How to Become an eLearning Project Management Pro

Being a great eLearning designer requires you to be a guru of instructional design, a master of graphic design, and a pro at eLearning project management. More likely than not, a significant portion of your time is dedicated towards wrangling subject matter experts, juggling project schedules, and enduring long meetings.

The truth is, eLearning courses aren’t created in vacuums. The creation of an eLearning course is a collaborative effort that requires coordination from all parties involved, and you’re at the center of it all! Although becoming an eLearning project management pro may be intimidating, especially if you’re new to eLearning, it doesn’t have to be an uphill battle!

Here are five steps you can follow to become an eLearning project management pro!

Step 1: Schedule an eLearning Project Kickoff Meeting

All great eLearning projects start with a kickoff meeting. A kickoff meeting is your opportunity to meet with your subject matter experts and stakeholders to discuss the project. Although it’s easy to skip the eLearning project kickoff meeting and jump straight into development, this meeting is one of the few opportunities to get on the same page with your subject matter experts.

How to Become an eLearning Project Management Pro

Become an eLearning project management pro by scheduling a kickoff meeting to ask questions, discuss project goals, collect course content, define intended outcomes, and create a project schedule.

Step 2: Ask Your SMEs the Right eLearning Questions

Subject matter experts contain a wealth of information, but don’t expect them to share everything they know! Your job as an eLearning project manager is a lot like being a hunter and gatherer—you have to search and collect information a little bit at a time. This is best accomplished by asking lots and lots of questions!

How to Become an eLearning Project Management Pro

Become an eLearning project management pro by asking your subject matter experts the right questions. What are the desired business goals? What do learners need to do differently to meet these goals? Who needs to review the eLearning course? How will this course be delivered to learners? These are just some of the common questions you need to ask.

Step 3: Draft an eLearning Project Plan

Effective eLearning project management is all about expectations, and it’s your job to manage them! If not, you run the risk of the entire project spiraling out of control. This can result in scope creep, unhappy subject matter experts, and worst of all, bad eLearning. Trust me; I’ve been there!

How to Become an eLearning Project Management Pro

Become an eLearning project management pro by drafting a project plan. A project plan acts as a contract (even if it’s not really a contract) between you and your subject matter experts and project stakeholders. At the very minimum, an eLearning project plan should define the project deliverables, learning objectives, desired business goals, how success will be measured, roles and responsibilities, course content, and anything else that is pertinent to the project.

Step 4: Create an eLearning Project Schedule

As an eLearning designer and project manager, you’re probably a busy person. Between juggling multiple projects, you’re meeting with subject matter experts, conducting needs analyses, and helping fix the office copier (because you’re also the office tech guru). It’s your job to keep yourself, your subject matter experts, and your eLearning projects on track!

How to Become an eLearning Project Management Pro

Become an eLearning project management pro by creating an eLearning project schedule. A project schedule can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like it to be. At the end of the day, you simply want to define who is responsible for delivering what and by when.

Step 5: Manage Your eLearning Review Cycles

After you’ve drafted and submitted your first storyboard or prototype, anxiety can set in while you wait to receive edits from your subject matter experts! Will they like what you’ve created with your blood, sweat, and tears? Will they get you feedback according to the schedule? Will it be more feedback than you can handle? These are all questions that can drive you crazy if you think about them for too long!

How to Become an eLearning Project Management Pro

Become an eLearning project management pro by managing your eLearning review cycles. Don’t let your review cycles become a stress-inducing process! Take control and set clear expectations for what you need from your subject matter experts during the review process. Set deadlines and be transparent about what can and cannot change.

What other tips can you share about becoming an eLearning project management pro? 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.

2 Responses to “How to Become an eLearning Project Management Pro

  • Hi Tim,
    Great article. I would also add Manage Your IDs and Manage Change very closely. As an eLearning Project Manager, I think you a bang on with the steps. I say Manage Your IDs as some IDs can have the tendency to “gold plate” a project by providing more content or developing to a higher IMI level than the project requires or has a budget for. This is all done with the best intent, but let’s face it we do not control the budget.
    Also, if you don’t track and manage change very closely, before you know it your project is off the rails and you are behind on schedule. budget and client expectations.
    Just my two cents.

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