Staying within budget and getting the best possible value for money are important considerations for anyone planning a new custom-made elearning project.
But are there ways to save money on bespoke elearning without cutting corners?
Bespoke elearning is continuing to grow in popularity. According to the LPI’s 2014 Learning Survey, custom elearning saw the highest relative growth of any learning media, with 18% of respondents saying they planned to use it much more. Custom elearning has many advantages, particularly for businesses with special training requirements or specific challenges. These include:
- Complete control of learning content
- Highly relevant scenarios and interactions
- Brand integration
- Personalised assessments and tests
- Tailored to meet specific business goals and objectives
But unlike ‘off the shelf’ or generic elearning, a bespoke module, by its very nature, is unique with no single cost. This can make budgeting more difficult, so it is good practice to find savings where you can without compromising on what really matters – quality.
Here are 6 ways to keep down the cost of elearning and get the best possible value from your bespoke elearning project:
- Choose the right authoring tool
There are a number of considerations when choosing an authoring tool. You will need to balance the capabilities of the software with the quality of the learner experience and the flexibility of the system. If you want lots of multi-media content and interactions, then you will need to make sure your authoring tool can support your vision. Making sure it works across a range of browsers and operating systems is also important, particularly for large organisations with employees learning in a wide range of work environments. Choosing a tool, only to find it won’t do everything you require, can be a costly and time-consuming mistake.
Crucially, you need to decide whether multi-device capability is important for your audience. If it is, then you will need to choose an authoring tool that can create modules that work perfectly on any device. The market leader for multi-device is the Adapt tool which allows a single module to adapt to fit any size screen so you don’t need to pay for multiple versions of the same course to be created separately or desktop, mobile and tablet.
- Be clear on content
At the start of an elearning project, you may have a daunting amount of information and training material. Handing this over to in its raw form is likely to increase the cost of your project as it will take more time for the learning designers to sift through and turn it into useable elearning content. Taking some time to work out the key learning objectives and what is most important will help a great deal. Also, meet with your subject matter experts and make sure they understand what is required from them and in what format.
- Adopt project discipline
Generally speaking, the more reviews and amendments during an elearning project, the higher the cost will be. This can be tricky to manage when there are numerous people in your organisation who have a stake in the module and need to sign off the content or design. A good elearning company will have expert project managers who can guide you through this process. Using a project management tool or collaboration software can also help so that everyone knows what is expected of them, and by when.
- Embrace microlearning
Microlearning is where a training topic is distilled down into a few key messages which can be delivered in a short burst of elearning. A typical microlearning module is between 10 and 20 minutes long, although some organisations are experimenting with mini-modules of just 5 minutes in duration. Normally, a shorter module will cost less but that is just one advantage. Microlearning can also be more engaging, maintain the interest of learners and fit more easily into a busy schedule. Elearning games work well as microlearning and it is also a good choice for multi-device learning.
- Plan ahead for translation
It will cost more to translate and localise your elearning post-completion so if you have employees in different countries plan ahead from the start. Find an elearning provider with experience of translation so you can benefit from their experience and existing processes and technology. Our earlier blog on translation has more tips on keeping down costs.
- Build in flexibility
A good elearning provider should be able to work with you to create elearning templates that you can reuse or update to help save money. Being able to refresh your elearning content will also prolong its shelf-life making it yet more cost-effective. Investing in training for your L&D team on the basics of using your preferred authoring tool may be worth considering if you want to make the most of your custom elearning modules and future-proof your elearning portfolio.
The Elearning Guild has produced a really helpful ebook with more tips for reducing elearning costs.
By using resources wisely and targeting elearning spending where it really matters, it’s possible to keep costs down while having the greatest impact.