Transcript of "Elearning: Your Foundation for Success -- White Paper July 2010"
eLearning: The Foundation for Success
Internal and External Approaches
CapitalWave Inc. | White Paper
Table of Contents:
Preparing For the Move to E‐learning ………………………………………………………………………………..3
eLearning: About External Licensing ………………………………………………………………………………..4
eLearning: Developing Internally vs. Licensing Externally….…………………………………………………..5
Benefits and Potential Drawbacks of External eLearning ……………………………………………………6
Benefits and Potential Drawbacks of Internal eLearning …………………………………………………….8
Developing Internally vs. Licensing Externally: A Combined Approach ……………………..………..9
Preparing For the Move to E‐learning Keep in mind that in an e learning environment,
only the manager and the employee will know
During tough times, a learning organization may on a day‐to‐day basis if courses are being
need to make a move into e learning ‐ the cost accessed and completed successfully.
is lower, the maintenance is less expensive, and
the personnel requirement is lower, as well. If Once you’ve looked at general preparedness,
your organization is about to make this take a look at how you’ll migrate to an e
migration, consider vital elements in three learning culture. The first part of this is to
areas before you move forward: preparedness, examine the existing training courses and any
pre‐migration, and migration. future courses to determine what could move
to an online format. This is a good time to point
Before you actually prepare to move your out that there should be no swing completely to
organization to e learning, the first thing you e learning just to save money or advance
should do is analyze the current organizational technologically. Many organizations have made
culture when it comes to learning. Through this the mistake of putting all training online ‐ only
analysis, you’ll discover the organization’s level to have to go back and completely renovate the
of preparedness for e learning. Is there even an program. So what courses and types of
“e” element in the organization? Are all levels information lend themselves to online formats?
of associates accustomed to email contact and Informative courses, orientation courses, and
basic computer usage, or do their jobs not even regulatory courses are great candidates
require this kind of contact? If there is no “e” for conversion. Even in longer classroom
element, you may want to consider introducing courses, some of the information portions can
e learning at a very slow pace to allow people to be moved to pre‐classroom online formats.
get used to the idea and the access. Of course,
if your organization is tech‐savvy already, this Next, determine how you’re going to
part of a migration is usually easier. implement the online learning system. Will you
take courses “off the shelf” to be deployed by
The second part of preparedness goes back to the vendor? Do you need a Learning
the organization’s managers. Are they currently Management System that delivers courses and
held accountable for any training outcomes? Do tracks completion? Or is your organization
the managers have to schedule their associates technologically advanced enough to create its
for training and ensure that the associates get own LMS? Whatever your choice, you must take
it? In regulatory and “constant‐change” the time to consider all aspects of this step
environments, managers sometimes have this before creating a migration plan. In addition,
responsibility. If your organization’s managers consider if the organization will offer
do not currently have a training responsibility, certifications or rewards for completing various
remember that part of your migration will be an core e learning programs. This can be a great
explanation of how and what each manager will incentive for employees and will also increase
be responsible for when it comes to training. the organization’s retention.
For the actual migration to an online learning First, what is external licensing of eLearning? In
environment, you’ll need to take steps that are the simplest terms, external licensing means
in your organization’s “size”; if there is not that you choose and "purchase" courses and
much of an online environment, take small programs "off the shelf" from vendors. These
steps and avoid rolling everything out at once. vendors, in turn, host the learning, deliver it to
There are great ways to increase “e culture” your organization, and manage the content for
without scaring the masses and alienating those you. We will examine benefits and potential
employees who are not quite confident in their obstacles of external licensing in our next
own technical skills. For example, start by discussion, but you may already see yours
sending out informational emails that detail the developing here.
migration and what courses might be
accessible. In these emails, focus on the So what does the external licensing "recipe"
benefits for both the employees and the require? First, in terms of personnel, you'll need
organization. If you have an “Intranet” site, your staff to choose and review courses and
consider appropriating a page for the e learning programs. This means that your staff should
transformation to get people used to going have, at the very least, assessed the audience
online for information. for learning needs and outcomes. With this
knowledge, your learning and development
Probably the most important step during an e staff will be able to narrow down their choices
learning migration is to communicate. It’s as of online courses and programs. Along with
simple as letting the organization know what staff, you may need SME's or stakeholders to
changes are being made, why, and how they review the courses, as well. After all, you
can access their training easily and probably do not want to roll out an eLearning
conveniently. program that does not meet the approval of
SME's or stakeholders.
If you think through these aspects of an e
learning transformation before any work is Once you or your staff has narrowed down the
done, you’ll have a good idea of how ready your choices, you'll need to estimate how many
organization is ‐ and how to proceed with a cost learners will be accessing the courses or
efficient migration. programs. This is a twofold piece of the process.
