During my time as a consultant I have seen many e-learning initiatives fail due to a variety of different reasons. I have identified 5 essential prerequisites that need to be in place in order to succeed:
- A clear business case
- A script that is well laid and thought through
- A flawless technical solution that gives the end users a great experience
- An internal organization prepared for maintaining and managing the course
- A possibility to retrieve customized course statistics for user and group evaluation
These fundamentals became even clearer last year when I was involved in producing an e-learning solution for a large car manufacturer in Sweden. The project, called E-mail effectiveness, was a complete success (for you who know Swedish read the article in di.se) and the reason for this was definitely that all the requirements above were fulfilled:
- The customer had a well defined business case. Every employee shall spend 1 hour less managing their e-mails.
- The script was produced iteratively together with a small reference group based on 9 internal directives that had been thoroughly formed by the customer.
- The technical architecture was based on separating the course content and structure (Flash) from the administrative interface (.NET) completely by only having web service communication at user start and end.
- The customer identified resources with key roles within the organization responsible for managing the course for groups of approximately 25 end users.
- The statistics module was built especially for the course allowing key users to follow up on user results allowing them to easily see what kind of classroom sessions they should attend.
There is probably more to it than this (it is worth mentioning that the resources producing the solution were highly experienced and had worked together on similar projects before) but having these 5 criteria’s met, where the customer is responsible for 3, gives you a fairly easy job as a supplier.