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Seb Anthony

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Has anyone recently implemented an e-learning solution?


I am currently heading up a project to implement e-learning in my organisation. I have conducted a feasibility study using questionnaires and have exhasutively researched the marketplace. We already utilise a new system that has 80% LMS functionality, therefore a cut down LMS is an option. We have over 1,000 potential users and I have recently discovered that our IT infrastructure is at capacity and will need an upgrade in order to host an effective e-learning solution.

Does anyone have recent experience of implementing an e-learning solution in a similar sized organisation? If so, what should I consider in terms of potential bandwidth, server space etc What are the likely costs of such upgrades?
Stephen Picton

5 Responses

  1. That’s a very big question!

    You have asked for a lot there! Some guidance:

    1. If your IT capacity is at max then consider an outsourced solution. To do this you will need to consider IT policiy & procedures as well as Data Protection / Ownership issues.

    2. Costs – How long is a piece of string? Seriously, you could spend between nothing (for moodle) and probably £100k. Most sound products are between 10k – 30k from research. These will be enterprise systems (i.e. no user costs) and will be SCORM / AICC conformant.

    3. Server Space / Bandwidth – This depends on how often your users are going to be using the system and what they are accessing. If you plan to use video then both figures go up dramatically. There are things you can do to improve these parameters including the use of server farms – where your single site is hosted on 4 or more servers – in effect you have 4 LMS’s working as one.

    4. Users – The important user figure isn’t how many you have but how many you expect to use the system at the same time (concurrent users). This will vary depending on how the system is used. If you have a strong reporting requirement (see next point) then the concurrent users figure will drop because the database is in constant use.

    Other things to consider:

    5. Reporting – how good do you need the reporting mechanics to be? Reporting is a key benefit sold with LMS yet in my experience many LMS reporting mechanisms are very poor. Ask how people will see the reports – in my experience asking a manager to log on to run reports isn’t going to happen – it also affects the system efficiency. Much better to have the system use a dashboard approach where the manager can say what information she needs, when – and deliver it to her inbox.

    6. Authoring – where is the content going to come from? Do you have courses already? Are you buying then in? Do you need to create them? – Consider how they are to interact with the LMS – do you need SCORM conformance?

    7. Administration – How is the system going to be managed? You say you have a system in place – do the two need to talk with one another? If so how is this going to happen? Do you need self registration – where either the individual or manager enrols on the course themselves?

    8. Don’t get suckered by gadgets & ‘new ways of learning’. Many LMS’s have integrated forums, m-Learning, Podcasts, Blogs and a whole host of new technologies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. All of these technologies are valuable but only if you need them. Don’t buy them if you aren’t going to use them immediately. Unless you have the most forward thinking learning organisation and culture they are unlikely to be used.

    If I haven’t put you off totally and you wish to obtain further information, including cost indications then feel free to contact me. Good luck.


  2. Implementing e-learning
    Speaking as a provider of e-learning, it’s nice to see someone asking the questions before jumping in.

    I agree with what Paul has said but would add a few points based on my experience of clients implementing e-learning. Don’t think I’m trying to teach you to suck eggs, these are all client problems I’ve encountered in the past; and it’s better to think about them up front. I’d really like it, and be impressed, if you can say that you’ve thought about all of them.

    First I must re-iterate Paul’s point about infrastructure: it really is that important. How much you need will depend on what you want; currently I’m writing training that includes video and high quality audio, but at the same time I’m also doing a low-bandwidth version of the same programme for delivery over a 56k modem incorporating photos and low-quality audio. Clearly this has an impact on Paul’s second point – cost.

    I would also query the driver that has brought you to be, “heading up a project to implement e-learning”. Why is that? Because e-learning has been identified as the most appropriate solution to the training need? I’m often heard to say, “If e-learning was the answer, then what in heavens name was the question?” I’m not really questioning you wanting to go into e-learning, I just want you to be sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons and that it is the right solution.

    What training are you going to be delivering by e-learning? Is this training that is currently delivered in another format, or is it new training? Either way, to get the best out of your e-learning, have you got clearly identified training objectives?

    If you are going to ‘buy in’ bespoke e-learning from a provider, do you realise that of the 100% effort in the project the client contributes some 30% of the effort? Have you identified where the content is going to come from? Have you identified the subject matter experts (SME) to support the supplier’s training designers? Or do you expect the supplier to bring SME expertise as part of their package? It doesn’t matter which way you do it, but it will if you haven’t identified these resources before the project starts.

    My best advice would be to get several suppliers in to talk to you, but make sure you ask them to bring a training designer with them, not just a sales person. It’s free and you’ve got nothing to loose, in fact I think you’ll be amazed at what you learn from the experience.

  3. e-learning implementation
    And I agree with Paul and Howard’s comments!

    I work for Electrovision – providers of eLearning materials. We work as part of our client’s eLearning implementation team, and have done so for the past 18 years, through CBT, TBT and now eLearning. We’ve produced an eLearning implementation paper, based upon both our clients and our experience over the 18 years. I’d be delighted to provide you with a copy.

  4. Implementing e-learning

    Well a resounding and disconcerting silence from the people you really wanted to hear from.

    I hope that those e-learning providers who replied have given you food for thought.

    Good luck,


  5. Quality eLearning Sensibly Priced
    Hi Peter

    I also agree that paul’s & howard’s comments/advice are very useful. Nevertheless i could imagine you might now have more questions than answers to the original ones you asked.
    I work for Course-Source Ltd. We are a provider of hosted eLearning portals, with the widest range of UK developed eLearning courses from all the leading providers. We also enable access to courses from the leading US providers and you can even host any other courses you might develop or purchase from third parties in our system.
    The portals can be customised to your own in-house intranet/extranet style, and include flexible LMS functionality, which can complement and link to existing systems.
    As hosts we manage the infrastructure and you access the system as either learners or managers via your browser and a secure internet connection. This takes your problem of upgrading your IT system capacity out of the equation.
    We also have a unit based pricing model which means you only pay for the learning courses used. It can also mean a relatively modest entry-level cost, with the potential to grow with your organisation and needs – several of our customers have 5000+ users.
    If you would like more information I will be delighted to help.


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