Managing eLearning Projects

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Instructional designers are often called upon to act as project leads and project managers on e-learning projects, yet they rarely receive formal project management training. There are unique project management issues related to e-learning and unique ways of adapting project management techniques and tools to address those issues. In this 2012 webinar I delivered at an eLearning Guild Online Forum, I discuss a variety of best practices related to managing stakeholders; managing process dependencies, collaborations, and handoffs; and managing quality issues related to interactivity, media, and contextualization.

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  • Instructional designers are often called upon to act as project leads and project managers on e-learning projects, yet they rarely receive formal project management training. There are unique project management issues related to e-learning and unique ways of adapting project management techniques and tools to address those issues. I’ll share some of those techniques as well as lots of specific examples, samples, and tools from projects I’ve worked on over the years. Please be prepared to share some of your own war stories as well as techniques and tools you’ve picked up along the way.
  • Understand what factors drive qualityUnderstanding of organizational & stakeholder requirementsUnderstanding of learner and work contextAccess to subject matter expertiseGreat content, interaction, and media designSound development practicesDesign the process with those factors in mindDevelop a Quality Assurance PlanDevelop quality standards—know what good looks likePromote visibility and accountability
  • Instructional designers are often called upon to act as project leads and project managers on e-learning projects, yet they rarely receive formal project management training. There are unique project management issues related to e-learning and unique ways of adapting project management techniques and tools to address those issues. I’ll share some of those techniques as well as lots of specific examples, samples, and tools from projects I’ve worked on over the years. Please be prepared to share some of your own war stories as well as techniques and tools you’ve picked up along the way.
  • Managing eLearning Projects

