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Why you should be creating your e-learning content in-house and how to do it effectively
Aug 24, 2021
45 minutes
Tessa Razafindrakoto
Senior Onboarding Specialist
Meghan Deere
Senior Customer Success Manager

Meghan 2:06 — Alright, well, I don’t see the numbers growing too quickly. So, I think that means that everyone that wanted to join at the very beginning is here. So, I will just go ahead and get started. So hello, and welcome to today’s webinar. Also, as I mentioned, those of you joining via LinkedIn Live.  

 

Today we’re going to be discussing why you should be creating your e-learning content in-house and how to do it effectively. It is hosted today by myself, Meghan, one of the customer success managers here at Easygenerator and one of our onboarding specialists, Tessa. Before we dive into the content, I just wanted to touch on a few housekeeping items. So, this session is being recorded, and you will receive the recording as well as a few resources after the webinar. As we go through, there is a chat as you can see in the Zoom. So, yeah, you can use that to kind of connect with some of the other attendees in the webinar. However, if you do have any questions, we’ll be monitoring the Q&A portion of the Zoom. So, any questions at all You can submit those through the Q&A. And Tessa will either respond back via chat and monitor that as we go through. Or at the end, we can address any that are live. So yeah, so let us get started. There we go.  

 

So, a question that we see a lot of for Learning & Development teams today is having to answer how can you create learning content that justifies both the time and the money investments needed? Outsourcing content creation oftentimes pops up as the best solution initially, as it seems, perhaps the easiest, or the quickest way to do so. However, that’s not actually true. So today we’ll explore a bit of why that is and what the best solution would be instead.  

 

Cost, speed and maintenance

So, let’s first look at just creation of e-learning in general. So, the costs of creating e-learning is it speed and cost. So, looking at the initial speed and cost of creating an e-learning is research done by Karl Kapp and Robyn Defelice shows that it can take between 90 and 240 hours to create just one hour of e-learning material. And in 2019 RacoonGang, which is an online learning solutions provider reported that the average cost of creating one hour of e-learning can range anywhere from $8,800 to over $28,000. And this is also the average just for one hour of training. So, think of what those numbers could mean if you look at the training needs in your own organizations. So, across different regions, different departments, across multiple years, etc. It can add fairly quickly to say the least.  

 

However, if you look at just the speed and cost of creating one e-learning, that is actually only half the story. E-learning costs do not go away once a course has been initially published. So, to keep up with a rapidly changing world, and fast-paced business changes, it’s necessary to continue updating learning content. So, the maintenance side of content creation can expand on those time and financial costs exponentially. I know we’ve all been prone to unexpected changes over the last year. So, think of what that long-term maintenance might look like for the content you’re creating today, in the next year, in the next two years, in the next five years. Also probably going to quickly add up. 

 

Challenges of the L&D department

So, what factors then are Learning & Development teams having to consider in making the decisions on where to invest its resources. So, when it comes to training, there are several different considerations and challenges teams need to face, we can sum up at least the majority of these as shown by the list here. So, the first one is essentially fulfilling the organizational needs in the business. So quite a heavy undertaking for such a short phrase.  

 

This can consist of anything from onboarding new employees, refresher trainings for those employees, new product or tool training for their sales or support teams to make sure that they then know how to sell or support your customers, really, essentially ensuring that any type of knowledge gap in the business is taken care of. So, this could be quite a long list, of course. 

  

Meghan 6:40 — And so once they’ve actually discovered what those needs are, they also need to figure out how to scale those efforts globally. So, in today’s day and age, teams are most often distributed across the globe or across different regions, remote work is on the rise, or perhaps is the new normal as it kind of feels right now. And scaling the support of employees as your team and companies grow is essential. So how do you ensure what is accessible for one person is accessible for all, no matter the number of people it needs to reach or the geographical location these trainings need to reach.  

 

Teams also need to make sure that they are fast and agile in updating the training content. This is due to the changes in business, technology, rules and regulations. So those responsible for training need to quickly get out new knowledge before it becomes old knowledge, all while keeping in mind internal deadlines, strategies, etc.  

 

And last but not least, there are, of course, budgets to keep in mind. So, doing all of this while being cost effective is probably the most important part, or at least probably what your stakeholders would say, right? 

 

One way to create training content

So, when there’s a high demand for training, content and limited internal resources, many organizations turn to external content creators as a solution. So, while this could be an effective short-term solution, the question of whether this is both a sustainable — or a scalable — option comes to mind. So why might it initially seemed like a good idea and what downsides are there then to these as well. So, let’s dive in a bit further.  

 

So, one of the first reasons to potentially choose an external vendor for content creation is that they are the experts in content creation. They are trained, they have the history, they have probably all the nice tools to use. So, they’re really the experts in the field of course creation. However, they are not the experts of your business. The image on the right shows the indirect process of utilizing an external vendor within the course creation process. So, a vendor will work with the Learning & Development team to extract the information from the business, to then create the material, oftentimes needing to go back to the business for approvals, revisions, etc. before publishing that content, finally, for the business to consume. Itt’s quite an indirect process. And then a lot of circumstances once the content is finally published and ready to be consumed, it’s probably outdated already.  

 

However, using vendors could also mean a faster turnaround time, because of course, delegating creation to an outside source might seem like the fastest option, you know, giving it to someone else. However, the indirect process I just described, and the continuous maintenance of content, can have a lot of hidden roadblocks and getting that content created and created correctly.  

 

So of course, when you are using those external experts, they are creating a really high level of content. So highly interactive courses created by these professionals can include, you know, very nice videos, different situational questions, etc. that really ensures a high and engaging, interesting course for learners to take. But is that effort always necessary?  

 

Think about if anytime something changes would it make sense to spend the time and the resources to re-shoot an entire video, for example, or go through and recreate an entire course? I would say no.  

 

Sometimes, of course creation, good is good enough. And if something can be updated as quickly as the change occurs, this is oftentimes best in the long run. If the wrong information is served in a beautiful package, then how effective is it, really?  

 

And then finally, you can imagine that when you’re using an outside vendor, they will have the latest technology available to them to produce e-learning content. This can then save money for your team as you wouldn’t need to have the budget to invest in those instructional design tools. However, on the other hand, you’re then at the mercy of the external vendor with new courses or when the maintenance of courses is needed. And so, by instead creating content in-house, you then have the full oversight into all expenses and did not need to worry about the hidden creation or maintenance — or time — costs. 

 

Why you should create in-house

Meghan 11:19 — So, while we have discussed some of the reasons and potential downsides of creating content, utilizing external providers, let’s now zoom into how and why in-house creation would be a better approach.  

 

First, it provides a better oversight into the content processes and control of the budget. So, an in-house Learning & Development team has a better understanding of the organizational needs and limitations that any external partner would. That would directly translate into awareness about timelines, business priorities, budgets, and where to maybe add a bit more out a bit less, and the processes among other things. And while you would need to invest in your own software development tool, you would have then full control and oversight into the budget without any of those hidden costs that I mentioned previously.  

 

Secondly, your training needs can be fulfilled by the experts themselves. Because not all trainees are best fulfilled by formally-created courses. Sometimes a quick checklist or a step-by-step guide can provide employees with the needed information. This can easily be fulfilled by someone in-house with the knowledge themselves as opposed to the roundabout creation process, I mentioned previously. Content can also be developed faster with different easy-to-use tools. So, by equipping your in-house team with easy-to-use content creation tools, the entire development cycle time is reduced. These tools are generally intuitive to enable teams outside of the central Learning & Development team to also generate interactive content for every learning need easily and without extensive prior training.  

