RE: e-Learning strategy question

Subject: RE: e-Learning strategy question
From: "John Locke" <mail -at- freelock -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 07:31:46 -0800

I'd say that's a pretty tough call, and without being in your shoes, knowing
your product, users, etc., I would guess that nobody on this list is in a
better position to make that call than you.

However, I do have one bit of advice, if you decide to go the route of the
customizeable part. And that is, make sure you have customers who want it.

I've found that customizeable software, while very powerful, tends to only
get minimally used. It's expensive for your customers to implement, taking
them away from their more day-to-day tasks. Most won't bother.

I'm suggesting that your company should be doing a lot of needs analysis
here. Documenting the advanced stuff is entirely necessary, but may only be
used by your own developers. Most companies these days want to install
products out of the box, even if it's enterprise level. Most customization
happens at the interface level--very little behind the scenes.

These conclusions come from my observations of customers of software that
provides a platform for expert systems, which sound similar. While the
customer will do endless tailoring and tweaking of the configurations, very
few will actually script anything sophisticated. If you want them to use the
advanced part of your product, you're going to have to convince them (your
customers) that:

1. It's not difficult.
2. It will take x amount of developer hours for a solution of y complexity.
3. I can show you how to do it right the first time.
4. The end result will save you z dollars.

If you can't do that with your documentation, your sales contacts, and your
marketing literature, then you should probably consider doing the advanced
customizations in house. In all likelihood, most of your customers will
probably have similar needs anyway.

My thoughts...

John Locke

Abby Schiff wrote:
> Strategic question here.
> I work for a financial online/software company. We're in the process of
> developing Web-Based Training (WBT) for our clients. So far we've stuck to
> creating lessons on 'the basics' (essentially, the
> point-and-click stuff in
> our software). However, now that that's done, we're not sure if
> we should:
> (a) go for more depth across the basic subjects;
> (b) try our hands at creating modules for the hard-core,
> super-duper-powerful, customizable aspect of our software (which involves
> learning a simple query language, writing code in it, & dealing with all
> the scenarios and what-ifs that come with its infinite customization
> possibilities.)
> > [snip]

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