Monthly Archives: July 2016

Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources

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For a novice instructional designer, preparing budget analysis and timelines for projects may be overwhelming tasks. Where do you begin, how do know how long or how much it will cost?

The good news is, there is help available. I have am highlighting two websites that have helpful resources for planning and budgeting instructional design projects. I hope you find them as helpful as I did.

1) The E-Learning Coach: Five Resources for Estimating Development Time

This site has a collection of resources that will help you estimate time and budgets. It covers estimating time for one hour of training, estimating time for developing e-learning, etc. This site also has a link to another site that I found that addresses budget planning.

2) Templates for Instructional Design

This site has the following templates: -note: the training estimator will allow you to estimate the cost of developing a learning experience.

ENJOY!!!

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Effective Communication in Project Management

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Ineffective communication causes one-half of all unsuccessful projects (Foong, 2014). Because of this, project managers need to develop communication plans at the onset of their projects. This plan is designed to ensure all stakeholders are engaged and informed at the appropriate level and through the most efficient means of communication. Foong (2014) suggests using a “Power vs. Interest” matrix to guide the development of your communication plan. This matrix (figure 1) will help determine at what level each stakeholder should be engaged and informed.

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Figure 1: Power/Interest grid from https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/effective-communication-a-challenge-to-project-managers.html

Foong’s matrix strategy complies with Charvat’s suggested communication channels (2002). Charvat’s channels of communication outline how and to what level communication should occur with all levels of stakeholders, see figure 2.

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Figure 2: Communication Channels from http://www.techrepublic.com/article/project-communications-a-plan-for-getting-your-message-across/

Colorado State University’s “Tips for Developing your Communication Skills” highlights the importance of knowing your audience – find out what modality works best for all parties involved (Learn Effective Communication Strategies in the Workplace, 2015). The modality of communication can greatly impact the success of your project in multiple ways. The intentions of written communication can be misinterpreted. For example, a message conveyed in writing may not be perceived as urgent as the same message conveyed face-to-face. You may also find that some recipient will not respond as quickly via email as they will with a short informal meeting.

Most communication issues can be avoided if an effective communication plan is put into place. The communication plan will set the expectation for how communication will flow into and out of the project, how often communications will occur, and by what modality communication will take place. Charvat (2002) explains how too much or too little communication can hinder a project. A proper communication plan can circumvent this problem.

References:

Charvat, J. (2002, November 13). Project communications: A plan for getting your message across – TechRepublic. Retrieved July 12, 2016, from http://www.techrepublic.com/article/project-communications-a-plan-for-getting-your-message-across/

Foong, M. Y. (2014, April 09). Effective Communication: A Challenge to Project Managers. Retrieved July 12, 2016, from https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/effective-communication-a-challenge-to-project-managers.html

Learn Effective Communication Strategies in the Workplace. (2015, February 12). Retrieved July 12, 2016, from https://csuglobal.edu/blog/make-indispensable-5-workplace-communication-strategies

Hindsight: Project Post Mortem

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Now that it’s all said and done, I would have done a few things differently.  I recently worked with a great team to present a simulcast day conference event.  This conference was a motivational day conference for women and we had an exciting day planned. Overall, this event was a huge success and the women had a great time but there were some missed opportunities and some things that could have been handled better.

We spent a lot of time and energy in the planning phase, ensuring we had all stakeholders involved and that every contributing team member knew their role and responsibility.  We had a great technology team in place to ensure all conferencing equipment worked and we made plans for them to be available for any emergencies during the event (box checked). We had lunches planned for delivery with special needs meals available (check). We planned for breaks and had snacks available for the late afternoon break (check).  All print materials and conference gift bags were put together and ready to present to the ladies (check).  Ushers were in place to guide the ladies and help them find their assigned conference rooms (check). It seemed as though we had planned for everything and we were ready.

What we did not plan for, the overwhelming responses from the participants’ survey cards and how to follow through with needs or requests for services. The survey cards were hand written and this quickly became a nightmare to manage. Someone now needs to read through them all, capture all of the responses in an electronic format for further analysis and easy storage/access.  This could have easily been resolved if we had planned an electronic survey to capture these results. The only other issue was conference employee participation in the conference event. Looking back, I would have held a short training on professional behavior expectations. There were times when the workers were “caught up” in the various lessons that they were not making themselves available to serve the participants’ needs. While this was not a major issue, this is something I would address if I had to do this over again.

idhalstead

Instructional Design learning

Thoughts of a Novice Instructional Designer

A record of my thoughts as I explore the field of instructional design.