E-Learning: The Big 8 - Questions to Answer in Planning
& Implementing E-Learning:
July 27th, 2001
By Paul Stacey
has passed through the awareness stage. Corporate
executives, human resource professionals, and trainers
everywhere are aware of the potential and promise of
e-learning. Awareness is now pervasive.
organizations are transitioning from e-learning
awareness and fact-finding to e-learning planning and
the last little while I've been helping a number of
organizations plan and implement e-learning. Mostly I've
been helping senior management with visioning, strategic
planning, funding applications, and market research.
of this work a consistent set of questions have emerged
that virtually every organization has to answer. I've
distilled these questions down into what I call the
of the Big 8 as pragmatic questions for planning,
managing and implementing e-learning. You might also
think of them as sections or structural elements of an
e-learning business plan.
of the Big 8 questions have a number of subordinate
will e-learning be governed, planned, and managed?
Is e-learning strategic for the organization?
Is there an executive level champion?
Is e-learning an extension of existing business units or
Will e-learning report up through HR?, Sales/Mktg?, IS?
is the optimum business model for the provision of
What funding is available?
What is the Return On Investment (ROI)?
What kinds of successful e-learning business models are
Is the e-learning revenue generating?
are the resources that will create, deliver, and support
How will the production and delivery be done?
Do you have existing resources or will new resources be
Is your Information Technology dept. involved?
Will you outsource or hire?
are the e-learning success models and pedagogies?
Who is the target learner and how do they want to learn?
Use of asynchronous vs. synchronous?
Replicate traditional classroom model online or new
What are the research results?
Blending and integrating online with face-to-face?
curriculum and content can be targeted for online?
Does e-learning make sense for all subjects?
What is available off-the-shelf and what might I have to
Where can I get early returns?
educational technologies will be used to develop and
deliver the e-learning?
Learning Management Systems?
Course Management Systems?
Integration of several systems?
is the production process for development and delivery
Lone ranger vs. team?
Production process and scheduling?
System Design process?
Software engineering process?
will e-learning be evaluated and revised over its
What does success look like?
How will you measure ROI?
How will it be scaled? extended? transferred?
Is there a plan/budget for life cycle
for even more resources to help you plan/implement
e-learning? Here are a few more:
Steps to E-Learning - Where Are You?, Brandon Hall, http://www.brandonhall.com
a Business Case for Online Learning Projects, Saul
Carliner, Learning Circuits, February 2000, ASTD
You Ready for E-Learning?, Samantha Chapnick, Learning
Circuits, November 2000, ASTD http://www.learningcircuits.org/nov2000/chapnick.html
these questions and suggestions can seem a bit
overwhelming. The key is to use them as guides to define
a structure and approach that will work for your
the Big 8 questions ensures you've done your homework.
The answers you come up with build a business case and
plan for your e-learning initiative.
Stacey is the Director of Corporate Education and
Training at the Technical University of British
Columbia, a long time education professional in the high
tech private sector, and an e-learner.
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