
  96. Be Professional: At the outset, agree to a time frame for responding to student questions / problems and stick to it. To keep students waiting will frustrate them and probably hinder their progress.
  97. Time It To Succeed: Without a facilitator and integrating discussion groups into something that is timely, learners will die a slow death. There needs to be urgency and a clear person leading the discussion. Linda English Save The Children
  98. “Office” Hours: Set aside a block of time each day to respond to learner questions and concerns. Inform the students about these times. George Drops National University
  99. Lurk Before Jumping In: Encourage the interaction and problem solving skills of students by “lurking” before jumping in with a response. Be aware of your “timing.” Try to encourage the group to come up with some solutions first,although you may need to re-focus contributions if the discussion goes completely off track. Frankie Forsyth Australian Flexible Learning Community
  100. If At First You Don’t Succeed …: … Try again, you’re learning! This is especially true in e-Learning since nearly every mistake we make and every problem we encounter teaches us as much (or more) than our successes will ever do. Connie Kreischer-Slingbaum The Pennsylvania Turnpike

    And … the last one !

  101. Start Early: Students who start the material the day it is due have the lowest grade achievement incomparison to those that started earlier in the week. Don’t leave it till Friday at 11:59 PM. Jonathan Mathews, Ph.D. Penn State University.

 

 

This post is based on the free digital book “701 e-Learning tips” by Eliott Masie.

 

 

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