    1. 1. MANAGING ELEARNING PROJECTS …AND OTHER MYSTERIES OF LIFE eLearning Guild Gus Prestera, PhD Online Forums Learning & Performance Strategist July 26, 2012, 1:15-2:30 gus@presterafx.com www.presterafx.comPRESTERA FX
    2. 2. Check out my blog! www.presterafx.com/wordpressPRESTERA FX 2
    3. 3. The PM’s Mission:• On Quality• On Time• On BudgetPRESTERA FX 3
    4. 4. Courseware Development Process Initial LMS Integration Testing Final LMS Integration Testing Develop Develop Develop Framework Functionality Prototype Storyboard Approval Still Video Look & Develop Graphics Feel Mockups Scratch Audio Audio Testing Testing Testing DSD Storyboards Content AnalysisPre-Kickoff Kickoff Closeout Project Initiation Design Alpha Beta Gold PRESTERA FX 4
    5. 5. Technologies: Complex mix of process, development, and delivery technologies Learning Management System (LMS) Microsoft Project Adobe PhotoShop Adobe FlashPRESTERA FX 5
    6. 6. Technologies: Complex mix of process, development, and delivery technologiesPRESTERA FX 6
    7. 7. Team Composition: Eclectic mix of disciplines, personalities, and expertise GD GD Core Team ID ID GDL GD IDL Project PM DEL Stakeholders DEPRESTERA FX 7
    8. 8. Team Composition: Eclectic mix of disciplines, personalities, and expertisePRESTERA FX 8
    9. 9. Stakeholders: Generally more of them and most are not tech-savvy or learning-savvy Legal/Compliance IT Department The Boss!Marketing Department The Learner PRESTERA FX 9
    10. 10. Stakeholders: Generally more of them and most are not tech-savvy or learning-savvyPRESTERA FX 10
    11. 11. What PMs manage…1. Manage Stakeholders1. – Educate – Consult – Negotiate2. Manage Process2. – Dependencies – Collaborations – Handoffs3. Manage Quality3. – Interactivity – Media – Contextualization Standby: OQARPRESTERA FX 12
    12. 12. MANAGING STAKEHOLDERSPRESTERA FX 13
    13. 13. Managing Stakeholders 1. Assess & map the roles and needs of stakeholders 2. Educate stakeholders about the process 3. Help them understand what you need from them 4. Don’t commit to something without consulting your team 5. Negotiate…don’t give up something for nothingPRESTERA FX 14
    14. 14. Negotiating with StakeholdersWhat you may give up What you should aim to get• Do more work • Gratitude*• Incur a delay • More time• Absorb a delay (work faster) • Additional funding• Allow additional review cycles • Other concessions• Expand number of reviewers• Allow out of scope changes *Gratitude can later be traded in for concessions PRESTERA FX 15
    15. 15. Project Plans vs. Milestone ReportsPRESTERA FX The Off-shoring of ISD 3/21/2012 16
    16. 16. MANAGING PROCESSPRESTERA FX 18
    17. 17. Focus on…Be proactive about managing chokepoints in the process 1. Minimize dependencies by enabling parallel workflows 2. Where people need to collaborate, provide structure and guidance 3. Where there are handoffs, promote over-communication 4. When people need to review or test, micro-manage that process to minimize rework, churn, and delays 5. Shorten communication cycles at critical points—War Room! 6. Build buffer and contingencies into high-risk areasPRESTERA FX 19
    18. 18. Promote parallel workflows Structure collaborations Build in bufferPRESTERA FX 20
    19. 19. Be clear about handoffs & reviewsPRESTERA FX 21
    20. 20. Approval Matrix The Approval Matrix Approvals Content Scope Course Design Requirements Resources Materials Timeline Content Course Course Course Intermediate Work Products Project Plan AsNot projects unfold and work Resource products are reviewed, the Approved Plan scope of changes should Requirements get narrower. Document Design Document Approved Task Analysis Storyboards Document Guides Alpha & Slides Project Initiation -----------------------------------------> Project Conclusion Source: effectPerformance Statement of WorkPRESTERA FX 22
    21. 21. MANAGING QUALITYPRESTERA FX 23
    22. 22. You gotta have some standards! Design Standards Writing Standards Client Requirements - Clearly state client requirements and address  Clarity - Avoid surprises. Document design them in your design. decisions and implications with enough clarity Goal Alignment - Clearly state business and performance goals. Align to avoid potential rework—such that clients can learning objectives and instructional design strategies to these goals. understand the design and be held accountable for sign-off. Contextualization – Make course content meaningful and relevant to the audience to engage audience and facilitate transfer of skills to the  Structure - Write content that facilitates workplace. Contextualization elements can include workplace understanding and is logically sequenced. examples of effective and ineffective practices, samples of good and  Style - Use strategies that ensure clear, bad work products, frequently asked questions, common errors that concise and professional writing; use the active occur in the workplace as well as scenario-based exercises, vignettes, voice, apply specific and concrete wording, mini-cases, and cases. omit needless words, and allow time to review Interactivity - Make interactions instructionally useful. Strive to make and revise your own writing. interactivity meaningful, not just abundant, to your target audience.  Diction - Use accepted grammar, spelling, Media - Make media choices (about the user interface, graphics, punctuation and terminology. audio, etc.) that are instructionally useful, support the content, and  Consistency - Be consistent in the way you maintain appropriately high production values. apply similar lesson structures, terminology Evaluation - Make evaluation choices that are in alignment with client and formatting across the document and requirements as well as business and performance goals. related documents. PRESTERA FX 24
    23. 23. What Drives Quality in eLearning? Higher levels generally require more: • Input from SMEs, target audience, and other stakeholders • Iteration to refine the details • Time to research content, design, storyboard, produce, review • CostPRESTERA FX 25
    24. 24. MANAGING ELEARNING PROJECTS …AND OTHER MYSTERIES OF LIFE eLearning Guild Gus Prestera, PhD Online Forums Learning & Performance Strategist July 26, 2012, 1:15-2:30 gus@presterafx.com www.presterafx.comPRESTERA FX
    25. 25. Check out my blog! www.presterafx.com/wordpressPRESTERA FX 32
    26. 26. Standby ONLINE QUALITY ASSURANCE REVIEWER OQAR PRESTERA FX The Off-shoring of ISD 3/21/2012 33
    27. 27. http://www.bevenourprestera.com/bprojects/bp03_200/ GROUP | DEVELOPMENT PERFORMANCE 34 PRESTERA FX
    28. 28. PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENTPRESTERA FX 35 GROUP |
    29. 29. PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENTPRESTERA FX 36 GROUP |
    30. 30. PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENTPRESTERA FX 37 GROUP |
    31. 31. PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENTPRESTERA FX 38 GROUP |
    32. 32. PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENTPRESTERA FX 39 GROUP |
    33. 33. PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENTPRESTERA FX 40 GROUP |
    34. 34. PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENTPRESTERA FX 41 GROUP |
    35. 35. PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENTPRESTERA FX 42 GROUP |
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