What goes into developing high quality custom eLearning packages?

I often see companies employ an in-house developer (or developers) to create their eLearning materials. People often assume that this will be easier, quicker and cheaper, but in reality, this can turn out to be a costly mistake.

People often underestimate the effort required to create truly high-quality, gold standard eLearning packages. Many companies have learned the hard way that it is not as easy as it looks to develop high-quality eLearning materials.

The following outlines the various roles and stages which go into creating a gold standard eLearning package.

Firstly, a professional instructional designer takes your instructions then turns them into super engaging eLearning content. They create a comprehensive storyboard and design either text-based or interactive assessments that might be formative, summative or both.

Graphic designers create professional designs and make everything look amazing. You have professional eLearning developers, animators or videographers, voiceover artists, and closed captions creators.

If you are embedding a video or animation component, these are usually separately storyboarded. You will have sketches or mock-ups created for any animation or video components. You may require  shot lists and shoot locations, or even talent to organise for the video-based learning. You will have all the equipment and people to carry out the video shoots.

Once you have got the footage, there are the necessary editing, proofing, and approvals for each asset. Afterwards, there will be narration or audio adjustments made for each media component.

After the completion of the media assets, the eLearning developers will compile everything and collate it into a finished eLearning package. That is usually the time that you will get your first proof from your eLearning developers.

Once everything is approved, you can export that package into something that will work in your LMS. Sometimes, there is a bit of back-and-forth between the LMS administrators and the eLearning people to assure that all is working well.

On top of all, there is a Project Manager who oversees all the progress, making sure everything runs to the schedule; and the whole process is to a high quality so that your deadlines are met.

I’ve seen many examples where a company will employ up to 3 eLearning developers  to try and cover all of those roles. The result is often that the project runs longer, and ends up a much lower quality than it could have been through an external development company for a similar cost.

From a quality and cost perspective, if you’re developing a bronze level package, it probably does not make much difference whether you decide to create it in-house or you get an eLearning developer to do it. However, if you’re striving to be a leader in your industry and want to create a silver, gold or platinum level package, you need your media components to be well scripted and produced. This is where you can’t beat a professional external team who can nail every step in the process so that your package truly is the best in the industry.

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