You’ve decided that it’s time to move your courses online. Membership numbers seem stagnant and renewals are decreasing. As an Education Director, you see the writing on the wall, and have decided that eLearning is the answer your association’s needs. But wait…How will you explain eLearning to your Executive Director?
If you’re part of a corporation, maybe you’ve decided that training and employee development would be more efficient if it were all online. It’d save time and resources, and you could standardize training, but how do you explain eLearning to the CEO?
We all have a boss and even our best ideas require an explanation, so before you get an LMS, start designing courses, and tracking learner progress, you’ll need to get his or her approval. Here are 7 things about eLearning your CEO/Executive Director will want to know.
1: How much will it cost?
The first question out of the boss’s mouth is going to be “how much?” Don’t show up unprepared. Make sure you’ve submitted an RFP (request for proposal) to a few LMS providers that offer the features your specific association or organization needs. Cheaper isn’t always better. When considering cost, make sure you take into account the costs of training and implementation, branding, marketing, and integrations. You can do this cheaply and spend more long term because the bargain brand didn’t give you what you needed, or you can make sure you have everything you need. While you might pay more upfront, over time you’ll actually spend less. You’ll want to create a cost-benefits analysis that clearly outlines expenditure vs expected return.
2: What will we need?
Will we need an LMS? An LCMS? Will we need course creation software? How about an instructional designer? Will we need subject matter experts? You will need some sort of portal to put your courses into, which is commonly referred to as a Learning Management System or LMS. If your LMS does not come with built in course creator tools or you’d like advanced features for designing courses, you might need a content authoring tool such as Storyline. If you’re thinking about repurposing an old PowerPoint presentation with tons of text (there was a lot of information to cover), you might want to consider hiring an instructional designer. An instructional designer knows how to present information in a way that makes sense to your learners. If you cannot afford an instructional designer or feel certain you can create courses yourself, consider seeking additional information on course design. Our instructional designers recommend the book The Accidental Instructional Designer by Cammy Bean. You will probably require subject matter experts (SMEs) that can provide information necessary to build instructional courses. These people know your particular field or specialty and are critical pieces of the puzzle. Like the corner pieces. Those are important.
3: What is the projected ROI?
Seems simple enough. What can the association or organization expect to see in financial returns? If you’re not sure how to project your ROI, try using an ROI calculator. Plug in different scenarios and see what you can expect as a result.
4. Will we need to hire staff?
You will need to know how much help you need to implement this task and whether or not you have the man or woman power to maintain its operations. Will you need additional technical support staff or will your LMS provider handle support? Will the education department need additional administrative help uploading courses or creating them and managing users? Will you need additional help marketing these courses? Inquiring bosses want to know.
5. Who are we marketing this to?
Is there a demand for online education at your association or organization? Are you marketing these courses to members and nonmembers? Will there be a pricing difference for members and nonmembers? Will that difference still make your offerings competitive? Will you provide CE credits? Are your learners in need of continuing education to maintain certification? You have to know who you’re marketing to, what they need and want from your association, what’s important to them, what their reasons are for being a member, and whether or not they have an interest in what you’re offering. Do your homework to prove there is a need you’ll be filling by offering eLearning, and you’ll be that much closer to gaining approval.
If you’re part of a corporation, decide who your learners will be. Will they be new hires? Will you use this as a development tool? Will you train managers to become leaders? Who will benefit, and how will you show that this method will engage your learners better than traditional training methods and courses? If you can show employee buy-in and clearly demonstrate who will benefit from eLearning and how their benefit is the company’s benefit, your CEO will be more inclined to approve your eLearning initiative.
6. Will people actually learn anything?
There’s this silly little rumor floating around that eLearning doesn’t work as well as tradition courses taken in person. So here are some facts to take to the boss:
- A 2014 MIT study proved that eLearning is just as effective as traditional learning
- According to the US Department of Education’s studies on online education published in 2009 and revised in 2010, “on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”
- A 2003 paper published by the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning states that “in two thirds of the cases, students taking courses by distance education outperformed their student counterparts enrolled in traditionally instructed courses.”
Clearly, eLearning works, and we’re not just saying that because we’re biased.
7. Who’s going to run the program?
The answer to this question is probably “I am.” But just in case, know who is doing what, what the chain of command for this project is going to be, and who reports to whom. Your education department or HR department should control this initiative, and your Education Director should lead. Make sure these details are clearly outlined so the boss knows who to go to for status reports and who to hold accountable for the initiative’s successes and failures.
Now get out there and give that CEO/Executive Director some knowledge!
For more great information, check out our resources page.
Visit our LMS page to learn more about the Knowledge Direct Learning Management System.
Ready to find out what Digitec can do for you?