Instructional Design

Solo Run: How to Develop eLearning Programs Independently

In a perfect world, every HR department would have access to a huge budget and a dedicated team with which to develop world-class L&D programs. Alas, it’s not a perfect world out there, and you might find yourself flying solo with a limited budget and zero support. Never fear, though: Just because it’s a solo project doesn’t mean you can’t completely knock it out of the park. By spending your budget wisely and using your resources judiciously, you can wow on your own.

eLearning Software Decisions

Unless you have access to a designer or are a programmer yourself, opting for eLearning software might be your best bet. Choosing a software that allows maximum control and customization – while still helping you stay on track and organized – can help remove some of the stress of a solo project. You’ll basically input and arrange your subject matter and content, and the software will do the heavy lifting for you.

Content Development

If you have access to an SME, lean heavily on their expertise: It’ll be the bulk of your content development. Once you’ve nailed down the specifics, you can choose how to best present the information and which format works best. Something casual, light and media-heavy might act as the best hosing for less-serious topics, but a whiteboard or index card approach may be better for the serious stuff.

In any case, let the content be your guide. You’ll find that in meeting with the SME, general categorizations and the bones for a solid module have a way of forming on their own. You just need to decide how to present the material.

Program Testing

Without access to a ton of resources and a team of experts, you might be on your own when it comes to testing and analysis for your module. If possible, see if you can secure just one department of your organization for a test run. You should be able to ferret out potential issues by allowing a select sample of users test out the program.

If you’re completely on your own, take off your developer hat and run through the program as a user. Pretend that it’s the first time you’re experiencing the module and you should be able to see areas which need improvement or a little media tweaking.

Delivery Methods

Finally, once you’ve perfected your program, you’ll need to choose a delivery method. After all, it needs to get to the right people, in the right place and at the right time. Depending on the subject matter, you might find that pushing the program out via email means learners can read through it at their own time. If you’ll need time to explain, perhaps a flipped classroom delivery system will give you more discussion opportunities. However you push it out, the development timeline has to be appropriate.

However you decide to deliver the material, both in terms of creating and development timeline, executing an eLearning program from scratch is no small feat – especially when you’re going it alone. By using all the resources available to you and thinking like a learner, you’ll be able to prove that you can fly solo.