First, you can estimate the cost with vendors
eLearning: About External Licensing using your estimate. Second, you can run the
estimate by your internal IT department to
When your organization needs eLearning
verify that this number of learners can access
programs but doesn't have an internal program
outside applications at any given point in time.
in place, external licensing of eLearning may be
a good choice. Many eLearning and LMS There are, however, other decisions that you
providers offer external training that you can will need to make. What method will you use to
use as part of your organization's learning and deliver the training? Some vendors will host the
development program. Let's take a basic look at learning program directly for you, which will
external licensing, as well as discuss what you'll require participants to directly access the
need to create your eLearning program using vendor website. Or, if you have an LMS, you
this approach. may want to have the vendor host through your
system. Either way, you'll still have to have a process. There's no sense in finding a course
discussion with IT to determine if the everyone loves only to discover that you cannot
organization's technical infrastructure can afford it. The point here is take the time to
handle the influx of users. create a process for external licensing.
As a training and development decision‐maker, Now that we've discussed the basics of external
you are probably accustomed to budgeting. But licensing, let's look discuss the benefits and
when it comes to licensing your content potential obstacles of this approach.
externally, you'll have to build a budget based
on the current year's cost as well as coming eLearning: Developing Internally vs.
years. For example, if the course you want to Licensing Externally
license costs $15 per user, you'll probably want
eLearning is becoming an essential in learning
to create an estimate of how many users you'll
and development, especially for organizations
have in two or three years' time. If your
with diverse workforces. Keep in mind that a
organization is in growth mode, this is an
diverse workforce, in terms of learning, could
important aspect of your budget. And
be a group of employees who are physically
remember that the budget for external licensing
together but learn at different paces. A diverse
of eLearning is similar to leasing a car: the
workforce could be geographically and
amount you pay on a monthly basis will be
culturally different, as well, meaning the
recurring over time, with no eventual
employees can be remote from the
ownership of the content. Don't get confused
headquarter organization in many ways. But
by a vendor using the term "purchase" to
with the advent of eLearning comes the
describe your arrangement. What you are
decision about whether to develop eLearning
essentially doing is paying a recurring fee to use
programs internally or to outsource them to
the content. In addition, you should also find
vendors or eLearning providers. Before you
out if your fees cover updates to content,
make a decision for your organization, it may be
especially if the content is changeable in nature.
a good idea to look at each approach, define it,
One of the other things you'll need is an overall and determine the benefits and drawbacks,
process for your external licensing approach. In both in general and for your organization. First,
other words, map out what you intend to do let's take a look at internal development.
before you ask your staff to do it. Remember
Internal development of eLearning is the
that you'll want to have an analysis or
process of developing, designing, deploying,
assessment on the front end, conducted by
evaluating, and changing courses and programs
your staff on an internal basis. Once you have
within your own organization. It sounds simple,
this information, you'll want your staff to begin
and from outward appearances it is. In fact, any
looking at courses and vendors before you bring
time we see the term "internal development",
in your SME's and stakeholders. Give that group
we think of control, ease of access, and
your best choices so that they are not bogged
probably less cost. Most of these thoughts are
down with too many vendors and courses to
true, and we will look at benefits and
review. Determine your review and approval
drawbacks of internal eLearning development
process, and remember to include cost in that
next. But let's break down internal
development into its necessary components, so Time is another element that is necessary for
that you can determine if you have the eLearning development. For some reason, some
infrastructure to take it on. learning and development professionals seem
to believe that eLearning development takes
First, let's examine what you'll need in order to less time. In some cases it may, but in the
undertake internal eLearning development. One beginning you'll need time to develop content,
of the main items to look at is your delivery approve it, test it, and test its viability in your
method. After all, you can spend time in delivery method. And you'll need time to work
development but all of this means nothing if out the bugs in your development process.
you do not have a reliable delivery method. Do
you have a Learning Management System that That brings up one last necessary element in
can deliver each program and record its internal elearning development: the process.
completion? If so, does your Learning What will your process be? This depends on all
Management System allow you to develop of the other elements, such as staff, timing,
content that is packaged and ready to deliver? If SME's, and delivery method. For example, if you
you are without an LMS, finding one should be have SME's working directly with designers,
your first step. Along with this, decide if you you'll need to determine the process of how
want to spend the extra time and money to they'll work together, how they'll test the
obtain an LMS that allows for content creation. content, and how they'll approve it for delivery.
