We’ll be honest: there’s certainly no shortage of tools to create e-learning. There’s a wealth of options, and they all have their advantages. There are many ways to make content, and a multitude of resources are available to support you in doing this.
The reality is some of them very expensive and many require a steep learning curve to understand how to use them. It’s valuable to know that they can sometimes be bypassed altogether, depending on your needs.
Whether you are using a tool or not, there are even more ways to keep your costs under control.
This article highlights the five top tips for creating e-learning on a budget.
PowerPoint is your friend. Yes, it may not create the most engaging learning, but with the latest version of PowerPoint you can do so much more than create dull slides. You can capture your screen, record and edit audio and create beautiful transitions. It’s a familiar tool that you probably already know your way around - make the most of it!
You likely also have email available to you in your business. Why not create a simple learning campaign? This could be a weekly or monthly micro-leaning snippet, advice, or an insightful quotation. It could even be a programme of information drip-fed into someone's inbox over a set period of time.
A lot of knowledge workers have access to a tool like Teams or Slack - view them as a useful learning hub, a place to share information and knowledge.
Use what you already have and see how well it works. You might be pleasantly surprised! To begin with, host your e-learning on Sharepoint or your intranet. Use your existing tools until they are no longer fit for purpose, and then look at upgrading to something more specific.
Be sure to shop around for course authoring tools before your commit. Some are really expensive and lock you into year-long licences. Some are very affordable, and you can pay monthly. We love Evolve.
Again, focus on what you already know and own, and go from there.
Be sure to utilise your existing resources. Think PDFs, plans, operating procedures, and recorded webinars. Perhaps a file (or five!) has been sitting on the intranet without much attention. There’s likely something you can do to transform its appeal and package it for another use.
Draft your internal experts in to help. Have people record their expertise in written, video or audio format, and that’ll form the basis of your content. Make it easy for people to contribute by interviewing them and transcribing that interview. Make the most of your team member’s insights. You can be led by them too, in terms of what topics could be covered and what staff want to know more about. Open up the conversation!
Production costs can quickly start to escalate if you want to use video. Screen recording is reasonably inexpensive, but face-to-camera can look very amateur without the right equipment. Animations aren’t always appropriate. Long videos can quickly feel monotonous in the wrong context.
Question whether you need rich multimedia for each piece of content you create. Look at less expensive options, like audio. Audio includes the added benefit of being consumable on the go and helps get people away from a screen.
Audio is a largely untapped resource in L&D, but it’s convenient, flexible, and engaging. When used well, it can be totally transformative for your organisation.
There is so much great information available for free on the web. Curating and highlighting some of the best content is a brilliant way to create great e-learning experiences on a budget. Prioritise doing quality research to seek out the most insightful content.
Crucial tip: Beware of the difference between company and personal use. Some sites or content providers allow personal consumption of their free content but require a licence if you use it as an organisation.
Also, pay careful attention to properly citing sources and original creators. Amplify other voices and credit the great minds behind the insightful content you’re discussing.
Don't overcomplicate things. Create training that people will use and enjoy, not learning they will need to slog through. Prioritise what inspires and engages your learners.
Simplicity doesn’t only apply to classrooms full of children. We’re often time-poor and have all experienced screen fatigue. Simplify your content while simplifying your aims: What does your team need to know? How can they effectively access this content? What can you do for them that’s affordable and impactful?
Perhaps you already have what you need or, at least, already know what works. Take the complexity out of learning.
As we’ve shown, there are lots of ways to get started. Don't be constrained by course authoring tools and the limitations of SCORM files. Think creatively to reduce costs and devise an experience that works for your learners. Recognise your existing strengths and build on them. Inspired to utilise audio? Check out Assemble You’s bespoke offering.