Help Us Help You!

At Artisan, I write and manage the production of the storyboards you, the client, review. But it wasn’t always that way. Once I sat where you do—I was an Artisan client. Like you, I was responsible for ensuring that the content and learning activities were appropriate for my audience. Corrections and suggestions I provided turned into revised storyboards which then turned into functional e-learning courses. I didn’t give much thought to how the process worked, just that it did. Sometimes there were delays and sometimes there were cost overruns. That’s just the nature of the business, right?

Well, yes and no. What I’ve learned as a member of the Artisan production team is that there are ways in which you, the client, can ensure that a project is completed on schedule and within budget.

Top 5 Ways You Can Ensure for a Smooth Project Experience:

1. Provide well-curated and organized content.

While it is Artisan’s job to make the best use out of the content and information you provide, it adds time if we have to search a large number of documents to find the ones that are relevant. The less time we have to spend searching for your content is more time we can spend developing a great course for you. You can help us by providing direction about how your content is organized and what items are most important to you.

2. Provide authentic, environment-specific images or example images that resonate with your culture.

Learners can tire of stock photos and appreciate those that represent their work environment. If a course requires uniformed characters, real photos of those characters, in their actual surroundings, often resonate more. But, we know that not all clients have access to their own image library. When your course needs stock photos, provide us with samples of those that you gravitate toward and that will resonate with your culture. This will help us start off on the right foot to establish the look and feel of your course.

3. Stick to the schedule or provide ample notice if a schedule change is required.

A couple of days’ delay here and there will probably have little to no impact on your project schedule. However, delays that are more than a few days can affect the availability of resources. Once the project schedule is set and we begin to write storyboards, the online development team is scheduling narrators, graphic designers, e-learning developers, and testers. There are a lot of moving parts! An unforeseen sizeable delay in the project schedule can cause us to lose our project’s intended resources potentially causing even further delays. We know things happen. Be honest about your ability to stick to the schedule and it will make it easier to hold each other accountable.

4. Have one point of contact who is responsible for adjudicating subject matter experts’ comments.

While it may be easier for you to collect feedback from your SMEs and just forward it on to Artisan, it is significantly more time-consuming for Artisan to reconcile the feedback and use it. If your subject matter experts’ comments disagree, Artisan is not in a position to decide which comment is correct. If you take the time to organize feedback to eliminate any confusion or duplication, it makes Artisan’s job easier and we can work faster. Time is money, right?

5. When reviewing content, give clear directions for changes.

Asking questions or making vague suggestions like, “Should we use a different word here?” is not helpful. As the client, you are in the best position to provide appropriate language and information for your audience. On the other hand, if a whole section seems poorly worded or confusing, it IS appropriate to request that Artisan correct it. Here again, though, letting Artisan know what is confusing will help us get it right in the next iteration. Be as specific as possible in your feedback so there can only be one interpretation of what it is you’re asking for.

Mostly, what became clear from transitioning from being an Artisan client to an Artisan team member, is the value of collaboration and communication throughout the process. Our job is to craft YOUR perfect e-learning solution, but there are several steps you can take along the way to help the process and ensure that your e-learning project is completed on schedule and within budget.

Contact us to explore ways we can help you with your next e-learning project.

About Louise Miller

Louise is currently an Artisan storyboard developer and project manager. She is the former Disaster Cycle Services Training Manager at the Red Cross. She has 45 years of combined experience in learning - first as a middle school teacher and college instructor, then as a health behavior change program developer, and now as an instructional designer for instructor-led training and e-learning. Louise lives in Chestertown, MD one block from a perfect kayak launching spot on the Chester River where she can enjoy her favorite activity.