How to Define a Business Process

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Here’s a situation I have witnessed before: management decides they want to train employees on an important topic, such as web security. They ask an Instructional Designer (ID) to put together a course that includes important security information. One of the topics they want the training to cover is how to report a security breach. When you ask your security Subject Matter Expert (SME): What are the steps to report a security breach? You get a lot of head-scratching and confused looks. No one has ever defined that process. How should the breach be reported… should it be an email? A phone call? Who should receive that email or call? What if the breach happens during a holiday? Your SME isn’t really sure of the answer because it’s never been formally defined or documented. But if the organization wants to train employees how to report a security breach, the business first needs to answer those questions and properly define the business process.

The above-mentioned scenario is a common one, as many businesses (especially start-ups and smaller sized organizations) don’t have a great deal, if any, of their processes documented. Employees are all getting things done their own way, which works… until it doesn’t.

This illustrates why training and business processes go hand-in-hand. When you’re training employees, you’re teaching them how to carry out business processes. If there is no documented business process or no defined way of doing things, how can you teach employees how it’s done? This is why sometimes, as an ID or training designer, you might need to be able to define business processes as a part of your job.

Here are the high-level steps you can follow to document your business processes.

Choose the starting point

The first step is to identify the starting point for your business process. A business process typically involves many steps and covers many sub-processes. Some of the steps that occur earlier in the process may affect what happens further down the line. But your process could cover too much and be too far-reaching if you don’t select the right start and end point. Another helpful tip is to start by covering the most common scenario, to avoid covering too much.

Let’s look at an example. Say you’re defining the business process for how to onboard a new employee. A logical starting point for this process could be when the new hire accepts the job offer. The onboarding process might be different for a full-time employee vs. an intern, but if 80% of the new hires are full-time employees, it’s probably a good idea to start with that. 

Identify all the roles involved

Business processes often involve multiple roles and span across multiple departments. The first part of the process might be carried out by one role, then passed along to someone in a different department, then it goes to another person, and so on. You’ll want to identify and include all of the job titles and departments that need to provide approvals, make decisions, or be notified as a part of the process.

The onboarding process involves people across multiple departments. It might involve a Recruiter who sends the final job offer, a Human Resources Administrator who creates an employee profile for the new hire, an IT Specialist who sets up the computer, a Finance team member to add the new hire to payroll, and others. 

Interview people

Asking questions and interviewing the people who carry out the business processes is integral to understanding exactly how the processes are done. You’ll need to sit down with each person involved, one at a time, and have them explain, step-by-step, how they do their job. You’ll ask questions like:

  • What is the trigger that kicks off this process?
  • Why do you do it this way?
  • How do you get this piece of information?
  • What is the next thing you do immediately after this step?
  • What happens if this step goes wrong?

You will continue this line of questioning until you reach the end of their part of the process.

For example, to understand the onboarding process you would start by sitting down with the Recruiter and asking them to walk through their portion of the process, step by step. You might start by asking “What is the first thing you do when an offer is accepted by a new hire?”. Say they respond: “Once the offer is accepted, I communicate this to the rest of the team.” your follow-up questions might then be “How do you communicate this? Who do you communicate it with? Why do those specific people need to know? What would happen if they didn’t?” and so on. 

Document each step

As you’re interviewing the people involved in the process you’re defining, you want to properly document each step in the appropriate order. It’s also a good idea to include relevant notes or tidbits of information that could affect the outcome or that might impact that step.

For the Recruiter involved in the onboarding process, the steps might look like: 

  1. Email the final offer to the candidate with instructions and a deadline for acceptance
  2. Receive the email from the candidate accepting the new offer
  3. Email the candidate to welcome them to the team and provide instructions for the next step which is completing a background check (notes here could include exactly what is needed from the candidate to submit the background check in terms of ID, etc.)
  4. Send an email to HR, IT, Finance, and the new hires boss to communicate the offer acceptance and the start date (notes here could include the text from an example email and disclaimer that start date is pending successful background check)
  5. Receive email with information for the background check 
  6. Initiate the background check process (this step could have further sub-steps that explains exactly how to do this)

Specify time frames

One of the crucial things you’ll want to identify is the time frame when each step happens. Identifying the time frames is key to making sure that things happen in a timely fashion and in an order that makes sense.

For example, if the background check takes 10 business days to process, you’ll want to document that in your steps. The timing of steps will impact subsequent steps and processes. For example, the new hire can’t start until the background check is complete. This means they can’t join the team until a  minimum of 10 business days after the background check process has been initiated. The timing of when that process is kicked off will affect when they come on board. 

Create a flow chart

A picture is worth a thousand words. This is why it’s a good idea to create a visual flow chart of all the steps, roles, and the time frames involved in the process. The flow chart allows you to conceptualize the steps in the process and see how they flow across the different departments. It also makes it easier to pinpoint problems or disconnects in the process.

Here’s an example flow chart for the onboarding process:

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Defining business processes is an involved task, but it’s a necessary part of creating effective training. Keep in mind that business processes are ever-evolving; you’ll need to make updates and changes to the process over time.

Following the steps outlined above will help you define and document your processes. Having properly documented processes will help the business run more smoothly and will allow you to build more effective employee training.

Do you have any tips of your own for defining and documenting business processes? Let me know in the comments, and follow me on Twitter for more training tips and tricks.

Tips for Successful Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Training

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Imagine this scenario: a company decides they’ve had enough of using systems that are outdated, slow, and inefficient. They embark on a project to implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to replace their legacy tools. The company spends months, maybe even years, working with consultants and employees to define new processes and customize the systems. Come launch time, they don’t provide adequate training and the employees don’t know how to use the new systems effectively. This leads to costly mistakes, wasted time, lost revenue, and many stressed out employees.

ERP implementations are typically large-scale projects with many stakeholders and moving parts; creating training for these projects comes with their own set of unique challenges. Planning for these challenges up front can help ensure you have a successful training program that plays a crucial role in the smooth rollout of a new system. Here are some important things to consider before you embark on your next ERP implementation training project.

Plan and prioritize training

Implementing and customizing an ERP system tends to be a huge financial investment, and as such, detailed proposals and plans are created to cover all aspects of the project. However, training for the new system is often listed as a vague deliverable that provides no specifics about how training will be designed or delivered. Not planning for training from the get-go is a costly mistake because the investment in a new system is wasted if the employees can’t properly use it. Include the training team in the project planning phase and allocate the appropriate budget, resources, and timelines for end-user training.

Identify training methods

You’re going to want to think about training methods up-front, during the planning phase. One of the most effective way to give learners a real world experience without risking costly mistakes in a real ERP system is through software simulations. They give employees the power to explore and use all the features of the ERP software they’ll use in the workplace. You’re probably going to want to consider at least some software simulations for ERP systems training. You might mix this with some instructor led training and live Q&A sessions to create a blended learning program.

Create curriculum by role

You’re not going to dump all the lessons on every employee; the employees who work in Engineering don’t need to take Accounting lessons on how to process an invoice. Instead, you’re going to tailor the curriculum by user roles. While you may have some core basic lessons that apply to everyone (logging in and out of the system, setting up your user profile, etc.), there should also be user-specific lessons that are pertinent to each role.

Work with the business

Training teams working on ERP implementations often find they have to work alongside the implementation team. You might find it useful to work with the business process analysts, as they create and test the new system processes (these are often called Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs). Consider using test scripts as a starting point for training development.  

Designate power users

For each role you identify, consider having one or two power users. These are (hopefully) helpful, quality employees who can help with the training and answer employee questions on-the-job. If there are employees who are already involved in the implementation, for example working as subject matter experts, these are great candidates for power users.

Incorporate real-life scenarios

Integrating real world examples and stories into your processes will make the training more practical and relevant. Instead of jumping into a step-by-step process without providing any context, introduce the process with a scenario that has realistic background information and details. Training that incorporates realistic scenarios helps learners know when and how to apply the tasks covered in the training in the real world.

Use change management techniques

  • Incorporating some basic change management techniques will go a long way to getting your learners on board. Be clear in explaining the benefits of the training, why it’s happening, and the impact of not completing it. Don’t assume end users will move seamlessly from one system to another, without detailing the specific reasons and benefits. Learn more about specific change management techniques for instructional designers here.
  • Following these tips will help ensure you have a successful ERP training program in place. Do you have any tips of your own for designing or developing training for ERP implementations? Let me know in the comments, and follow me on Twitter for more training tips and tricks.

     

    How to Organize, Analyze, and Prioritize Tasks for E-Learning

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    The One Thing You Need To Do To Organize Training Content: Task Analysis

    Are you dealing with a huge pile of raw materials that need to be converted into an e-learning course or training programme? If so, you’re likely wondering how best to organize the content and filter out the need-to-know from the nice-to-know. If this sounds familiar to you, you need to acquaint yourself with the process of task analysis. Discover how a proper task analysis can organize your content so it focuses on what learners need to know on-the-job.

    Read full article.

    How to do a Task Analysis Like a Pro

    As I explain in this article, task analysis is one of the cornerstones of instructional design. Why is task analysis so important? The purpose of training is to teach learners how TO DO something; they should walk away from the training with new knowledge and skills they can apply on-the-job. When you focus on tasks, you’re more likely to accomplish this goal, as you’re focusing on the actual processes the learners will do on the job.  A task analysis is the process of systematically breaking down a task into a documented step-by-step process. This article explains how to first identify tasks, then break them down into sub-tasks, and finally, parse them into steps. It also contains some helpful task analysis dos and don’ts.

    Read full article.

    Instructional Designers: Remember These Factors When Prioritizing Tasks

    Once you’ve completed your task analysis, you’re going to need to organize and prioritize all the tasks you’ve analyzed. How should you order your tasks? This depends on a variety of factors: task importance, task frequency, task difficulty, and learner experience. Learn about these four factors and what you need to know to ensure your content focuses on the right tasks.

    Read full article.

    Have you ever done a task analysis before? If so, how did it go? Do you have any tips or tricks to share with others? If so, please leave me a comment below, I love to hear feedback.

     

    Infographic: The Presentation, Application, Feedback (PAF) Model

    This colourful infographic illustrates the Presentation, Application, and Feedback (PAF) Model for training and instructional design. It’s important to keep the PAF Model in mind when developing training to ensure we’re not overloading our learners with too much presentation of content. It’s crucial to include lots of opportunities for application of knowledge and to then provide the appropriate feedback.

    Instructional Design Infographic

    Infographic: Gagné’s 9 Events of Instruction

    This simple infographic explains Robert Gagné’s 9 Events of Instructions, which is an important instructional design model.

    Gagne Nine Events of Instruction

    The Ultimate E-Learning Design and Development Checklist

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    I have compiled several e-learning, instructional design, and web design checklists to create the ultimate e-learning design and development checklist. This list is thorough and covers a broad range of items. Keep in mind not every item will apply to every project.

    INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN

    • Training needs analysis is complete
    • Project constraints have been identified
    • Project plan is complete
    • Audience analysis is complete
    • Task analysis is complete
    • Various instructional methods are used
    • Objectives are clearly stated
    • Objectives include measurable criteria
    • Instructional content relates directly to learning objectives
    • Course objectives are met
    • Content is segmented in small chunks
    • Information is grouped logically
    • Major headings are clear and descriptive
    • One-third of the content is presentation
    • Two-thirds of the content is application and feedback
    • There is a summary for every piece of  content
    • Glossary is used to define key concepts  and terms

    ASSESSMENTS & TESTS

    • All assessments are relevant and complete
    • Assessments are challenging and realistic
    • Various quiz methods and types are used
    • Assessments are used throughout
    • Final assessment at the end
    • Pass and fail marks are appropriate
    • Feedback is provided for questions   answered
    • Feedback is adequate
    • Feedback presented within reasonable time
    • Post course assessment/evaluation is included
    • New content is not presented in assessments or in assessment feedback

    GENERAL DESIGN

    • Total design is uniform in appearance
    • Branding guidelines have been   followed
    • Use of logos is appropriate
    • Colors used are consistent and suitable
    • High visibility and contrast
    • Navigation is consistent throughout
    • There is a generous amount of white space
    • Graphics and icons are used to signify important concepts
    • Patterns and textured backgrounds do not interfere with legibility

    FONTS

    • Maximum of three fonts used throughout
    • Decorative fonts are only used for headings
    • Body text uses sans serif fonts
    • Appropriate line spacing is used
    • Paragraph length is appropriate
    • Font sizes are appropriate and easily readable
    • Font colors visible against background color
    • Styles and colors are consistent throughout
    • Emphasis (bold, italics) is used sparingly
    • Body text is left justified

    TESTING

    • E-learning has been tested in multiple browsers
    • E-learning has been tested on multiple devices
    • E-learning has been tested in the Learning Management System (LMS)
    • E-learning has been tested in various resolutions
    • All links and buttons have been tested
    • Accessibility features have been tested
    • Course has been tested with a screen reader
    • All audio has been tested
    • All videos have been tested
    TECHNICAL

    • Project load time is reasonable
    • Shortcut keys have been defined
    • FAQ document has been created
    • Hardware requirements have been   identified
    • Software requirements have been   identified
    • Dimensions are optimized for target audience
    • Pages can be printed
    • Total time to complete has been timed
    • Contact information available for   questions or problems

    ACCESSIBILITY

    • Course can be navigated with keyboard
    • All ALT tags are used
    • Text is provided for non-text   elements
    • Videos have script or dialogue
    • Captions provided for audio
    • No flashes faster than 3 times per second
    • No colors used to convey information
    • Use text with appropriate contrast ratio
    • No fine motor skills required
    • No timed activities
    • No use of hover states to display important information

    NAVIGATION

    • Main navigation is easily identifiable
    • All navigation is correct sequence
    • Hyperlinks are clearly identified
    • All hyperlinks work
    • Minimum use of external links
    • Backward links to navigate to previous   screens
    • Number of navigation icons is reasonable
    • Table of contents used to lay out the   content
    • E-learning has guided tour and/or map for   further explanations

    VIDEOS & ANIMATION

    • Use of animation and videos is appropriate
    • Files are compressed/optimized
    • Videos and animations are consistent in quality, size and type
    • Videos are legally   owned

    AUDIO & NARRATION

    • Narration is not exact text on the screen
    • Narration is clear and concise
    • Audio quality is high (not fuzzy or   scrambled)
    • Narrator sounds confident and knowledgeable
    • Audio synced to the content
    • Audio can be paused
    • Volume can be muted
    • Volume can be controlled by user

    TEXT CONTENT

    • Language is clear and concise
    • Spelling has been checked
    • Grammar has been checked
    • Language is culturally appropriate
    • Humor is used with care
    • Tone is consistent and appropriate
    • Text is gender neutral
    • Content is not plagiarized
    • Date formats, measurements, are consistent
    • SME has verified text content
    • Facts, statistics, data are accurate
    • Facts, statistics, data sources are   identified
    • Correct capitalization applies to units and acronyms
    • Correct capitalization is used
    • Punctuation is appropriate
    • Complex sentences are avoided
    • Content has been localized for all required languages

    GRAPHICS

    • Images are meaningful and have a purpose
    • Images use appropriate file type
    • Photos are consistent in quality and style
    • Images are legally owned
    • System screen captures are up-to-date
    • Screen captures do not contain personal information

    Since you’ve made it all the way to the end of the checklist, maybe you should subscribe to my blog!

