Rapid e-learning: is it really the Emperor’s new clothes?

“It is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, and certainly not desirable, as one’s hat keeps blowing off.” -Woody Allen

The buzz word in Learning and Development during 2008 has undoubtedly been Rapid Development. Numerous tools have established themselves in the market and various consultancies now specialise in building e-learning at the speed of light. I’m a big believer in empowering users and prefer to do things myself when I can. I also believe that many of our clients have benefited from having content development tools in house.

The question I ask, however, is ‘can this approach deliver the same benefit faster or cheaper than commissioning a bespoke development’? The reality is that the software development part of any e-learning project takes a lot less time than designing the product and writing the content. As many of you know, developing content for e-learning presents a number of challenges, including getting sign off from the Subject Matter Expert. None of this can be turbo charged using content development tools.

So my advice, if you are embarking on this road, is caveat emptor – be very clear about what parts of the process you are trying to speed up and the reality of what is involved. If your SME takes ten days to review content, Articulate won’t help. Without this thinking, your authoring tool will be just another piece of software that promised so much and delivered so little.