 

And then when that content is created in-house, it also then more easily and more quickly is able to be kept up as well. Changes and updates are part of the content cycle. So, when you’re working with an in-house team, these updates can often be done instantaneously and without the back-and-forth requests, revisions, approvals, etc. needed with external providers. A change request could also sit in the backlog of an external agency because you might not be there only or main customer. So internal maintenance saves a lot of time and effort and perhaps potential headaches as well, making it a simpler process to keep content up to date.  

 

And finally, when you’re creating in-house, you’re guaranteed enhanced security and data confidentiality. I think this is something that’s a bit of a hot topic these days because data confidentiality is a non-negotiable reason to develop content in-house. Simply being able to focus on content creation without taking any additional measures to maintain external security and confidentiality is a huge win.  

Intro to Employee-generated learning

So, here at Easygenerator, we want to change the way organizations look at creating content in-house. If you are looking at doing this or are already doing it fully in-house. This doesn’t mean it always has to go through the central Learning & Development Department. There are other options.  

 

So, our solution is a bottom-up learning approach called Employee-Generated Learning (EGL). With Employee-Generated Learning any employee whether they are a trainer, a subject matter expert, or a Learning & Development expert or a specialist can create and share specific knowledge within the organization quickly and easily.  

 

So, instead of working with external providers, or depending fully on the Learning & Development Department to create all content centrally, employees can serve their fellow colleagues by creating content themselves. This can speed up the circulation of content intent within the organization and save both time and money. So, this image shows the more logical way of content creation by keeping knowledge in the business with Employee-Generated Learning. The Learning & Development team then provides the necessary infrastructure and guidance to enable employees throughout the content sharing process. Content then easily flows between the creator and the learner in the business as opposed to taking the unnecessary steps as described before in the more indirect process.  

 

To dive in a bit deeper, here’s how a lot of organizations view including Employee-Generated Learning in their overall content creation strategy, and how it can help fulfill all learning and training requests. This image shows an example of the long tail of learning needs across the business. On the left are the fewer-in-number — however, far more reaching — needs that impact the whole or the majority of the business. You can view these as mandatory trainings, business strategies, business priorities, etc. Now, these needs are typically best created centrally via the Learning & Development team, as it makes sense to invest the team’s resources in these larger impact trainings. 

 

Meghan 16:15 — On the right side, in the darker orange color are the more numerous, however smaller, reaching needs. These needs might be only regionally or departmentally relevant. And while still important to those areas of the business, they don’t justify the same investment of resources on the smaller scale. This is where we see employee-generated content coming into play, being able to create a balance between the creation and the allocation of resources while still satisfying all requests and getting the content needed out to the learners.  

 

So again, the Learning & Development department still plays a vital role in the learning and training across the business. However, having more time to not only pick up on it’s more strategic projects, but it also enables employees and establishes a learning sharing culture at the same time. So, kind of a win-win. Here, we just want to highlight that Easygenerator makes it easy to get started with Employee-Generated Learning. We can show how easy it is to create content and that anyone can do it.  

 

So, for that, I’ll hand it over to Tessa, one of our onboarding specialists, to give a brief demonstration of how the tool works. 

  

Tessa 17:27 — Perfect. Thanks, Meghan. So, I will take over from here indeed. So let me just quickly share my screen here. So indeed, if you do want to have subject matter experts sharing their knowledge within the business, from the business to the business, let’s say, then they do, of course, need an easy tool to use as they are not — perhaps they’re not — instructional designers themselves.  

 

Now, Easygenerator, of course, is also created for subject matter experts. So the tool is relatively intuitive, easy to use. So I just want to give you a short demonstration of what that process would actually look like for subject matter experts if they’re to create e-learning and share the knowledge themselves. So hopefully, you’re able to see my screen now as well. Just want to show you quickly how that would really look like.  

 

Essentially, Easygenerator is created sort of as a plug-and-play, drag-and-drop kind of interface. So, as you can see here, subject matter experts can just go ahead and start creating through drag-and-drop. So not much training there needed. Maybe before I show you, I can show you actually what an e-learning course looks like just to give some context. Typically, the structure looks something like this: title, introduction, and sections. And then in each section, you kind of have the learning material split up into different parts: learning objectives, content, and then also questions to keep things interesting, to allow for self-assessment, and also, feedback as part of the process. So you really offer a personalized approach to learning.  

 

Now, that’s quite easy to create with the drag-and-drop structure. So essentially, subject matter experts would just go ahead and drag-and-drop a section. Consider including an icon or an image. Learning objectives are also great to include to keep learners motivated. This is something that they’re actually guided through, if they’re not familiar with how to add a learning objective. So by answering just a few questions, you can actually create a well constructed learning objective, even if it’s not something you’re used to doing. Maybe a subject matter expert who’s less involved in training typically can really benefit from this, creating a good learning objective, which can actually be challenging for all of us.  

 

After including learning objectives, you can then also start to share your knowledge, share your information, using content. And then of course, you can include questions for that testing aspect and also for the aspect of interactivity and self-assessments. Now what that looks like — and some of you, I know may already be familiar with this in terms of adding content — you’ve got all of the options here on the left. So of course, to share your knowledge, sometimes you can best do it with text. Other times, it’s more useful to do it using images and graphs. But also, having some variation in there is great. So including videos is possible also, documents, and even some interactive content.  

 

What that means is that you will start to create pages that look like this, for instance, as an example — text an image — or it can also include, for instance, a video and some extra information. All of that is done through drag-and-drop. So if you wanted to add an image, you would just drag an image in and select the one of your choice from your computer.  

 

Similarly, you can then include questions. It’s a similar process, essentially. It’s once again, just plug-and-play. So you could just ask your questions. So, for example, when was the company founded, and then you could include some answer options. I’m just going to add some dates here. For instance, you need to identify the correct one. And then you can also provide feedback and a hint.  

 

And once you’re busy creating, you can always click on the “Preview” to see what your e-learning course looks like. And this is especially useful for subject matter experts who may not be used to doing this. So, they can say, okay, this is the final product, this is what I’ve created. So, they can go through the pages they’ve built, and also the questions they’ve created. They can even test it out, see how the feedback is working. So, it allows them to create e-learning courses relatively quickly and easily. Another benefit, they don’t always have to do it by themselves. They have anyone within Easygenerator has the option to also work with other people, to work with other subject matter experts or even to work with, potentially, Learning & Development or instructional designers.  

 

So actually, you can collaborate, like you would share a word or a PowerPoint, for instance, with colleagues, you can do the same here. So, you can invite colleagues to join you. Subject matter experts can actually tap into the expertise of other colleagues so that they can build an e-learning course together. And also we do not leave them on their own. So, they can also always get in touch with us if they need at any moment any help in creating using Easygenerator. 

 

Essentially, then they would go through the other steps, ensuring that the branding is applied. So of course, the logo, the colors, everything that has to do with your company branding. It would configure their e-learning course. Potentially change the language of some of the buttons, if localization is important, and some other settings. And when they’re ready, they would go ahead and publish, either publishing really quickly through a link or — if you are using a Learning Management System (LMS) — they would publish through there.  

 

And then of course, it can be interesting to check reports and results to see how learners are doing. Are they successful in completing the e-learning course? It can also be interesting to check, hey, which are the topics are they? Which of the topics are they struggling more on? Which of the topics are they actually doing great at so you can potentially identify additional learning needs and that sort of stuff as well. So that’s just a short, sort of, demonstration; mini training, I would say on how easy it is to use Easygenerator.  

 

So, I think I can hand it back over to you, Meghan. I’m not sure if there are any questions. I should answer live regarding this. 

  

Meghan 23:46 — I do not believe so, no. Screen roulette a bit here, but perfect. And if all as well, you can see my PowerPoint again. Yes. Perfect. 

