Global Pilot Groups for eLearning

I wanted to post something this week about a project I worked on last year. I have been meaning to write about it for awhile, because it was something that was truly new to me in all ways.

I created an eLearning course from an instructor led course. Doesn’t sound too terrible…. Backing up – this also was a HUGE change in the way that our company does purchases (aka “Shopping Cart”). The instructor who was leading this course was awful. There were HUGE training gaps, mis information, poorly written guides (11 pages of BS)… and more. After seeing some of her reviews – I vowed if any one ever wrote something like that about me – I would hang up my ambitions for training.

I did some things that I normally don’t do for eLearning projects, but now I will do going forward. It took more time, but it was well worth it.

  • Storyboarded – I know how important this has become when creating elearning. Alot of times the way that a in-class instruction is set up, isnt necesarly the right way to set up an elearning. I began to white board, chunk and story board the topics and slides and activities. I also wrote a script (only after my second time recording the voice over for the whole thing…). By doing this type of preparation it made it easier to communicate to the SMEs of how the final course would look like.
  • Created an Elearning Plan – I created a timeline with the different events that needed to happen before this could be rolled out successfully. I thought about who would be invloved, what timing would be considered, how we would communication to different stake holders and so forth. My allowing myself time to think about these things – I took time to gather information without skipping certain groups.
  • Internally Tested – with our LMS! – As learned the hard way from previous projects — we tested  the course once it was in its beta stage within our LMS. This was important to test it that it was passing scores correctly, gaining access and everything was working properly. This sounds easy, but it wasn’t. We learned that for whatever reason our LMS cant support SCORM any more (something I used and put in there for about a year) and now it only works with AICC. No idea what changed.
  • Pilot Group – I asked my SMEs and instructors for people who would be good candidates to test this eLearning. I work for a global country, so the cultures had to be taken into consideration when rolling this out. Usually our pilot groups consist of users right around the corner from myself. But since this was going out to eveyerone, I needed to make sure it was culturally sensitive to our European associates as well as our Malaysian associates.  They were provided instructions and given 2 weeks time to complete the eLearning. They also had a survey to complete asking about navigation, culture, language, content etc. This provided myself with alot of insight into the users.
  • Regional Feedback Sessions – For each region, I held a feedback session. I created spefific questions I wanted the different users to answer (such as how many PRs do they normally submit a year, did they attend insturctor led training, what was their job at my company, etc) and then I had them answer what was Tempting, what they Liked and what would they Change. Each of them had opportunities to answer these questions and provide feedback. One of the biggest things I learned, is that the associates were glad that someone cared about their feedback and they were making a difference. Which, honestly – I did care! No one in northwest ohio could have provided me the feedback the global teams did.
  • Changes Made – After looking through the meeting notes and surveys – I created a presentation of the reactions, feedback and changes to be made. This was communicated not only with our pilot group but also with some senior leaders. This was important for myself and the participants to know that their feedback was taken into consideration and something was done about it. I made the changes that had been noted as the most important ones for the final roll out.
  • Tested Again – After the changes were made the SMEs, Insructors and my internal team ran through it again to make sure everything was good to go within our LMS.
  • Communication! – We communicated in local newsletters, our intranet announcement section, our internal blog, front and center of the log in page. (Basically we plastered it!) Also we informed the people that would get asked about it the most and created a template response for them to respond with when an associate asked about the training.


Since this go-live of October we have had over 150 associates log in, take the eLearning and receive access from it. My next step is to survey these associates to see if the eLearning  is meeting their needs. And if not what can we do to help them.  I know this was a lot, however we knew the impact was going to be large and far reaching and it needed to be done correctly.

Do you do all of this for your eLearning roll outs? What other things do you do? What do you skip on? What should you be adding to your roll outs?



If you don’t use it…you are lost!

Earlier this year, we created a Articulate Roundtable group for the users at my company.

Here are the reasons we did this:

  • My Team (training) became the constraint with Articulate – once people saw what it could do our plates were full.
  •  These users were non-elearning developers.
  • We were  “in the womb” stage of a LMS – unchartered water that needed to be done together, with standards
  • Standards in general – about colors, templates and looks and feels.

So with those in mind, I trained about 15 associates how to use Articulate. They downloaded the free trial version before coming to class. They also had to come with some content or a project they knew they were going to work on. Anyways – we storyboarded, learned Articulate,  and the fisherman were fishing. Back to the original reason for the post…

The second Tuesday of each month since then, I have held an Articulate Roundtable. Members come and bring their projects to get feedback, we had new users come an learn, we share and watch screen casts, and  began to build standards for our company’s Elearning strategy. For our last Roundtable for 2010 I wanted something that was special and different.  Jeanette Brooks (and a few others @hamtra and @suchadrag) responded to my cry for help on Twitter for something cool. Jeanette offered to do an “Engage” session. I mentioned to her that our users create from content already developed and they just use the next button – they don’t really use the interactions of Engage as they should. She came up with 3 really good ideas and examples of before (slides) and after (interaction).

Our Roundtable didn’t know who the special guest was – I was excited for their reactions. We had 7 people in the room, and three more on the phone (plus two from Germany). Our largest turn out yet! They were really pumped when they saw it was Jeanette!  She started to walk us through the different types of interactions.

We sat and listened in awe. I have never heard this group so quiet. Honestly – what she was teaching us was not to just to use Articulate, it was to think outside of the software and the tools that we have AND GET CREATIVE! and SMART! What she showed us didn’t take hours to make and do in Articulate, which is exactly what we needed.  We are excited and I couldn’t wait to get back to my desk and begin working on Articulate!  A few things I learned

  1. I need better/more/savvier Power Point Skills – THERE IS SO MUCH I just don’t know or use in PPT.
  2. Jeanette was a great model of how a someone who is presenting via Live Meeting should be. Prepared! She had everything ready to go, files up, didn’t have to look for anything. It was so streamlined and smooth. I do a lot of training over the web, and man she blew me away and gave me some good ideas (probably didn’t even know this!) about becoming a better web presenter.
  3. Clip art doesn’t stink. Usually I look elsewhere for my pictures, but she showed us some cool tricks for clip art in Microsoft.

I know that Articulate is working on an upcoming blog post about user groups and how to start one.

The resources that Jeanette provided are below.  They are awesome and definitely worth taking a look.


What about you? Do you participate in user groups or communities? What are they like? What are you learning?

All I know is that if I don’t use it, I lose it.