And with this process comes your management
Let's look at content creation. If your LMS has of time, the steps involved, and the problems
an authoring tool, you'll still need instructional that may develop during that process.
designers to create the content. Remember
that the online environment requires small Now that we've discovered the basics of
"chunks" of information that are optimized for internal development, let's look at the benefits
the remote audience. But if you do not have an and potential drawbacks of this approach.
authoring tool, you'll need not only
instructional designers but also the expertise to Benefits and Potential Drawbacks of
create online programs that can be delivered by External eLearning
your LMS. Some designers have both skills sets,
Licensing external eLearning content can
but some do not. And your decision will be
provide you and your organization with definite
which skill set and which people.
benefits, along with some potential drawbacks.
What about content expertise? Remember that, Again, as we discussed on the benefits and
just as in standard instructor led training obstacles to developing internally, your role is
development, you'll need to pull in subject to determine where the greatest benefit lies.
matter experts (SME's) to provide and approve But as we are discussing external licensing,
content. eLearning, just like ILT, is only as good remember that it can be a temporary approach.
as its content, so consider how much access As we will see, the infrastructure requirements
you'll have to your SME's ‐ and how you can get are much less than developing your own
them together with your design team. eLearning. First, let's examine the benefits of
the external licensing approach.
In terms of cost, we will examine both time and content management by a vendor can be a
money. In relation to time, externally licensing benefit, it can also be an obstacle. For example,
your eLearning content can be quick and if your organization's environment changes
efficient. Once you decide on the vendor and rapidly, you may want the control that comes
sign the contract, delivery may be relatively with developing your own content.
quick. And there is no run‐up to full staffing, like Customization of externally licensed content is
you would need to do with internal expensive, if it exists at all, and may or may not
development. Cost is another potential benefit. work exactly for your organization's audience.
Remember that the cost of both approaches
will depend on your infrastructure, the number Along these lines, most external content cannot
of users, and the current technological be branded to match your organization's look
condition of the organization. But suppose that and feel. For some organizations, this is not
most of these factors are in place: a per‐head issue. But for some, who spend time and money
eLearning course may not be a major cost at all, creating a brand, this can be a deal‐breaker.
especially up front. Participants know that they are not accessing
an intervention that was created and branded
Another benefit of external licensing is in the just for them. Also along these lines, you will
management of learning. In most cases, a not be able to target the content to your
vendor will manage content and delivery for audience, which in some organizations can be a
you. In terms of delivery, if participants are deal breaker.
visiting a website there is virtually no delivery
concern for you. Content management is also a We've already discussed cost as a benefit, but
plus. For example, if your organization is highly we have to discuss it as a potential obstacle
regulated, the cost of maintaining regulatory when it comes to external licensing. Many
training and all the changes that comes with it vendors provide eLearning on a per‐learner
may be fairly high. But a vendor that specializes basis, which can be cost effective in a small
in this type of training has a staff that maintains organization. But if you have a larger
the content. And all you have to do is wait for organization and plan to reuse content on a
the update to be pushed out. regular basis, the cost can become an
escalation. And although you may see some
In similar context, you will recall that we return on investment versus your cost, what
discussed the necessity of an internal delivery happens when the ROI begins to level off?
mechanism that will be necessary for internal Alternatively, what if your external courses are
development. In general, this is not necessary simply the ones that cannot be priced in terms
for external licensing. In many cases, the vendor of ROI unless something goes wrong, like a
hosts the courses, which means that your users regulator citation? In this case, the escalating
simply log on via the Internet and take a class. cost may not be worthwhile in the long rung.
Then the vendor provides you with reports on
completions. As we've mentioned, external licensing of
eLearning content may be a great place to start
There are some obvious obstacles that may with online learning. Once you've built up the
come along with external licensing of eLearning time and the budget, you can transition to an
content. First, consider content control. Just as internal development approach. Regardless,
your role is to make the choice of approach Cost is also a benefit to internal development of
based on your organization and its needs. eLearning. Although there may be an initial
cost, which we will discuss in a moment, the
cost of designing and delivering your own
Benefits and Potential Drawbacks of programs may be lower than external
development, especially if external courses are
paid by the learner. And once you've developed
Internal development of eLearning brings both a staff, this cost will also be lower in the long
benefits and a few potential drawbacks to run.
learning and development as well as the
Finally, internally developed eLearning can be
organization as a whole. As with any business
branded to match your organization. This kind
decision, your job is to determine if and when
of seamless development and delivery of
the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks. Or,
learning, even across a diverse audience, may
you may determine that drawbacks will be no
have more credibility than an externally
more than a blip on your radar. Let's look at the
packaged program. With your own branding,
benefits of internal development first.
your courses can match the overall "look and
One of the primary benefits of developing feel" of the organization's online applications,
eLearning internally is the control that comes such as HR, social media, and internal Internet.
