Whether you are launching an eLearning project for a non-government organization (NGO) or a corporation, your project can quickly become derailed without proper planning and management.
For learning and development (L&D) and eLearning professionals across industries, an eLearning project launch requires foresight, planning, and expert project management. From the very onset, a successful eLearning project requires an experienced project manager at the helm, capable of assembling a team of eLearning experts, developing a detailed strategy, and managing the project from start to finish.
Ingenuiti offers 10+ years of experience managing the complete lifecycle of eLearning development and localization projects. To date, we have successfully completed 1,300+ eLearning development projects and 8,250+ eLearning localization projects. Along the way, we’ve become experts in recognizing the common challenges eLearning project managers face and are pleased to share our five (5) key factors that will help keep your eLearning project on track.
Common eLearning Project Management Challenges
Project management for eLearning is no easy feat. In fact, it is quite complex. For this reason, it is critical to your project’s success to ensure your eLearning project manager can expertly handle all of the moving parts, including:
Adhering to a detailed timeline
Although most clients come into a project excited for a schedule, the job of the project manager is to ensure they adhere to each milestone through project completion.
Clearly defining tasks and identifying responsible parties
An effective project manager must be highly organized and well-equipped to delegate necessary tasks. Leadership skills are essential for project management success.
Staying focused on eLearning goals and objectives
Clients run busy lives, and oftentimes, other pressing matters can interfere with their eLearning goals and objectives. When this arises, the project manager must have the ability to pull key players back into focus and keep the project on schedule.
Setting a realistic budget and gathering necessary resources
While clients typically already have a clear budget in mind, it is the responsibility of the project manager to manage the budget as outlined in the statement of work (SOW). However, it is the client’s responsibility to find the appropriate resources. When clients aren’t sure who needs to contribute — and/or review — content project delays can ensue. A competent project manager can help guide you through this process
Managing and communicating with multiple stakeholders
When many stakeholders from diverse backgrounds (and with different perspectives) are involved in the eLearning project, communication can get jumbled. Project managers, therefore, must clearly express their needs while also actively listening to the needs of the stakeholders, facilitating a collaborative process.
Managing version control
Without an effective means to track changes, the eLearning development process can become very disorganized, slowing down processes and frustrating stakeholders. Speak to your project manager about the tools used to ensure there is an effective version control process in place.
When clients want (or need) additional time, problems with budget, scope, or both can quickly arise. Skilled project managers will help to streamline and offer tips on time efficiency.
Security and content storage
Each client has varying levels of security, and sharing content across platforms can be daunting. Clients need to ensure that project managers have the appropriate level of access, especially if they are posting content for their project managers to download (such as from Sharepoint or Box). They also must let their project managers know if they can access their storage systems. The exchange of content is something the project manager needs to address at the start of the project and ensure that all relevant team members have login/access rights for the duration of the project.
Audio recordings can add time and costs to a project. For this very reason, audio decisions should be discussed upfront (ideally it is a line item in the SOW, but if not, the project manager needs to confirm this at kick-off.) If the audio is done by a talent studio, the project manager coordinates voice talents are available during the specified project timeline. In other cases, audio is done via artificial intelligence (AI) which allows for greater flexibility in scheduling.
Poor project management strategy costs organizations millions of dollars every year — one study found that on average, 12% of project budgets¹ are wasted due to poor management and operational inefficiency.²
Clearly, project management is a critical component of the eLearning development process. The trick, however, is to overcome its many challenges. By following our key factors below, you’ll be much closer to achieving eLearning project management success.
5 key factors for Project Managers to keep your eLearning project on track
- Set expectations early and often: When project managers clearly define expectations early on, the client will better understand the path to a successful project and will also be kept abreast of the risks. “Starting an eLearning project with a meaningful kickoff meeting… can help you answer [your client’s] questions, set expectations, and help you collect the information you need to build an effective eLearning course.”³
- Ensure the client has lined up key stakeholders as early as possible: Ideally, stakeholders should all be aligned at your project’s kick-off which is typically the first meeting after the statement of work (SOW) signature.
- Review and confirm expectations with the client: At project startup, the project manager should review with the client, all expectations within the SOW and confirm whether or not any special needs are required.
- Review the schedule with the client carefully and ensures the client adheres to deadlines: Most clients come into a project excited about a schedule but sticking to the deadlines is the goal. This is where your time management skills as a project manager become critically important for the project’s success.
- Keep lines of communication open with the client at all phases of the project lifecycle: Establishing and maintaining a proper communication channel requires active listening, timely (and effective) responses, and regular check-ins to discuss progress and next steps.
An eLearning project may have top-notch graphic designers, award-winning Instructional Designers, and flawless QA, but if the project doesn’t have a good project manager, it will likely go sideways. Project management harmonizes the entire process. A dynamite project manager not only mediates when necessary but keeps the project on time and on track. After all, project managers are accountable for the overall flow of the project, from start to end. If you are looking for more strategic project management advice as you embark on your eLearning projects, turn to Ingenuiti.
“With our solid project management expertise and breadth of eLearning experience, Ingenuiti is uniquely qualified to work with clients on global courseware development initiatives.”
Tracy Contrino, Sr. Project Manager, Ingenuiti
Ingenuiti — Closing
Project management is the central hub that keeps all of the varied, concurrent, and often messy tasks in order. Superior project management provides you with clear visibility into every step of the project so that there are no surprises and only wins — that’s the Ingenuiti promise.
Ingenuiti ensures each project phase is managed tightly from the onset to keep your project on schedule, on- or under budget, and completed with excellent customer satisfaction resulting in 99% client retention. But don’t take our word for it. Let the results speak for themselves.
Looking for other project management tips and tricks to ensure the success of your next eLearning project? Ingenuiti is excited to take your call.
- “The True Cost of Poor Project Management.” HSI
- Lambda Solutions. “A Training Company’s Guide to Selecting an Elearning Platform [with Free Templates].” Lambda Solutions, Lambda Solutions, 8 June 2021
- “3 Tips for a Successful ELearning Project Kickoff Meeting.” The ELearning Designer’s Academy, 20 Sept. 2021