    20+ Questions To Include in an Audience Analysis

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    An audience analysis is a task that instructional designers and training developers perform in the initial phases of planning a training project. Completing an audience analysis is critical because in order to communicate information effectively, you need to understand who your learners are. Depending on the project, you might have more than once audience.

    To complete your audience analysis, you will need to interview and observe the employees and management to gather information about your learners. Once you have identified your specific audiences, you can tailor your courses so they are pertinent to the different background, education levels, etc.

    Here’s an example of how audiences can vary widely, even within one organization:

    You are developing software training for a large organization with a manufacturing facility.

    Some of your learners are engineers who work in software development. They are technically savvy, work at a computer all day and are already familiar with the software you are training them on.

    Meanwhile, your second audience is the workers from manufacturing facility. They work with machinery all day and barely use the computer. This will be their first time ever seeing this software.

    You can already see that, even though these two audiences may need to be trained on the same software, very different approaches will be required for different audiences.

    Here’s a list of 20 audience analysis questions to get you started.

    General

    • Who is your primary audience?
    • Are there potential secondary audiences?

    Demographics

    • What is the average age of the learner?
    • Are the learners mostly men, women, or an equal mix?
    • What is the educational background (high school diploma, PhD)?
    • What is their cultural background, race, ethnicity?

    Knowledge & Experience

    • What is their level of work experience?
    • What is the reading level of the audience?
    • How much do they already know about the subject at hand?
    • What tone or attitude is appropriate for your audience?
    • How motivated are the learners?

     Technical

    • What hardware and software do the the learners have?
    • How technically savvy are the learners?
    • What resources do the learners have at their disposal?

    Expectations

    • What level of participation can you expect?
    • What kind of syntax or writing style are your learners comfortable with?
    • Why are the learners taking the training?
    • What will the audience expect to learn?
    • What amount of time do learners have available to devote to training?
    • Do any of the learners have special needs or accessibility requirements?

    If you know of any other audience analysis questions that I’ve missed, please leave a comment.

    Best Practices for E-Learning Localization

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    Training localization is often an afterthought in training projects. “Oh, we can just translate the course in a few days, no problem.”  The reality is that localization can be a costly and lengthy undertaking if not properly approached. The amount of deliverables is increased for each language you translate the course into. If you have an e-learning course that will be presented in two languages, you need to have double the templates, tables of contents, sets of text content, certificates, etc. You also need to take the time to create the two courses, test each course individually, perhaps publish each one individually, and more.

    Here are 8 best practices that you should follow when localizing your next e-learning course.

    Consider localization during initial project planning

    The localization should be an integral part of your project planning; take it into consideration during every aspect of the design and development. One of the most common and costly mistakes is waiting until the e-learning course has been created and then deciding to translate all the content. This usually leads to headaches, problems and cost overruns. Decide ahead of time of whether or not your content will be presented in multiple languages. Certain components of the e-learning will need to be designed in such a way that it can be easily be translated into multiple languages.

    Create a localization-friendly design

    Design photos and text placeholders that are easily changed and edited. Ensure that the components that will be translated are easily manipulated without affecting the generic content that will remain the same throughout. Take this into consideration when designing headings and titles, text placement on a page, image placement, as well as symbols and icons.

    Be sensitive to cultural differences

    Be sensitive and aware of anything that might be offensive to another culture. Images that seem innocent or that represent something for one culture may have a completely different meaning to another culture. Colors also have various meanings for different cultures. For example, purple represents richness and royalty to Westerners; in Thailand it represents death and mourning. Of course certain things, such as the color of your corporate logo, can’t be changed. Nevertheless, it is still a good practice to take cultural differences into consideration when designing an e-learning course.

