What is Rapid Learning (or Rapid eLearning Development)?

Are your content development costs far higher than you expected? Have you considered ways to reuse and standardise to minimise those costs?

Rapid development is changing the landscape of eLearning. Where once you were required to create from scratch, standard templates enable you to build quickly and effectively. With L&D costs under the microscope like never before, it’s essential that you include rapid development in your training environment.

Rapid development is the best way to get time-critical training out to your people, without question. True, it may not be suitable for complex training subjects with a requirement for multiple interactive elements. But it certainly has its place in the compliance or sales environment.

The time problem

A 2017 survey showed an average of 71 development hours for 1 hour of training, with one or two interactive elements. The trend is going down, with technology helping developers to automate tasks they had previously coded. But the difference with a rapid development approach is reported as a 40% reduction.

Enable your developers to save that much time on the simpler, repetitive training courses. You will gift them the time to develop eLearning that engages, inspires and resonates.

Rapid eLearning courses usually look like this…

  • They are completed within 2-3 weeks
  • The content is written by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), who usually project manage the course
  • Rapid authoring tools like Articulate, Claro or Adapt help creating them
  • They can be created by non-technical experts
  • They can utilise standard templates

When to choose Rapid eLearning Development

There are three ideal circumstances for Rapid eLearning Development. Firstly, when you have content that changes rapidly (e.g. seasonal promotions). Secondly, when your content has a short shelf life (e.g. HR training for a policy update). And thirdly, when you need to create just-in-time training (e.g. for short-term cover hires).

And there are certain projects that lend themselves perfectly to Rapid Learning:

  • Projects that are high on SME-based content. If Subject Matter Experts can maintain control over the development as well as the content of the project, the knowledge transfer of complex topics will be better
  • Projects with a short deadline. If you have a change you need to train out quickly – in a couple of weeks – Rapid Development is key
  • Projects where budgets are tight. There is a far reduced development cost associated with Rapid Learning

Rapid eLearning authoring tools

There are lots of reasons to choose Rapid eLearning Development – but you’ll need to have a rapid eLearning authoring tool to really change the game.

They bring several benefits to your development. They help you easily repurpose existing assets. Even more complex elements like scenarios can be re-used, meaning you can invest in development once and then reap the rewards.

They allow you to use the content on multiple devices. Rapid eLearning courses are packaged for use on mobiles, tablets or any browser. Responsive learning is the key to delivering training, fast.

They allow you to push out changes without having to redesign courses. This allows you to make multiple regular changes where you need to.

They make use of standard templates and themes to save you development time and costs. You don’t need to do any coding to use the templates, and there is no design process to go through before your content is created.

Standardise and reuse

The key to Rapid Learning is in standard templates, reusing components, and developing a common user interface. It’s about never allowing good development go to waste.

Every time you are creating something, think to yourself: where have I done this before? Where could I use this again? How can I make this universal across all our standard courses? Then take note of what’s gone well, and what you could do better.

Learn from your mistakes, and repeat the good things with intelligence.

Rapid Learning: the downside

Of course, rapid development does have its limitations. The benefit of simpler programming or software is that you can get courses out to your learners quickly. It’s particularly useful for developing Bite-Size learning modules. Just don’t risk losing the impact of your course simply to reduce the development time.

Don’t get carried away with the idea that fast development is always best. There are always going to be times where a more complex topic requires expert development. Instructional designers can create more engaging content in these situations. The content has to be delivered well for full participation and adoption.

Be careful not to put too much responsibility on your SMEs for developing courses. Remember they are experts for a reason – they are highly experienced and in demand. If you assume your SME will always be able to create your training, you risk losing their engagement.

Use Rapid Learning where you can, but with the comfort that you are using your resources with care and caution.

Deliver value for money through Rapid Learning

Your LMS business plan was based on value for money benefits of an online training environment and a skilled workforce.  Are you realising those benefits, or are your development costs far higher than you had anticipated?

If you implement rapid development techniques, then you can design a broad range of courses that can be easily replicated. And, since the design is standardised, you won’t need to go through the review process each and every time. Focus on the message – and the delivery of the content.

Spend less time making the authoring tools bend to your will. Repeat, and feel the benefits of rapid development!

Webanywhere is a market-leading international eLearning business, working with corporations and education partners to provide complete eLearning solutions. We can provide LMS and Learning platforms, as well as content development and useful mobile apps. Visit our Contact page to get in touch and see how we can transform your eLearning environment.