Project management in 6 simple steps
Over the recent years, the education sector has seen significant progress. We have come a long way from the era of the traditional blackboard and chalk. Today, we use digital tools to aid teaching and learning practices.
To say that e-learning has been beneficial to both students and teachers alike would be an understatement. In fact, the global e-learning market in the United States will be worth about 460 billion US dollars in 2026. So, you can imagine what the future of vocational education and training will look like.
But such practices are not easy to adopt. Sometimes people feel that they have encountered an obstacle while trying to make their way through an e-learning project. For example, they don’t know where to start a project or how to develop a proper schedule. However, there are people who have adapted to it though. And to help you get there, we share some tips that you can put to good use.
1. Kick-off meetings
If you haven’t heard of a startup meeting before, it’s time to get to know it. To avoid getting caught up in the what ifs never ending loophole, you should call a kick-off meeting before starting any project. Such a meeting is held with the team and stakeholders to discuss every aspect of the project and team building. The basic idea is to let everyone know the goals and objectives so that they can act accordingly to fulfill their role.
Furthermore, you can put together a mission statement for the project and explain the entire timeline to the team. The meeting can take a long time, so inform each member in advance to clear their schedules. A key tip is to have someone take the minutes of the meeting as well as it will help to refer back to what was already discussed later. This way, you will be able to establish leadership for your project and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
2. Project schedule
The next step is to create a schedule that the whole team can follow throughout the life of the project. Now keep in mind that this timeline is for you to keep track of project actions according to the timeline. So, while you don’t stick to it, it’s best that you and the team follow it strictly. Otherwise, if unexpected delays occur, the project may be derailed.
The schedule will include content compilation. This stage, in particular, requires extensive research because you need to oversee the content of each course and how each teacher will teach it. There is also the question of content gaps and how to overcome them with further research. Finally, each class should include learning objectives so that students can judge their own situation.
You can define each output’s schema and its temporary schedule. For example, drawing a course outline should take no more than a month or so. All decision-making processes related to the course outline must be completed within this deadline, such as writing content, drawing storyboards, organizing materials, etc.
Another key step is to review and test the course prototype because before developing the entire course, you need to go over how each feature works. You will have to figure out how the functions work and whether or not they are easy to use. Address any issue immediately, otherwise it may cause delays in the project schedule. It would also be wise to take the team’s input and adjust your schedule according to their requirements.
3. Project outputs
Once you’ve decided on the schedule, it’s time to highlight the accomplishments or milestones. This will help let the team know what needs to be prioritized and meet expectations by delivering tasks on time. A typical e-learning project consists of the following milestones:
- scheme course
- Research notes
- Course content
- E-learning beta course
- Final e-learning course
You will have to write down the tools and resources that will be required to complete each milestone. Specify the time frame or window within which the team must complete the milestones. Consider any issues the team may have, and include additional time for them. Also include estimated costs, if any, so you can keep track of the budget. To be more efficient, use Google Sheets to draw a chart or table to note each piece of information.
If you’re having problems, you should study some project plan templates to get an idea, just as if you were hitting an academic website. However, keep in mind that every project works differently, so you will have to customize your project according to your needs. This way, you will be ready for the planning phase of your e-learning project. Furthermore, you can also take advantage of a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) to optimize the delivery of each phase accordingly.
4. Storyboard and development
The storyboard process is one of the most important components of an e-learning project. It allows the developer to visualize the e-learning project that is laid out for them. In addition, the storyboard serves as a training document for the online courses you will be teaching. They help identify content, audio recordings, and visuals to indicate how the student and teacher interact.
You can use storyboards to collaborate with experts in their own field and get their input. They can help by providing feedback to make the learning process between student and teacher smoother. For example, a graphic designer will tell you if a design is catchy or boring old fashioned. Likewise, the developer will let you know if the feature is integrated or not.
Speaking of development, whether or not the e-learning platform is easy to use depends on the developers. These people will be the ones who shape your ideas into reality, thanks to the storyboards. You’ll have to choose the color scheme, graphics, animation, and features (if you have a favourites), and they’ll do the rest for you. The development process may consist of the following steps:
- Define your goals according to the e-learning project
- Create a design with these steps
- mind map
- wire frames
- Develop content with a keen eye
- study templates
- Organization content
5. stakeholder management
The e-learning project involves a number of stakeholders. Even without one of them, the project can be unsuccessful. Hence, you have to keep an eye on each player so that they play their role accordingly. For example, if the project manager does not assign tasks and monitor the team, the project may be at risk. As a result, it may not be completed on time.
Sometimes, there is also the fact that stakeholders will have unreasonable demands. This is where you will have to come up with a solution that meets the expectations of your stakeholders. The following persons are the stakeholders of the e-learning project:
- project manager
- Subject experts
- Instructional designers
- Multimedia designers
- tech experts
- Quality Assurance Specialist
To establish a successful relationship with each one of these major players, you will have to communicate extensively. Not only that, but you will also be responsible for setting the scope for it. So take the time required, because their understanding and time is absolutely necessary to get the project done.
6. Tools and Channels
In an e-learning project, things can be disastrous if a team member doesn’t know what tool to work with. Not only will this disrupt the project schedule, but you will also have to deal with potential collateral damage. Hence, it would be a good idea to tell everyone what they are supposed to be working with at the beginning of the project.
So, let the team know which channels you are using to communicate with them. The development team will have an idea of what kind of tools will be useful for the project. However, you should also tell them your preferences about the software, such as which authoring tools you think would be best for the project, etc.
Ensure that your e-learning project passes alpha as well as beta testing. This way, you will be able to run the tests in batches with two different groups of users. Changes from both versions can be combined into the final version of the project, and you’ll be fine. Here are some of the e-learning tools right off the top of our heads:
Video editing tool for screen recordings
To create responsive screens
- Easy Generator
E-Learning Content Creation Tool
A messenger for experienced learning designers
- Adobe Captivate
Create high quality content
We believe that with these key points in mind, you will be fully able to create and handle an e-learning project on your own.