-6. How does a deadline for training everybody affect your e-learning solution?

- Depending on whether you have a deadline for getting "everyone" trained, you can get very different e-learning solutions.

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This is similar to the question above on "time to build," but it is not exactly the same—this is delivery rollout.

You might face such a rollout deadline in this kind of situation: You need to get all salespeople trained on a new product by launch date. (Or all employees trained on a new benefits package by the enrollment date. Or all managers trained on new business rules and processes by a certain date.)

Nevertheless, the problem here is one of time. And if you are pressed for time, you will need to accept a certain amount of imperfection.

-7. How does long-term/short-term shelf life affect your e-learning solution?

- Depending on the expected shelf life of the courseware, you can get very different e-learning solutions.

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Will the e-learning training you create be good for years, or is it a one-shot deal? Will the course be valid this time next year, or will it need updating?

- Short-term shelf life: This is training that is only current for a few weeks or months. It s the type of thing that would be done in a classroom seminar or in a meeting with slide presentations. This is traditionally a pretty informal thing and your main concern is getting the information out quickly—as long as the information is not completely disorganized. Perfect instruction design is not necessary here.

- Long-term shelf life: This is training that is current for many months or years. It might be training in your product's manufacturing process, in your company's HR practices, or in how to be a Java programmer. In this case, you are concerned with good instructional design, and you ll expect that there will be good instructional design in the course. I strongly suggest that you use professional instructional designers for long-shelf-life courses. Many companies do this sort of work. (IBM provides course design and development services that you can take advantage of.)

In brief, if the shelf life of your course is short, then you can feel OK about taking short cuts, using simple approaches, and doing low-cost course development. But if your course has a long shelf life, then it s best that you do it as well as you can from the start.

-8. How do the starting and ending skill levels affect your e-learning solution?

- Depending on the starting skill level of the students and the ending skill level you need, you can get very different e-learning solutions.

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Let's say you're trying to teach the new extensions to the html

Web-page language. Your approach to that training will be greatly influenced by the starting skill level of your students. The students in your course:

- Might be html experts already.

- Might know a little html but are computer professionals who know other computer languages.

- Might not know html and are not computer savvy.

Then your solution will be influenced by the ending skill level you're looking for:

- Awareness. "Knows about" but cannot perform.

- Can perform with assistance.

- Can perform without assistance.

- Can perform as expert.

Clearly, if you are starting with an expert skill level and you need to train to the expert level on the new language extensions, then you have one kind of training problem. In that case, you might be able to do a short "update workshop" that could be done in a half day. On the other hand, if your students are not even computer savvy, and you need to turn out experts, then you're looking at weeks of intensive training.

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