 

T-Mobile success story

So, thank you, Tessa for walking us through that. One additional point I wanted to make was to actually touch on a customer case of ours that has seen a lot of success with Employee-Generated Learning. So, with that I wanted to speak on our case study with T-Mobile. So, T-Mobile is of course a global telecommunication company. The Learning & Development department here in the Netherlands is responsible for offering company-wide training. In a very competitive market, having quality training on the latest and greatest products is key to remaining on top.  

 

So, because of budget cuts in the team, it meant that the Learning & Development department had to reassess how to allocate its learning resources across the business as the demand for training continued to rise. New products from partners were being launched rapidly and in order to stay on top it was imperative to get that information out there quickly. For Apple products, for example, specific features of new products aren’t released until the day they’re available for sale, which poses an even more interesting challenge to get the content out quickly and correctly to the sales teams on the floor.  

 

Non-trained staff essentially is a direct correlation on how the business performs. So, getting that new staff trained on the new features of those products is, again, very important. So, to find a way to scale training output while still maintaining quality, employee-generated content became the answer. It was discovered that even those authors without a background in e-learning could create engaging and interactive training material quickly and easily. The Learning & Development team then was able to shift from saying no to training requests to enabling those in the business to satisfy these needs themselves. 

 

And after just a year of using Easygenerator, 100% of the training requests were fulfilled with training being created 12 times faster than before. The amount of training now available within T-Mobile has increased five-fold and continues to expand today.  

 

Conclusion

So, in conclusion creating content in-house, utilizing both your Learning & Development team as well as employee-generated content, can ensure your content is delivered on time, within budget, and maintained properly. A few recommendations from our side on how to get started with creating in-house today is to first start small and identify learning gaps. Try to figure out first where there is untapped knowledge within the organization. And then work with those who have that knowledge to fill the gaps and have them capture and share it.  

 

Also give guidance to employees and provide them the right tools and the platforms to create, share and maintain the content. Easygenerator is such a tool that allows employees to do this on their own. So, subject matter experts throughout the business can also become the content creators. If you create a code development model to foster the collaboration between employees and the Learning & Development teams, you can satisfy all the training needs as I described in the graph previously.  

 

And finally, leverage feedback and analytics. If employee-generated content is new for your organization, it’s also important to take pulse checks to ensure success. You can encourage employee feedback and use this to continually improve on the content being created, as this feedback can be a goldmine to help provide the best, most relevant content and enhance future resources. So with that, we do have time for a few questions. So, I’m not sure if there’s anything tested that’s come through the Q&A, or if anyone has any questions now that we can answer — happy to. 

  

Tessa 27:57 — No, there are no outstanding questions. If anyone has questions, feel free to type them in. 

 

Meghan 28:10 — Perhaps in the meantime, I can also touch base as well that we have actually created a new online community on LinkedIn that you are able to join to kind of continue the exchanging of e-learning best practices. So, we can drop the link of that into the chat. I don’t know Tessa, have you done that already? Yes, very efficient. Perfect. So yes, this is a new group that we’ve created, as I mentioned. So, feel free to join that. 

 

Let’s see, I’m not sure I see any questions coming in that we should address. So yeah, I do want to thank everyone for joining today’s webinar. I also want to mention that coming up on September 14, we also have our next webinar, which will be a case study of how Nielsen successfully brought their content creation in-house with Employee-Generated Learning.  

 

It will be hosted by Louis Puddifoot, who is a former VP of Talent Development at Nielsen and will be sharing the story of how she you know did this effectively at Nielsen. We will also be sending the recording of today’s webinar as well as some documents that you can refer to if you are looking to start creating e-learning content in-house. If you would like to learn more about Easygenerator, feel free to reach out to us through our website or via the link that will be included in the follow-up email as well.  

 

So, thanks to everyone who joined us today and for those of you who have tuned in via LinkedIn Live, and we wish you all a great rest of your day and we’ll speak soon. 

  

Tessa 29:55 — Bye, everyone.