jump to navigation

Managing eLearning Development August 22, 2007

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , , ,

I was hired at my job almost two years ago and my main objective was to introduce eLearning to the company. It’s been very eventful; I selected and implemented an LMS, implemented Adobe Connect, implemented 100+ off-the-shelf courses, and I’ve developed several custom eLearning courses (whew!). I’ve had a blast and I’ve learned a ton along the way. Now that the main systems are in place (the LMS and virtual classroom tools), most of my time is focused on designing and developing courses. And, as the number of courses grows and grows, it is becoming trickier to manage. An avalanche of requested courses has started and I’m in the process of re-evaluating the tools I use to manage my workload. As always, I see this blog as a place for me to share my experiences and to help me reflect on my own methods. It’s funny – once you write something down you sometimes say, “Well, why the heck am I doing it that way?”

I currently use the following:

  • Microsoft Project for tracking complex projects (ex. curriculums consisting of multiple courses)
  • A Microsoft Word template for storyboards
  • A Microsoft Excel document to track and prioritize requested courses
  • A Notepad document for tracking bugs/issues that pop up
  • A Notepad document for tracking a wish list/feature requests
  • My development tools (Dreamweaver, Flash, Captivate, Fireworks, Adobe Connect, etc.)

The information is more scattered that I would like, there isn’t an easy way to back-up all of this information, and I’m pretty sure this won’t scale well over time. Is there a killer app available to help eLearning folks like us track all of this stuff? Or do I need to build one? ๐Ÿ™‚

How do you manage your eLearning design and development process? What tools do you use?



1. Brent Schlenker - August 23, 2007

Hi BJ! What a GREAT post! You’ll be happy to know that we are asking the same questions and the Guild will be releasing a report on the topic of Development Tools. It is in the pipeline as I write this. Nice job.

2. Cammy Bean - August 23, 2007

* I begrudgingly use MS Project, but only when I have to.
* MS Word for storyboards.
* PowerPoint for storyboards sometimes, too. I’m not a developer, so I might use PPT to create a “wireframe”.
* Sometimes Visio for doing a flow chart.
* BugTracker by FogBugz for recording bugs and wish list/feature requests. We adopted this about 6 months and love it. Sends automatic updates via email to assigned people.
* Starting to experiment with wikis as a way to manage and track project information.

I’ve seen some examples of authoring tools trying to build in all the workflow right in there. Not sure you can do both well in the same application. Nor would you want to, in my opinion…..

3. Manish - August 27, 2007

This is a great post. I guess the MS applications are the most commonly used. But now people are also trying to experiment with web-based applications.

We also used MS Sharepoint Server for one e-learning project. It’s a great tool that takes care of most of the collaboration, task management, scheduling, document management, etc.

An alternative project management tool could be the online application, Backpackit. Great when the team is spreadout across multiple locations.


4. Hannah - October 1, 2007

Nice post. I’m about to start a job as a Project Manager at a specialist e-learning company. Do you use any particular project methodolgy?



5. B.J. Schone - October 3, 2007

Hi Hannah,

I’d love to say that I have a smooth, slick project methodology that I stick to, but I don’t. I try to lean toward the typical ADDIE model, but that usually goes haywire on the second or third day of the project. Here’s why: I often work on projects that have either already begun, or I may not have an active role in developing the content and/or interactions. Sometimes storyboards are given to me, and I either don’t have the authority (or time!) to provide as much input as I’d like. This is terrible, I know. But things have already started to change, and I feel like I’m getting everything back on track. I will certainly get a more defined process in place. I’m definitely learning along the way, and so are our subject matter experts.

I’d be curious to hear about your experience. And any wisdom you could provide would be greatly appreciated!

6. Hannah - October 4, 2007

Thanks for the reply ๐Ÿ™‚

Wow, I bet it’s difficult for you having to start working on projects at various stages! I guess I’ll have to do the same at my new place of work next week so I’ll let you know how that goes.

I’m a PRINCE2 Practitioner but I’ve recently done a lot of reading on agile methodolgies and was hoping to incorporate some of the ideas into the way I run projects. PRINCE2 (or Waterfall methods) and Agile are often presented as complete opposites but I think there are a lot valuable lessons to be taken from both schools of thought.

Let me know how you get on with putting a more defined process in place as it’s nice to hear about other people’s experiences.

I started a blog last week to record my thoughts on project management just like you have – http://imaprojectmanager.blogspot.com/

7. kpfish - April 15, 2008

Great Post!
One tool I have used and absolutely Love is SharePoint. I have three different SharePoint sites I use. One is for a very large training project that allows internet access to the site with logins and security. The client loves it because we can post a calendar of the online training sessions and all the information the students need in one place. We also have secure areas where our staff can upload and manage materials as well as a secure area for the client to login and track and manage the training project. to host a SharePoint site is very reasonable, about $30-40 a month.

8. S - June 24, 2008

kpfish –
Would you be willing to disclose which vendor you use for SharePoint. We are using a vendor now and their sever is extremely slow which has cause some issues with transferring information.



9. Marty Froescher - July 30, 2008

kpfish- Where, who is hosting and did you develop the custom sharepoint template? I have a similar proect and would love to learn a bit more about what you did.

10. Robert J Collins - September 25, 2008

Where did you find the 100+ off the shelf sources? I have been looking for resources to obtain/purchase various off the shelf pre-built SCORM courses.

You can post a replay here or email me through our corporate contact us form, just note that the message is for me and I will get it: http://www.brisingergroup.com/ContactForm/tabid/61/Default.aspx

Thank you,

Robert J Collins
President, Brisinger Group, Inc.

11. B.J. Schone - September 25, 2008

Hi Robert,

We purchased the courses through MindLeaders (http://www.MindLeaders.com). I was very pleased with their selection and service.


12. David Becker - January 5, 2011

Hi there, I just wrote a guest blog about this very subject. You can check it out here: http://www.articulate.com/blog/elearning-storyboarding-101/

I hope its of value and adds to the subject area. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: