3 Tips for a Successful eLearning Project Kickoff Meeting

When you’re new to eLearning, the start of any project can seem chaotic. It’s easy to become overwhelmed trying to collect the information you need and transform it all into an engaging eLearning course. The success of many eLearning projects hinges on the relationship you create and maintain with your subject matter experts–this starts with facilitating an eLearning project kickoff meeting.

Although the purpose of an eLearning project kickoff meeting might seem self-explanatory, it’s not always obvious what should occur during this initial meeting. Who should you invite? What questions should you ask? What decisions must you make?

If these are questions you’ve asked yourself, here are three tips to help you hold a successful eLearning project kickoff meeting.

Invite the Right People

Facilitating a successful eLearning project kickoff meeting starts by inviting the right people. The kickoff meeting is one of the few opportunities you’ll get to have everyone in the same room (or on the same conference line). You don’t want to waste this opportunity!

eLearning Project Kickoff Meet

Inviting the right people to your kickoff meeting lets you answer questions, collect content, and set expectations. Make sure to invite the following individuals to your next eLearning project kickoff meeting:

  • Yourself: This one might seem obvious, but I have to say it nonetheless. The eLearning project kickoff meeting is your meeting. You are responsible for scheduling, facilitating, and inviting the right people to the meeting.
  • Project Stakeholder(s): It’s important to include certain individuals, even if they aren’t directly involved in the eLearning development process. This might include related business partners, leadership, or other people affected by the results of the course. Being involved in the kickoff meeting gives these folks an opportunity to ask questions and see the direction the project is heading.
  • Subject Matter Experts: The most important people to include in your eLearning project kickoff meeting are your subject matter experts. Your subject matter experts are the ones you’ll be working the closest with during the eLearning development process. And the truth is, you and your subject matter experts need each other! They possess the information you need to solve their problem.
  • Other Designers / Developers: Finally, you’ll want to invite any other designers or developers that will be working on the project. Although this may not be the case with every project, anyone participating in the development of the course should be present.

Ask the Right Questions

An eLearning project kickoff meeting is just as much about information collection, as it is information sharing. Although you should spend much of your time educating your subject matter experts on the eLearning development process, you also want to spend ample time asking questions. The questions you ask should help you obtain the information you need to start the development of the course. Because every eLearning project and course will be different, so will your questions!

eLearning Project Kickoff Meet

The questions you ask should help you gather relevant information, such as:

  • Project scope
  • Desired business goals
  • Course content
  • Course development process
  • Course delivery

It often helps to create a worksheet or guide with your most common questions. Here’s a free worksheet you can download that includes 15 questions to ask your eLearning subject matter experts.

Set the Right Expectations

Finally, the eLearning project kickoff meeting is one of the few opportunities you have to set the right expectations with your subject matter experts. Never assume your subject matter experts have experience with the eLearning development process! You can do yourself a favor (and avoid a lot of mistakes) by taking the time to educate them about the process and setting a few expectations.

eLearning Project Kickoff Meet

The expectations you set with your subject matter experts should include:

  • Defining good eLearning design
  • Their role in the development process
  • Their role in the review process
  • Any deliverables they own

Starting an eLearning project with a meaningful kickoff meeting can significantly increase the odds of a productive relationship with your subject matter experts. It can help you answer their questions, set expectations, and help you collect the information you need to build an effective eLearning course. When you finish the kickoff meeting, create an eLearning project plan and eLearning project schedule to outline everything that was discussed and agreed upon during the meeting.

What other tips can you share for successful eLearning project kickoff meetings? Share them by commenting below!

Additional Resources

Tim Slade
Tim Slade is a speaker, author, and award-winning freelance eLearning designer. Having spent the last decade working to help others elevate their eLearning and visual communications content, Tim has been recognized and awarded within the eLearning industry multiple times for his creative and innovative design aesthetics. Tim is a regular speaker at international eLearning conferences, is a recognized Articulate Super Hero, author of The eLearning Designer’s Handbook and creator of The eLearning Designer's Academy.

5 Responses to “3 Tips for a Successful eLearning Project Kickoff Meeting

  • Viacheslav
    4 years ago

    Great post, Tim. And thanks for several toolkits you’ve prepared. Very useful!

  • Thanks! I am thinking about one more outcome from such kick-off meeting – it’s a way of branding, if the stakeholders are involved, you are indirectly advertising yourself as a skillful project manager and this way you are building your own business image as well as the company you work for (if you do).

    • Great point, Nikos! Even if you’re working with internal customers, they’re still customers! Treating your SMEs and stakeholders like customers can get you pretty far!

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