with it. As the developer and owner of the
What about potential drawbacks or
content, your organization has the ultimate
opportunities? Again, keep in mind that just
control of each and every word, activity, test
because a potential drawback exists does not
question, and evaluation. This means that if
mean that your organization must suffer
your organization sometimes has rapid or
through it. First, the process of developing
constant changes in policies, procedures,
internally will require you to either re‐purpose
products, or regulations that affect training
existing staff or hire new staff that can handle
content, you'll be able to implement those
the process. In addition, the staff you manage
changes quickly and efficiently. Plus, you can
will most likely be handling both instructor led
tailor your content to your audience so that it
and eLearning programs.
makes a long‐lasting impact on the learner.
In terms of delivery, internal development
In terms of time, developing internally may take
pretty much requires that you have an internal
less time once your process is up and running.
mechanism for delivering and recording online
For example, let's say you have an instructional
learning interventions. This can be an "off the
designer who manages the SME, develops
shelf" LMS or it can be something that is
outcomes, and creates content, and then
developed by IT within the organization, but
passes the prepared storyboard on to a course
you'll need it. As we mentioned earlier, if you
developer who prepares the course for delivery.
have courses and programs without a delivery
This process can become very efficient over
method, you've wasted your time and effort.
time‐and end up saving time that you might
spend testing externally licensed courses. Also, costs in terms of time and money are also
potential drawbacks for internal development.
Although we have discussed the potential of organization's budget, infrastructure, staff, and
saving time in the long run, you may find that audience to come up with the right
time expense is much higher in the beginning of combination of internal and external content.
internal development. This time includes
working out a process, testing and re‐testing So why would you use this approach? Let's say
your delivery method, and breaking in the staff. your organization is investing in eLearning and
Costs, as with any new adventure, may be you have the budget to develop your own
higher on the front end, as well. For example, content. But you don't want to get in over your
you may find that you'll spend more in year one head. In a case like this, you could begin
on staffing and technology than in years to developing internal content for those items that
follow. In addition, LMS technologies change, are more efficiently managed, such as those
and you may want to upgrade at some point with a major development process at the
going forward. Along with this, you may find beginning and minor changes thereafter. Using
that your internal development has become this content as your own, you can test your
successful to the point that you have to add system and its infrastructure before going full
more staff to handle content development and swing. On the other side of this, you can
deployment. outsource those items that may test your
reserves, such as regulatory training or general
Remember that your role is to determine how industry learning.
the benefits will outweigh the potential
opportunities, or to decide that the potential As with any of the approaches we've discussed,
problems are just normal obstacles for your there are benefits and potential obstacles.
organization. Next, let's take a look at external Consider the benefits of a combined approach.
licensing of eLearning programs. You may be able to focus your internal staff's
efforts on customizable, branded, internal
Developing Internally vs. Licensing eLearning programs while giving the vendor the
Externally: A Combined Approach programs that don't require too much
attention. From this, your organization can be
We've discussed eLearning in terms of internal introduced to eLearning on a good scale, that is,
development versus external licensing as two on a customized, targeted scale. In terms of
separate approaches. For many organizations, a time, consider the fact that you could
separate approach using one or the other essentially be managing and implementing two
method may work. But what about an separate eLearning projects for your
organization that has some leeway in regard to organization. In our previous example, what if
its eLearning programs? A combined approach you could roll out the organization‐specific
using both internal and external eLearning program as well as the industry‐related
content might be the way to go. program at the same time? Essentially, a
combined approach would allow you to cover
First of all, what is a combined approach? There
more ground more quickly and more efficiently.
is no number, such as 50% of content, or
"demarcation line", such as all regulatory But what about the potential obstacles? As
training should be outsourced to a vendor. A we've mentioned, cost is one of the most
combined approach will work with the obvious. You may not have the luxury of a
Finaancial Trainin Solutions (FTS) ), th instructor-
ng s he -led division of CapitalW Wave Inc,
is a firm made of up industry profes
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banks and other financ cial institutio
offer professionals who ha extensiv knowledg experien and exp
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Blennded learning is the p philosophy o which th company was found
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ning methodology, integrating theory with practice using ou own very powerful
train y ur
ning tools, creates a uniquely exciti ing and effe
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ult mediate dividdends in the retention of newly-learned concepts and
their practical ap
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Cap lWav Inc.
Delivering Innovative Training S
For further informa
ation, please contact:
ncial Training Solutions is a division of CapitalW
g Wave Inc.
Bryant Nielson, Direc
Tele US: +1 (917) 477-3
Te UK: + 44 (20) 3356 9
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