Tuesday, February 19, 2008

e-Learning Maturity in Indian Companies

My current project management is to execute e-Learning projects for couple of big Indian Automotive companies.

It amazes me to see the amount of maturity my client friends have displayed in the roll out and strategic use of e-Learning.

Consider the case:
1. The end audience is least savvy with computers.
2. Education background is mandatory but varies from school to basic degrees.
3. Their bread and butter work do not need computers nor do they require e-Learning.
4. There is no mandatory statuary provision to use the programs created in the day to day work and yet to realize the investment and time savings.

So what did we do that seems to work for my customers:
1. Passive Learning - Click on "BOLD" buttons which cant do anything else. Sit back, relax and view the animation.

2. Active Assessment - A drastically different approach for my other client requires users to spend active 10 minutes answering set of questions with increasing complexity levels. The Key: Marry the traditional study method in Indian college life of using question bank at last minute and allow to immediately take the exam.

3. No SCORM - but principles equally apply. Chunk into smaller units (maximum is 5 minutes continous running) and would be 5% of total modules developed.

4. Simplicity - Cannot stress this enough. Creating a simple solution that works is more tough that creating a solution to prove the prowess of creating a technology with snazzy front ends and best programming practice backends. No doubt they are required, but ultimately the projectStand must be reached in the time the usage would hit the peak.

In the words of one of my client's senior management executive - "Why did you take so much time to build this simple solution." I felt vindicated and never felt it as a critique.

So what did my customers do to make it work for them:
1. Motivation Models - Both my clients share a common bond in creating their own motivation models in their own true styles.

In Active learning project, the motivation is in-built in the system to score more than 90% in less than 5 minutes and to receive a soft copy certification with optional print out signed by the client company authority. A first attempt, score and certificate urges them to come back. But this time around, pleasantly the questions change making them read and score better. What a strategy to ensure dissemination of product knowledge.

In Passive learning project, having it as a tool for their IT roll out and directing queries to the e-Learning application drives users to use it more and more frequently for tasks that they need help. (Remember, 5 minute duration lessons) A strategic just in time tool appropriate for the role.

The commonality - Both my client deploy the program on their portal letting more than 1500 combined outlets access what we develop.

2. Care for the Vendors: As a vendor, there are so many times when we feel the squeeze from both sides - Control scope, efforts. Keep the "Wow" factor afloat for repeat business. The sweet hospitality whenever I visit their premises, the care of asking for features and the feasibility, the big heart of accepting an undocumented or unplanned feature or a change from original design always worked wonders in delivering a product which has our passion, commitment and best wishes for success.

3. Short Steps but Long term Work - The order value of my projects might be relatively small but the power of cumulative orders makes it a viable win-win. The projects are short and a commitment towards continuing in the direction learning along the way is a big recipe of success that can be exported from Indian shores.

It is personally satisfying to see me working for the success of India's most successful companies succeed in the new age learning medium.

My "project matters" to my clients and is now being exported which made me start work on Wednesday morning @ 11 AM and went home Thursday night 11:00PM

Would you want to share your best case e-Learning work for an Indian company ?

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