    Consider linguistic issues

    Certain symbols and icons represent different things across various cultures. For example, your “Help” section may be represented by a question mark. Certain languages do not use question marks. This means you will need to change it to a different symbol for another language. Certain countries use the metric vs. the imperial systems for measurement. If your e-learning course has measurements, this will also need to be taken into consideration. It is also best practice to avoid using slogans and culturally specific examples that are hard to explain o translate into other languages.

    Design for expanding text

    When designing for websites it is expected that the text will expand 20-30% when translated into another language; this can also be expected for e-learning designs. Some languages require more words to explain certain concepts or ideas. something that can be explained in one sentence in English might take two or three sentences to explain in French or Spanish. This is because the latter are “wordier” languages. If the text placeholder in your e-learning course only has room for one sentence, it will lead to design issues when content is being translated.

    Minimize use of embedded text in graphics and videos

    It is difficult to translate text within the spacial constraints of a graphic image such as a flow-chart or diagram. If it is necessary to use images with embedded text, try to use layers in your graphics. It’s a good idea to design the graphic in all the required languages at the same time, to avoid headaches down the line.

    Finalize in one language before localizing

    Have one version of your e-learning completely nailed down, edited, tested and completed before moving on to localization. There is nothing worse than having a SME tell you that you need to change two paragraphs, and then having to go into 6 different courses and change it for 6 different languages. To save time and money, it’s best to have a final, approved version which doesn’t require any further text edits before sending it off for translation.

    Hire professional translators

    It’s not enough to say “Lisa speaks Spanish, so she can translate the content.” Speaking a language does not equate to being a good writer. There is a lot involved including sentence structure, grammar, syntax, spelling, etc. It’s also definitely not enough to use Google translator to save costs. While the quality of the translations has greatly improved over the last few years, it is still often riddled with errors and sentences that really don’t make sense. DON’T use Google Translate or any online translation tools to localize your content. It will be obvious and distracting to your learners if the content isn’t properly translated, and your eLearning course will lose credibility.

    Key considerations for e-learning localization:

    • Icons, symbols
    • Photos, graphics
    • Text content
    • Fonts
    • Dates, times, measurements
    • Input and output
    • Color schemes
    • Terminology, acronyms, and abbreviations
    • Browser window titles
    • Software application screenshots
    • User interface
    • Table of contents

    Did I miss any practices that you think are important? If you have any tips or comments about localizing eLearning, please share. Also, please take a moment to subscribe!

    40+ Tips for Awesome PowerPoint Presentations

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    PowerPoint. Whether you love it or hate it, we’ve all had to use it before. Personally, I think it’s a great tool. It’s easy to use and I love starting with a blank slide and creating my own masterpiece. You can even link slides and shapes and make really cool branched scenarios. Creating visually appealing PowerPoint presentations is definitely possible.

    So, if you need to create a PowerPoint presentation and you’ve decided you want it to be great, check out the 40 tips below and you will be well on your way!

    Structure

    • Decide on your goal – what is it this presentation is going to achieve?
    • Select a structure for your presentation
    • Divide your content into small sections
    • Include an introduction, content and a summary/ending
    • Add an agenda or outline slide, to let everyone know what to expect
    • End your presentation with a question slide

    Design

    • Use a template or master slides
    • Design a presentation that is basic, simple, and clear
    • Choose a theme of 2-3 complimentary colors and stick to it
    • Select contrasting colors that go well together
    • Don’t overdo the corporate branding
    • Avoid excessive animations and slide transitions
    • Leave plenty of white space on your slides

    Text Content

    • Double-check your spelling and grammar
    • Organize your content sequentially
    • Use short sentences, not long paragraphs
    • Don’t use more than 3-4 bullets per slide
    • Incorporate key phrases and essential information
    • Bring in bullets or points one at a time
    • Don’t overload the screen with too much information
    • Align text either left or right (centered text is harder to read)

    Fonts

    • Use the same size font on every slide
    • Stick to a maximum of two font styles
    • Do not use more than one decorative font
    • Avoid fonts that are difficult to read
    • Use a sans-serif font for body text
    • Choose a font color that contrasts strongly against the background
    • Use a font size larger enough that everyone can read easily

