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6 Reasons Why eLearning Projects Fail

by | Sep 10, 2015 | Tips & Tricks

Businesses have started to move rapidly towards employing e-learning to build better processes. However, the success rate of e-learning projects has been on a slightly lower side. Every business has its own view as to what project failure is, but in general we consider a project as failure when it does not go according to the expectations, and does not deliver what was required. Since nobody likes to talk about failure, most of these incidences get swept under the carpet as a result of which only a few lessons are learned from such project failures.

In order to make more e-learning projects successful, the companies need to identify the reasons behind failure first, and then find a cure for them. As Bill Gates once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

In this post I am going to share some of the major reasons why e-learning projects fail and what can be done to avoid those failures. So, let us take a look at those points one by one.

DigitalChalk: 6 Reasons Why eLearning Projects Fail by Arjun Setia

1. Wrong Analysis of Business Requirement

If the project has been set to deliver the wrong thing, then how can you expect to get positive results? Starting and implementing an e-learning strategy without thorough analysis of the business requirements is the biggest mistake that organizations make. This has always been the major reason behind many project failures. And, when the project doesn’t deliver what the organization really needs, the only option left is to scrap it down.

Solution – Using technology to deliver learning solutions aligned towards the business objectives, more closely.

2. Lack of Skill Sets and Knowledge Areas

Improved staff performance is one of the key components that define the success of a project. But, in order to achieve improvement in the performance of your team, you need to suffice them first with the following skill sets:

  • Technology and IT-related knowledge
  • Learning and development knowledge
  • Business knowledge

Lack of any one of these skills can result in the employees failing to grasp the knowledge and failing to deliver desirable results. For instance, the creative team might not be able to understand the technicalities involved in IT, and the developers might not have any idea about the importance of marketing.

Solution – Internal collaboration, re-engineering old school approaches of learning, and building new skills within the team using automated platforms and project management tools.

3. Failing to Plan and Poor Project Management

e-learning projects can fail even after a well-defined goal has been set. Planning is the roadmap that will lead to success in project management. And, e-learning projects are no different. This is evident from the fact that failing to pay attention to facets, such as communication, risk analysis, and planning, always lead to emergence of adverse situations in the project, ultimately leading to failure, as they say, ‘failing to plan is simply planning to fail.’

Solution – Using project management tools like ProofHub to plan things, and bringing the team together can help you to plan things in the project in a better manner.

4. Communication Gap

According to a recent study by the Project Management Institute, poor communication is the reason why projects fail more than one-third of all the times. And, when we look at organizations with higher success rate in their projects (successfully completing more than 80% of their projects), then the frequency of creating formal project communication plans in nearly two times as compared to the organizations with lesser success rates (successfully completing 60% or less projects).

Solution – Effective use of standardized project communication practices, documenting and sharing project progress with the team members, and open communication channels can put an end to this problem.

5. Stakeholder Conflict Leading to Poor Involvement

Trainers are an integral part of making e-learning projects successful. Not providing them with the required special support, influence and communication can lead to a conflict and poor involvement of the trainers. In fact, one of the major reasons why e-learning projects fail is because of conflict of thoughts among the stakeholders. The trainers can influence the learners to the view that e-learning is not real training, making the learners dissatisfied with the learning outcomes. Therefore, it is imperative to keep them involved in the entire process.

Solution – Bring trainers into the picture, blend traditional classroom training tactics with modern e-learning capabilities to work towards involvement of all the team members.

6. Inability to Report Success

Success is not counted, and credited unless you report it and demonstrate its value. Factors like business evaluation, poor usage measurement, evaluation recording and record keeping, link directly to competency measurement, and are usually associated with project failures. In fact, failing to identify indicators of project success, and inability to report it to the top tier make the projects vulnerable, ultimately leading to cutbacks and loss of trust. And, this ultimately leads to cancellation of the project.

Solution – Using technology to gather information and measure success can be the best idea.

Projects can go awry if they are not managed properly, no matter how solid the foundation has been laid. And, it is the responsibility of a project manager to identify early warning signs, create a remediation plan against those signs and act accordingly. Remember, there’s nothing wrong in failing as long as you learn from it. If you have been failing to identify the key indicators of project failure, then I am sure the factors listed above will prove to be helpful.

Written by: Arjun Setia
Arjun Setia works as a writer at ProofHub. For the past 3 years, he has been writing for various technology blogs. Coming from an intense background in science and biotechnology, he likes to relate advancements in technology with real-life activities. His future plans include going on a bike trip to Leh Ladakh and traveling around the world. When not writing, he could be found lost in his own world with the headphones on.

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