Why You Should Invest In Rapid eLearning
Rapid eLearning is a new development model that makes use of eLearning templates. That is, courses which have been pre-designed by expert Instructional Designers can be used as templates for teams to make new courses, therefore allowing you to circumvent the services of an Instructional Designer. It empowers the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and other team members to create a course based on their own vision.
This model may not be ideal for all courses, as courses with some complexity may require custom design and the involvement of a skilled Instructional Designer. Most rapid development courses are one hour or less. However, many types of materials can be served by rapid eLearning without a sacrifice in quality.
The main cost benefits of rapid development involve an increase in efficiency, as well as the positive side effects of more efficient development. Most eLearning results in a Return-On-Investment eventually, but with rapid development, the lower costs mean the ROI will come to fruition sooner.
1. Reduce Development Time By Nearly Half
Traditional development of a one-hour course can take four to six weeks. Rapid development will take two to four. That means it cuts development time nearly in half.
Rapid eLearning came into the spotlight last March, when companies needed to quickly get learning content online due to their entire workforces switching to remote work. But there are many situations in which companies would like to get courses created quickly. For example, if the course is created due to abrupt company changes or in response to public relations needs. More simply, the team creating the eLearning does not necessarily have four to six weeks to dedicate to developing a course.
If you’re not sure your company would need rapid eLearning most of the time, it is worth it to be prepared to explore how rapid eLearning works. Then, you have the option available to you in case your company ever gets in a pinch and needs a course quickly.
2. SMEs Have More Control Over The Course Development, Resulting In High-Quality Knowledge Transfer
In traditional eLearning development, SMEs give their existing content to an Instructional Designer, who is then the primary creator of the course. In rapid eLearning development, the SME is the primary creator of the course, using their knowledge base to fill in course templates. The positive of this is that the SME has more control over how the content is presented and taught.
Sometimes, Instructional Designers can miss the mark or misinterpret SME content, especially if they don’t have the involvement of the SME. Course design created by someone who is not intimate with the material will inevitably contain errors. The development team can bring the SME back in to evaluate progress, but that does involve further rounds of edits and more meetings. The partnership of a SME and an Instructional Designer can be powerful, but inefficient, and the SME has less control in this dynamic.
Since, in rapid development, the SME puts together the course, the transfer of knowledge will be more direct. The course will lean on the SME’s perspective of the material. The downside of this is that if the SME has little understanding of online course design principles, quality of the course can suffer.
3. Rapid Dev Is Pre-Made For Mobile
Rapid development templates are already prepped and ready-to-go for mobile environments, including phones and tablets. That means there isn’t extra time to dedicate to developing mobile versions of a course. While we of course recommend quality assurance testing to check that the course works as intended on every device, you can be reassured that rapid dev will suit your users who take advantage of mobile learning.
Mobile learning has proven to possess many benefits, including being accessed by busy learners on the go, used in Just-In-Time learning situations, and engaging more learners by being present on preferred platforms. Investing in rapid development ensures you won’t miss out on this great option for delivering learning content.
4. Reduce Development Costs
As you can imagine, a traditional eLearning model requiring four to six weeks of work for a single course can quickly add up in costs. A more efficient development process in which the base of the course is pre-made through templates will clearly often cost less to produce. Strategically using rapid dev for content that suits that development model can bring down overall eLearning costs and increase ROI.
This doesn’t mean you don’t need to run a cost analysis. Of course, the cost of a course can depend on many factors. For example, if the time of the SME is particularly expensive, asking the SME to spend more time on the course than they would have in a traditional development model might not save quite as much money. That’s why there are many reasons to invest in rapid development—not just reducing costs.
If your organization is one for whom rapid development can save development costs, this more affordable option could make it easier for you to procure a budget for eLearning. In a data-driven world, there needs to be proof of cost benefits, and a lower program cost can make it easier for higher-ups to take a risk and say “yes” to an eLearning initiative.
Potential lower costs for the rapid development of a course also creates a lower barrier to entry for organizations new to eLearning; they will be able to try eLearning out and evaluate the benefits and needs for their organization before committing to more comprehensive, and expensive, solutions.
5. Efficiency Allows More Frequent Content Updates
One great side effect of cheaper, quicker development based on templates is that you can afford to update the content more frequently and content updates will be easier.
Currently, many organizations use courses that are several years old. While waiting for the new version of the course, managers will have to ensure everyone has corrections to outdated information. When the organization finally gets around to updating the course, it can be an expensive and tedious process.
Rapid development is a great choice for content that will need regular updates, such as compliance content that needs to share the latest regulations, content informing users of their health benefits, and more.
The Benefit To Rapid Development Is What It Sounds Like—Efficiency
Rapid development isn’t the solution for everything. Learning and Development systems are multifaceted with many different needs, and organizations will need to stick to a traditional development model for certain types of content and courses.
However, rapid development has been gaining popularity for a reason. There are many situations where rapid development is the best-fit option. It has a lot to offer to organizations looking for an efficient and cost-effective solution that is flexible enough to benefit mobile learners. Even if money is no object, rapid development might be the best choice for organizations who want to have control over the content, include SME knowledge transfer, and make regular updates.
Regardless of the reason rapid development appeals to you and your organization, we are willing to bet that your investment will pay off.