    Visuals

    • Don’t overload slides with too many visuals
    • Use charts and graphics to convey important data
    • Use well-selected photos and graphics
    • Include various forms of multimedia (video, audio, etc.)
    • Use photos with high quality resolution
    • Choose graphics and photos that are consistent in style
    • Use animations sparingly

    8 Things To Consider Before You Design an E-Learning Course

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    If you’re an e-learning newbie and you’ve been tasked with developing an online course, you are probably asking yourself “Where do I begin?”. While it can be very tempting to some to jump right into the creative development aspect, there are some critical things you should get straightened out first. Here are 8 initial considerations you should contemplate before getting started.

    What Are The Timelines?

    Determining your timelines is an important first step. The software you use, the level of interactivity of the training and the overall quality of an e-learning project is directly impacted by the timelines involved. If you have 1 week to develop a 30 minute e-learning module for a soft skills training course, you might not have much time to get creative, and you almost certainly wouldn’t have time to do anything remotely fancy like audio narration. On the other hand, if you have 3 months to make a 30 minute e-learning module, you have more time to find great graphics, add realistic scenarios, and maybe even throw in some animations and narration.

    Which Authoring Tool Will You Use?

    This is an important up-front consideration. If you are using new software, there will be a learning curve. You can make life easier on yourself by downloading a free trial of most e-learning authoring tools. This provides you with an opportunity to try it out first and see how you feel about the functionality and interface.

    How Will Learners Access the Training?

    The answer to this question might rest on if you are using a Learning Management System (LMS) or not. An LMS is generally used when you want to track scores and quiz results. If you already have an LMS, then the training will most likely be accessed from inside the LMS. If you aren’t using an LMS at all, you’ll  need to decide from where your users will access your e-learning. From an intranet portal? The company website? A shared folder? It’s something to consider early on.

    What Resources Are Required ?

    Before you get started, identify all the resources that you will need for your e-learning project. Your subject matter experts (SMEs) are one of your most valuable resources. Identify who has the most knowledge on your subject, and who can provide you with explanations and clarifications. Other resources to consider: image or video editing software, visual assets, a microphone to record narration, and the list goes on. It’s a good idea to get a good handle on your required resources and have everything approved by management early on to avoid holdups. 

    Who Are The Learners?

    One key question to ask: Who is taking your e-learning course? It’s important to assess your audience. Are your learners factory workers who aren’t very computer savvy? Or are they software engineers who are highly technical and very computer literate? Will your e-learning course be taken by highly motivated interns or by people who hate their jobs and don’t want to take the course? Take your audience into consideration. Get an overall idea of their level of education, their work experience, knowledge of the subject at hand, average age, background, motivations, etc. This is a critical step which will really help you create a course that is more relevant and meaningful.

    What Are The Technical Requirements?

    Requirements can be many things ranging from simple web access to get to an online e-learning course. It’s a good idea to put together your hardware and software requirements, to ensure that the vast majority of your learners will be able to access and view your e-learning course without issue.

    What Are The Branding Guidelines?

    Some organizations have a thick style guide that dictates exactly which font, color schemes, logos, etc., can be used in e-learning. Find out ahead of time if there are style guidelines. If not, it’s still a good idea to stick to the general look and feel of the organization. There’s no need to overdo it and include a logo on every slide, but using the basic corporate fonts and colors is a simple way to make it consistent with the brand.

    Does Content Need To Be Localized?

    Localizing content can be time-consuming and costly. Even when using sophisticated software, it costs money to translate content and it takes time to duplicate a course in another language. Some design considerations also need to made when content will be translated. Certain languages, like Spanish and French, have more verbiage and longer words than English. This could lead to space constraints, if it’s not taken into consideration in advance.

    Are there any other important initial considerations that I’ve left out? Leave a comment!