OK. If you are a director of training or you are in charge of any aspect of onsite courses for your association, you know your game. You have developed your skills to make the best training for your organization, and they are pretty happy with the program. It has brought revenue to the group and has become one of the main products. Not only that, you have built a reputable brand that is recognized in your professional area. That is good news to you.
But wait, during the last year you have been following a steady decrease of revenue on the training products, not only that, all the products seem to be catching the same disease, enrollments are dwindling and you are called into a meeting with the association officers to see what is going on. But you already know the answer. There are competitors out there, they have not been serious competitors to your program because they were mainly small-sized companies and their customer reach was very limited. But now they have a new weapon in their arsenal: elearning. Because the internet has democratized access to information, and effectively anyone can build an elearning program on the cheap, they are reaching more customers, many of whom were your customers in the past. A perfect storm has gathered that is threatening your program: competitors offering a more affordable elearning solution, customers making every dime count and who are cutting corners in order to save money on training (which is one of the first items in the budget to get slashed when times get tough), and the fact that your organization has been slow in getting on board with an elearning solution to compete and broaden your product base.
So you exit the meeting with the task of building an elearning program to catch up with the competition. You have years of experience designing onsite courses, this question might pop up in your head: “Am I qualified to supervise the production of elearning courses?” Chances are you feel that creating elearning is a daunting task, that there are so many technology options out there that you just don’t know which one is the best for your case. The first action you need to take is working on a plan (I talked about that in a previous post) because you need to make decisions to move forward. Should you get training on elearning? Should you hire somebody that has the experience? It clearly depends on the timeframe your directors gave you to have the program up and running.
Now, here is the last thing you should be doing: jumping in and doing it yourself, thinking that you will pick up the required skills along the way, or that you can do it after reading your first elearning book. I am sure you will be able to produce something, but I sincerely doubt it will be able to compete with what is already out there. You don't need to add to your problems the embarrassment of creating an ineffective program and dragging your association’s name into the mud, damaging the brand just because you needed something out the door as soon as possible to keep your directors happy.