How to Create an eLearning Project Plan

When you first start an eLearning project, there is a lot of information you must collect and expectations to establish. Much of this upfront work occurs during your eLearning project kickoff meeting. The kickoff meeting is your opportunity to meet with your project stakeholders and subject matter experts to ask questions, collect information, and set expectations.

It’s easy to walk away from your initial eLearning project kickoff meeting assuming everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations. However, this is rarely the case. To successfully create an effective eLearning course, it requires all of the project contributors (including yourself) to have a clear understanding of the project details. The best way to accomplish this is to create an eLearning project plan.

Here are some tips and a free download to help you create an eLearning project plan for your next eLearning course!

Detail the Basic Information

eLearning Project Plan Template

An eLearning project plan acts as a kind of contract between you and your project stakeholders. The purpose is to document everything that has been agreed upon and give you something to reference later, especially if the project goes out-of-scope.

When creating your eLearning project plan, start by detailing the basic information. This includes any background information regarding how the project came to be, the individuals creating the course, and the project stakeholders.

Outline the Project Milestones

eLearning Project Plan Template

Most eLearning projects have a target date for when the final eLearning course needs to be available to the learners. When an eLearning course is delayed, it’s because one or more milestones were missed during the project.

When creating your eLearning project plan, outline any critical project milestones and dates for delivery. This includes when the storyboard will be finalized, when each draft the course will be available for review, and when the final course will be ready for delivery. Documenting these dates gives you leverage with your subject matter experts and project stakeholders, especially when they are late with their deliverables.

In addition to outlining the project milestones, you should consider creating a detailed project schedule. Here’s a free eLearning project schedule you can download and edit for your next eLearning project.

Define the Course Information

eLearning Project Plan Template

During the eLearning project kickoff meeting, some basic course information must be determined and created. What issue will this course solve? What are the learning objectives? What are the final deliverables? These are just some of the essential details you need to determine with your stakeholders.

When creating an eLearning project plan, define the basic course information. This includes the course name, its purpose, the target learners, the learning objectives, and a description of the final deliverable(s). You also want to detail any deliverables that are out-of-scope, such as job aids or other materials.

List the Development Details

eLearning Project Plan Template

Finally, when creating an eLearning project plan, list the development details. This includes content you will use in the creation of the course, the course reviewers, any constraints that will interfere with the delivery of the course, and any metrics that will be used to measure effectiveness.

eLearning Project Plan Template

eLearning Project Plan Template

Download and use this eLearning project plan template for your next eLearning project!


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.

13 Responses to “How to Create an eLearning Project Plan

  • I usually suggest people that they dispatch the plan to the team of learners or whoever who might be aware of their actual resources volume to collect feedback on how well the plan keeps it real. Helps. And people’s sense of control spike.

  • This is sooo helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Pr ELY Mustapha
    4 years ago

    Thank you. May I ask you if i can use that materials in my own online training course. Sincerely

  • Thank you again . Your Courtesy will be mentionned in my training presentation with a due link to your website. Keep going the very good and high standard work you are doing. Sincerely.

  • Hello Tim,

    I have a question regarding the evolution of managing an E-Learning project.

    If I understood correctly, during your kick-off meeting, you ask the project sponsor, SMEs… the 15 eLearning questions (to me, it’s the training needs analysis). Then, you create the e-learning schedule and then the project plan? Or do you outline the project plan first and then create the schedule?

    What I usually do, is before we have the kick off meeting, I send the questionnaire beforehand. Then, at the meeting, we discuss the training needs analysis questionnaire and the project at a high level. Then, I create simultaneously the project plan and the project schedule and have those validated and approved by the client.

    Is this a good practice?



    • Hi Julie! Great questions! Let me start with the questionnaire. When you choose to ask these questions, depends on you and your organization. Sometimes I ask these question during the kickoff meeting, other times I ask prior to the kickoff meeting as part of my need analysis. As for the project plan and schedule, I usually create those items following the kickoff meeting.

  • Great insights

  • I would like to get advice on the review process. How and when do you do the review(s)? Having witnessed a bespoke e-learning project being developed with 3 SMEs and then 3 Directors from different units all having different opinions on what is working/isn’t working I really want to avoid this for future projects. This project seems more complex than was originally thought and there are many different “drivers”. An authoring tool is being used with content being developed from many different sources (ie. lots of content provided, but pulling it together, adding podcasts and developing scripts, designing modules, topics activities and linking to further resources) . The overall message is the project is taking too long. However, given so many people providing different feedback is it any wonder. If you could provide some insights into the following that would be helpful:

    1. When to review (end of each Module developed ?) – this is what has been done, however, now there are so many views on what needs to change. Looks like a re-write /re-design in some areas.
    2. How to receive review feedback. Given it is e-learning I would have thought via online. However, the project manager is receiving details via long emails, scribbles on pages or someone sitting next to them instructing how they want things to change. There has to be a streamlined way to do this and to get agreement from the very beginning as to the process for feedback. Any tips ?
    3. Defining roles for SMEs and course reviewers. It is all in the detail. What details would you suggest?
    4. Getting agreement to what actually is considered Done ! (using the agile analogy).
    5. Would Agile project management work in developing e-learning. ie. short sprints, review and then moving on?
    6. What about the overarching final review of all the content. All the content must be pedagogically sound. Who is best placed to do this? Instructional designer ?

    • Hi Pat! Thanks for reading and commenting. I’ll do my best to answer your questions as throughly as I can. It sounds like you’re actually development several different mini-deliverables that will be combined into one large course. I would suggest that you treat each mini-deliverable as a mini-projet within itself. Here are some specific answers to each of your questions.

      1: When to review? I would review early and often. Don’t wait until you’ve already developed each item. This could result is a large amounts of wasted time. Create a script, an outline, or storyboard first. This is something you’re stakeholders can review and provide feedback early in the process. Then conduct another review in the middle of development and make sure you’re still on track. Then a final review at the end.
      2: How to receive feedback? With this many people, I suggest in-person review meetings. Have folks submit their feedback, and get in a room (or on a conference call) and go through it all together as a group. This forces the stakeholders to make decisions regarding conflicting feedback, etc.
      3: Defining roles for SMEs and course reviewers? I would suggest defining what they are reviewing for and how frequently. You don’t want a SME making comments on the color of a button, when you need them reviewing the content of the course. Also, you should define who is the final approver.
      4: Agreement on what is defined as done? This is a hard one. If I’ve learned anything, if you keep asking for feedback, you’ll keep receiving it endlessly. I assume you have a deadline for when this needs to be delivered? At some point, there just won’t be any time left for additional feedback. If you don’t have a deadline, set one.
      5. Does Agile work with eLearning development. Yep. Just make sure your SMEs know what they are reviewing at each stage.
      6. Who ensures it’s pedagogically sound? The instructional designer should be doing that from the start. Don’t wait until the end to make sure good ID techniques were used. Design it from the ground up using good ID techniques.

      I hope that helps! Feel free to reaching out with any additional questions!

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