Developing an elearning Plan - Part II

planning and developing elearning

The Project Manager

It is important to have an experienced custom eLearning project manager leading the development process to oversee the project’s components and players.

There are two distinct teams of players the project manager must manage in slightly different ways: the client team, and the development team.

The client team includes:

  • the project owner/sponsor,

  • the subject matter expert(s),

  • key stakeholders, and

  • external client members who may be required for project signoff, such as corporate communications and legal.

The development team includes:

  • instructional designers,

  • graphic artists,

  • developers,

  • editors,

  • testers and

  • QA reviewers.

In managing both teams, one key factor is to ensure ongoing, open, two-way communication among team members, and between individual team members and the project manager. Also, when scheduling tasks and creating deliverable milestones, it’s important for the project manager to talk with each team member (such as the instructional designer, and graphic artist as well as the subject matter expert, and client reviewers) to gain their buy-in around the schedule to be sure the timeframe is realistic.

Potential Risks and Challenges

In order to keep projects moving forward, and not to have anything fall through the cracks, you should be aware of some common potential challenges during elearning development.

  1. Project scope creep – the project gets bigger than initially planned, with new content added or more complex animations requested.

  2. Unavailable subject matter experts – subject matter experts play an important role in reviewing course content to ensure it is correct and headed in the right direction. If SMEs are inaccessible this can slow down the project.

  3. Missed review deadlines by senior management – getting senior management sign off is crucial in moving on to the next project phase. Pre-scheduling time on leaders’ calendars can alleviate this potential bottleneck.

  4. Additional reviews by previously unidentified stakeholders – one risk is when new players are added to the team who were not previously identified. Often they need to be brought up-to-speed and can slow down the project. Double check at project kick-off that all required stakeholders are involved.

  5. Technical infrastructure not supportive of program and delivery – early conversations with IT are important to be sure there is clear understanding of infrastructure needs and in some cases beta or pilot programs are warranted.

Having an awareness of these potential issues can help mitigate them before they compromise the project’s development process and timeline, and ultimately its success.


Creating an elearning course is an iterative process. On the development side, it requires many different skill sets to complete each of the tasks and on the review and implementation side, there are many players who must approve and signoff at various milestones of the project.

Having a plan and outlining the above steps to be sure all areas of the organization are included at the start of the project will help set-up the project for success and ensure it delivers on time.

If you need support in creating an elearning plan or understanding the elearning development process, please email

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