Rapid development cycle (RDC) - Custom eLearning development

Unlike many other vendors, Cyber Media Creations uses a rapid development cycle (RDC) approach to custom eLearning development. This approach is based on using rapid prototyping for each module. Essentially each of the modules in the course is treated as separate Lego block. CMC is able to develop each module independently. Our rapid development cycle also allows us to develop 3-4 modules at the same time. So what does this mean for you, the customer? It means that you can assign each module to the relevant subject matter expert (SME). What happens if the owner of module 1 is away on vacation? No problem, we start working on other modules that are ready for production. Using the Lego block approach, CMC can work on several modules at the same time. This translates into cost savings for our customers. It also gives them great flexibility in terms of scheduling modules for development. Based on our unique rapid development cycle (RDC) for custom eLearning development, combined with our unique business model CMC has been able to provide highly competitive pricing.

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Evaluating eLearning vendors and proposals

When you're selecting a new eLearning vendor that will be developing custom eLearning materials for you, how do you evaluate these vendors? The answer to that is pretty straight forward and I wrote a detailed white paper on that topic - Selecting an eLearning vendor: A guide to making an informed decision. Ok, so now you have three to four potential vendors. You ask them to provide you with a proposal based on a new course that you’d like to develop. How do you select the vendor for that project? Obviously you’re looking at what you are getting for the price. Is the vendor’s solution based on your needs? Does your program require interactive multimedia elements? On the surface the answer to this question may be an obvious “yes”, but in some cases you may be able to develop an excellent course that doesn’t have audio and video and that still meets your specific needs.

For custom development your vendor should be able to provide you with a detailed structure for your program i.e. number of modules, time per module. Your vendors should also provide you with an overall estimate of the development man hours required to complete the course. This is an important first step for any program. Additionally your vendor should list the multimedia eLearning elements that will be included. Now look at the vendors estimate of how many hours it will take them to complete the course.

Let’s look at a hypothetical proposal and plug in the numbers. Let’s say that the vendor says that the course will take 1500 hours to develop and the final course will be 3 hours long, then the ratio will be 500:1. So how does this figure stack up compared to the industry standards? Brandon Hall conducted an extensive survey, looking at eLearning development ratios. Here are the results:
Ratio (number of development hours: training hours) for each type of training:
- 34:1 Instructor-Led Training (ILT), including design, lesson plans, handouts, PowerPoint slides, etc.
- 33:1 PowerPoint to E-Learning Conversion. Not sure why it takes less time than creating ILT, but that’s what they discovered when surveying 200 companies about this practice
- 220:1 Standard e-learning which includes presentation, audio, some video, test questions, and 20% interactivity
- 345:1 Time it takes for online learning publishers to design, create, test and package 3rd party courseware
- 750:1 Simulations from scratch. Creating highly interactive content e.g 3D gaming virtual worlds

At this point I want to make it clear that the 345:1 ratio is for a third party vendor to create a course that they sell as an off the shelf course. The 220:1 would be for an eLearning vendor to develop a custom course for you, with 20% interactivity. Ok, so let's say that your vendor exceeds the 220:1 ratio. Now it comes down to evaluating the materials that they’ve developed to see whether you feel that it is worth the money. How do the other vendors compare? Did they provide you with the figures to measure their eLearning development ratios?

In my next post I will discuss how CMC’s Rapid Development Cycle (RDC) drastically reduces our development time for multimedia eLearning course. As a result our development ratios are much lower than the results of the Brandon Hall survey, which means that our customer get multimedia eLearning products at a HIGHLY competitive price, even when compared to offshore vendors.


Poll: Recession driving eLearning growth?

I am extremely interested to see whether the recession has led to more companies looking towards eLearning for more affordable training. Based on my experience, larger companies have been using eLearning for several years, although a few have resisted online learning. Recently I've been contacted by companies who are only now looking towards eLearning which made me wonder whether the realities of the recession are forcing companies to look towards new training solutions. Although many (if not most) organizations have cut training budgets, training still needs to be done. Is your company looking at eLearning to achieve your training results or are you still doing mostly traditional classroom training?


Audio Narration in Training

Cathy Moore does some very neat demos. One of her latest demo's is on the use of audio narration in training. Definitely worth checking out - great work Cathy.


How to get blog comments easily

Many of us often wonder how we can get more participation from our readers. Well I found one sure fire way - criticize Brett Favre. Yip, mention the words Favre and hype in one sentence and you'll get PLENTY of feedback alright! All I can say is at 8-1 the old man looks pretty impressive from my couch.

For those of you who don't like sport maybe you can write a post about why Bill Gates isn't a genius - seems to me it would be the same as saying that Favre is hyped. On a side note why hasn't anyone written and article about why Favre is pronounced Farv?