Often, we do things because we were used to do them. We simply don’t even think that we may do something in a totally different way. Before we face a problem. Then we realize that there are various ways to do it – faster, cheaper, better.
This is how we learn from our mistakes. And it would be very good if we do not run in the loop of repeating them.
This article contains 7 common problems that small companies do in their online training.
Do not use affordable cloud storage to keep their education content
It starts with your first own online platform. When you create a first e-learning course it looks nice and easy. You uploaded files directly to the educational platform and it worked well. But initially, you didn’t think about integration with cloud storage.
Now you have 100 courses and still store your content outside a cloud.
In this case you potentially, but not surely, might have the following problems:
- Duplicated content
- More expenses from storage services
Possible scenario. A company runs the E-Learning platform on its own server with 1TB of video, files, pictures and other educational materials on it. A backup process is set to make a daily snapshot. Each backup is stored for 14 days.
Let’s pretend we use AWS as a cloud hosting provider:
0.1USD per GB/month for SSD
0.05USD per GB/month for snapshots
The total amount of space used during a month:
1TB SSD + 14TB Snapshots
This 1TB will cost you around 800USD per month!
Now, let’s evaluate how much the same solution with Google Drive can cost:
1TB Google Drive – 10USD per month
100GB SSD Drive – 80USD per month
Instead of 800USD we now can spend just 90USD per month.
Helpful reading – Why do you need cloud storage?
No course versioning
While you work alone you can’t clearly see this problem. It happens only when there are many courses managed by a team. Someone did a change and tell no one about it, someone released a course to clients who weren’t ready yet… Does it sound familiar?
- Clients/students frustration
- Unregulated changes in courses
- Possible legislation problems (if applicable)
At the very beginning, version control is not a tool or a program. It’s how you think. A basic conception can be defined as the following:
Draft version => First working version => Second version => Approval => Final Test and Checks => Release
The course versioning problem is a side effect of a bigger problem. It usually comes from the disorganization of processes and operating procedures.
No standard operating procedures.
You have to define your sets of step-by-step guides for routine operations. It should comply with the internal rules of your company and legislation (if needed). Otherwise, at some point, you may understand that your business is too big for you to operate and you simply can’t handle it.
Each particular function should have detailed, written instructions for how to perform function correctly and comply with company standards.
Procedures will not guarantee good outcomes. Nevertheless, what they will
guarantee that you have a structured organization, mapped and covered processes, and motivating organizational culture.
Right people should be used in the right environment. And standard operating procedures will support that.
- Miscommunication between a team
- Repeating errors
- The risk to lose unique experience when employee quit
Benefits of having SOPs:
- Consistency. Less chance to get coherence problems
- Simpler to transfer activity from a person to another.
- Fewer errors. A written set of instructions minimize the chance of getting an error while performing a task.
- Simpler to communicate the process changes to employees.
No attention to roles and responsibilities.
Occasionally owners and managers underestimate the value of defining roles and responsibilities in e-learning. Whereas employees wear different hats, doing jobs they shouldn’t do, e-learning and business, in general, are facing great confusion.
Roles, responsibility and especially leadership responsibilities must be properly defined.
Clearly determining expectations can only make a good impact. It can’t guaranty you the best execution of a task. However, how the task even can be done when you don’t understand expectations?
You have to specify who should grade, create content, manage students, do administration, etc.
Possible problems of weak attention to roles and responsibilities:
- People do things they shouldn’t do (problem with courses, enrolments, permissions, etc.)
Benefits of having defined roles and responsibilities:
- Everyone understands what to do.
- Employees work in teams better when they know their roles.
- Less time is wasted for non-important things. (Everyone does just what they supposed to do)
Using LMS or learning tools which don’t fit the situation and learning needs
You have to clearly know how exactly your e-learning will be used. Without this understanding, you have a high risk to pick LMS or e-learning provider you don’t need.
- Overpayments for features you don’t use
- Outcomes aren’t like expected
- Time waste
How to choose LMS that fits your needs?
This can be a title for a whole new post, but in a simple word, you need to understand some few basic things:
E-learning is not a traditional training!
You simply can’t convert a standard classroom-based material to e-learning. If you would make a PowerPoint presentation, put it into your course and will try to pretend that it may work, you’ll fail, it won’t.
E-Learning is not a one-time investment!
Your platform is not something you can do once and forget, it needs to be proactively managed. Who and how will manage your e-learning system? The answer to this question will make a difference.
Sometimes LMS can’t be managed as a side project!
You need to be involved in the project and understand the best practices, trends, and training concepts. Without this, it’s nearly impossible to manage e-learning. So, if you want to invest resources into eLearning, it needs to be done correctly by professionals.
See also: 10 Open Source LMS you may like in 2019
Re-inventing a weel: custom features.
With custom features, you simply can run out of your budget. More often than not business underestimate the costs of custom features and do not understand the importance of maintenance.
Re-use is a good option to start. Communities already invented things you just have never think about. The same problems and the same situations were solved by other people, in many cases, you can learn from their experience paying a smaller price compared to the costs you can spend for solving the same problem by yourself.
If you decided to add a custom feature to your e-learning, read this first:
- Did you search for a similar problem with an existing solution? If not, then try to!
- Do you understand that each custom feature you need to maintain forever? Software evolves very fast, you need to stay updated to be relevant on the market (at least for security reasons). And each time you need to check if custom features still approach the task correctly.
Failure to understand your own past mistakes.
If you can’t learn from your past mistakes, you will do them again. A lot of times I see how people repeating the same situations once and again. It’s a sign that something is wrong. It might be complex to get it done right from the very beginning, but you should try at least do not repeat it.
Thanks for your attention! If you’ve liked this post, feel free to post a comment or write me directly through the website’s contact form! I will be glad to help you and answer your question!