e-Learning checklist & governance issues

I'm sure we cannot be the only organisation which has this "dilemma". Although we are the Corporate Training Team and we both commission and author e-learning content for use in-house, we are increasingly finding that departments are independently both sourcing, creating and procuring e-learning with external companies with no thought of ever seeking advice; and are increasingly ending up with a vastly expensive products full of rich multi-media (which our desktops either struggle or refuse to deliver) to cover a short term need to a very limited audience. I have been asked to produce a checklist as a method of making people aware of costs implications and keep expectations realistic too....We also need to find a method of starting to capture some governance over the distribution and costs of e-learning solutions and just wondered if anybody has already created anything along the lines of a checklist previously and if so how successfully it was received?? Unless anyone has any better suggestions on how this could be resolved?? many thanks!!

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  • Hi Julie,

    Please find listed below governing bodies and their websites for what you have described.

    1. Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL)[http://www.adlnet.org/Pages/Default.aspx]
    a. SCORM 1.2
    b. SCORM 2004
    c. SCROM 2.0
    2. Learning Education Training Systems Interoperability (LETSI) [https://letsi.org/]
    3. IEEE [http://www.ieee.org/portal/site]
    4. JISC [http://www.jisc.ac.uk/home/whatwedo/themes/elearning.aspx]
    5. DDA Accessibility Compliance [http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/webdda]
    6. World Wide Web Consortium [http://www.w3.org/]

    This should help you.


    • Hi Julie,

      I currently manager a team of in-house e-learning desginers and developers. When we first started we came across the same issue with the business going external rather than through us.

      As others have already said, getting the business to understand and acknowledge that there are standards that need to be adhered to, if they want the product to slot into your current LMS, is a starting point.

      We also communicated to the business that they had to come via us and if we weren't able to help (for whatever reason) we would look to outsource the work to our "preferred suppliers". We choose 2 suppliers - one known for rapid development and one known for media rich development.

      We also actively advertised our team to the wider business so that people became more aware of us and the expertise we had to offer.

      Now, the business come directly to us with any requests.

      Hope this helps.

    • Hi Julie,

      Did you ever get round to finalising the check list? How has it worked for you and has it improved what you intended it to. Would be interested in finding out what's changed as a result of the check list and anything else you could share with the group that could help others on a similar journey

      Many thanks
  • Julie

    This has historically been a common problem, and often leads to the appointment of a central resource to support and coordinate e-learning related purchases, as well as to own the associated technical standards and sometimes the platform (e.g. LMS) they will be run on. In terms of resolving your issues - you probably need to think about it at three different levels.

    1) Technical Standards - Nearly every major corporate we work with has had to put in place a technical standards document that is enforced via the procurement process. This includes: e-learning standards for compatibility with your LMS or deployment platform (AICC, SCORM 1.2, 2004 etc), technical standards for your IT environment - browser/script/java/plugin restrictions etc and network and other restictions (e.g. bandwidth), other integration requirements and so on. Will also probably include requirements for new suppliers in terms of provision of sample test content to prove LMS compatibility, as well as any associated release or delivery requirements for the content - i.e. the rules of engagement for the vendor.

    2) E-learning Project Process - a standard process to be used by all parts of the organisation to facilitate e-learning projects. The aim of this is to better qualify projects and investments in e-learning, and to take them through some standard steps to help ensure the success of the projects. This could include which suppliers have already been vetted - some guidelines on procurement, guidelines on project planning and initiation etc, and (very importantly) guidelines on assurance, testing and deployment. This will help ensure projects are managed more effectively. Frequently the implementation of such a process will involve advisory support from a central e-learning advisor or team depending on the scale of the organisation. Whilst responsibility for e-learning may be devolved into the fragmented L&D operation - e-learning expertise is generally not unless an organisation becomes very e-centric and even then it still needs to rest with a few people (in reality).

    3) Governance - as you have highlighted, a decentralised procurement of e-learning solutions leads to failed projects as the expertise is absent to make them successful, and basic issues of suitability, design, and deployability go out the window. Centralising all responsibility for e-learning can be a good strategy in the short term, but is frequently a bad answer long term as it fundamentally keeps it in the ivory tower. Delegating responsibility for e-learning without some form of governance and process leads to anarchy. As a minimum, you need to have some standards for projects and potential suppliers (see above), and also cross-visibility of existing solutions and suppliers across the business. Over time, this ideally would lead some form of governance network to maximise the value of what you already have and to stop reinventing the wheel 15 times in different parts of the business. Governance should also foster and facilitate innovation on a coordinated basis - innovation in terms of approach and of suppliers etc.

    Hope that's some help. Email me if you would like to discuss further (davidw@elearnity.com). We've done a lot fo research into corporate processes for the above and related topics.


    • David - thank you for your advice and for the offer of making contact directly too, I'll definately be in touch.

  • Hi Julie, the best way I know how to do this is;
    Force all your clients to go through you before they contact external suppliers
    Train your client facing contacts to do a quick Triage to estimate the value to the bsuiness of solving the problem (Then you have something to comapare the costs against)
    Get them to ask; Who is this for? What are they doing now? What do we need them to do? What is the cost of the gap if we do nothing?
    Then train your consultnat in your e-learning standards
    Publish and train your suppliers in your e-leaning standards
    Let your internal project mangers commession extrenal providers based on a SLA that thay will deliver to your standards
    Get three estimates for external solutions
    Compare the cost of the solutions with the value to the business of closing the performance gap
    Commision external suppliers
    Sell this traige and supplier quality mangement service to your clients as a benefit
    Hope this helps
    • Hi Nigel, thanks very much for taking the time to reply with such useful advice. I think I have a bit of a corporate mountain to climb (thank goodness I don't get vertigo!)
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