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How to Start Your Own eLearning Program

It May Be Time to Get on the eLearning Curve

According to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) 2011 State of the Industry Report, money spent by organizations on learning and development of their employees increased by 13.5% last year. In the U.S. alone, more than $68.5 billion was allocated to external training providers.

It May Be Time to Get on the eLearning Curve

According to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) 2011 State of the Industry Report, money spent by organizations on learning and development of their employees increased by 13.5% last year. In the U.S. alone, more than $68.5 billion was allocated to external training providers.

So there is no doubt that eLearning has arrived. A SIPA webinar on the topic delivered last week by Jonathan Ray, associate publisher for Access Intelligence, and Bradden Blair, dean of education for Access’s Contexo University, revealed the details of the sprawling program that Access has enjoyed tremendous success with. They got into the business because:
1. much of the live training event business has transitioned online;
2. the ability to meet a demand with a limited budget;
3. timeliness;
4. high-margin growth opportunity.

Meanwhile, and on a much larger scale, organizations like TED-Ed and Khan Academy fuel the growing trend of free online education. “60 Minutes” featured the Khan Academy in a recent segment. It began: “35-year-old Sal Khan may look like a bicycle messenger, but with three degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard, his errand is intensely intellectual. In his tiny office above a tea shop in Silicon Valley, he settles in to do what he’s done thousands of times before. ‘We’ve talked a lot now about the demand curve and consumer surplus. Now let’s think about the supply curve.’ He’s recording a 10-minute economics lesson. It’s so simple – all you hear is his voice and all you see is his colorful sketches on a digital blackboard.”

Bill Gates calls Khan a “teacher to the world” and says he is giving us all a glimpse of the future of education. In just a couple of years, Khan has gone from having a few hundred pupils to more than four million every month. TED’s vast library of free video talks maintains about 1,100 videos and has been viewed more than 700 million times since 2006. From a recent article in The Washington Post: TED-Ed project director Logan Smalley “points to the example of Hans Rosling, a Swedish expert in global health. Rosling estimates that in 40 years of lecturing and writing, his work reached about a million people. But Rosling has given eight TED talks over the past four years, which have been viewed about 6 million times, Smalley said.”

So that’s the why of eLearning. The how, of course, is more involved and takes money—Khan Academy is backed by Internet giants and TED-Ed is a nonprofit with deep pockets—but as Access mentioned above, not a fortune. They said that a speaker will receive between $1500 and $3500 for a full day’s recording of a session—but then that session can be marketed for a long while in many packages. And there are “no unknown variables so we don’t run up a big consulting tab,” Ray said.

Although Khan Academy and TED-Ed are free, Access’s Contexo—with its 1,600 annual students and live and virtual annual conference—is showing that people will pay for the learning they need (as does the $68.5 billion that I mentioned above). The Access presenters also went into how you get started, with what they call the ADDIE model:
– Analysis
– Design
– Development
– Implementation
– Evaluation

Amidst this section, they asked what may be the most important question: What perpetuates the need for training?
– Monitor associations for industry standard changes;
– Markets with continuing education requirements
a. Offering Continuing Education Credits (CEs)
b. Differentiation via Accreditation
– Survey your audience;
– Look to your competition;
– Create niche product offerings that differentiate (eLearning technology is not enough)

As for what you will need, Blair listed: Presentation Authoring Software (MS PPT); an eLearning authoring tool; Audio/video recording equipment—he suggests an Olympus LS-10 Linear PCM Recorder ($199), an Olympus ME15 Lapel Microphone ($23) and an 8GB Class 6 SD-HC Card—and a setting with good acoustics. That’s why recording a speaker in a studio may work better than recording him or her at a conference.

There’s much more to be learned about eLearning on the SIPA Webinar recording and transcript. The SIPA Webinars are quickly becoming one of our most valuable member benefits. Next month’s topic will be renewals.


Tune in tomorrow for another benefit:
SIPA’s Weekly Twitter Chat
The subject: Paywalls

Please join us, share your knowledge
and learn from others who practice it.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 12 p.m. EST
using the hashtag #NicheInfo.

If you don’t already have a Twitter chat client,
we recommend
Once you are on their site, simply
log in through your Twitter account;
type in the hashtag #NicheInfo, and you’re set!
See you tomorrow on Twitter!

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By Ronn Levine

Ronn is the current managing editor for the Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA), Ronn Levine has spent 25 years in the publishing and association world, winning numerous writing and publications awards, and even a couple Super Bowl rings. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America, working half that time in the NAA Foundation and Diversity department. His diversity newsletter, People & Product, won six Society of National Association Publications (SNAP) EXCEL Awards, including a gold for General Excellence in 2005. In 2002, he moved into NAA’s newly formed Creative Services department where he wrote, edited and managed products across the entire association, winning four more EXCEL awards for his work—including a gold for a national section on movies. Prior to NAA, Ronn broke into the association world as director of publications for Association Management Group, managing a department that published numerous magazines, newsletters and brochures. He began his career as a sports reporter for The Washington Post, moving on to become a writer for the Washington Redskins football team. During a run of three Super Bowls in six years, Ronn worked in the public relations department, putting together the game programs, press guides and yearbooks, and writing a daily radio show for future Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.

Ronn has also enjoyed an active freelance career, writing numerous arts and entertainment pieces for The Washington Post, covering film festivals, contributing to Science Magazine and serving as an editor/notetaker for several federal grant reviews. He also stays very active in the Washington, D.C. community serving as: a longtime site coordinator for The Reading Connection, an organization that provides “readalouds” and books for children in shelters and low-income housing; president of a local cycling club; writer for the DC Film Society; a leader of Art Gallery Walks in the area; and the host of a popular cultural blog.

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