Monday, March 29, 2010

Saving Time and Money on Developing Product Training

Yes, I hear you. Anything that saves time and money has to sacrifice quality, right? Not always. A unique interactive product training framework, published by Harbinger Knowledge Products, allows you to do the following, and much more:
  • Build learning experiences which combine interactive elements in an instructionally sound way
  • Re-use and maintain templates conveniently 
  • Easily localize and upgrade training to follow new product versions
The framework exploits intriguing new formats such as edumercials, virtual labs, games as well as more mundane templates - yes, who can do without how-to, drag-drop, label and compare exercises? The framework is tool-agnostic, and standards-compliant.

Curious? If you wish to see this in action, you can request a demo from Harbinger Knowledge Products.  A sample product training curriculum is also available in a Product Training Framework document. This is a must-read if you are planning to build e-learning for products.

Anybody would like to show examples of great product training? Just post a link here. Any thoughts on templatized product training? Does templatization enhance or hinder interactivity?


  1. One link that I'd love to share would be from the house of MS with its self-paced training courses for Office programs. They love to call it Robin Hero.

    This is a game for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel 2007 and 2010, designed to help boost your Office skills and knowledge. Using this you get to play games (aka "challenges"), score points, and compete with your friends while improving your productivity with Office.

  2. This is interesting topic. In fact, perhaps something I am looking for - templates, saving cost and time, easy to maintain, track able, localize able and (smiley), interactivity! all the right words I am looking for. Now, is there a way to define the time/cost savings from this? I am intrigued to know how do I work out ROI, if I need to present this to my manager. Appreciate/thanks!

  3. one more thing: can this be applied for courses on mobile phone?

  4. Nice post.
    I think the three points mentioned can be applied even to other trainings like management training. It need not be limited only to products.

  5. @Training – Hi! My name is Deepali Tharkude and I head the Content Services team at Harbinger Knowledge Products. That’s a great question you’ve brought up. Yes, obviously your manager is going to want to know the savings and ROI from this approach! And it’s really easy to calculate. The main cost heads in the cost for development of elearning programs include:
    1.Design of the elearning course - includes content analysis, instructional design, GUI design and prototype development. Based on the complexity of the course, this comprises about 20-40% of the total project cost.
    2.Development –includes the production of screens, animations and interactivities, assessments, audio/video editing, integration and such other tasks. This comprises the remaining 60-80% of the project cost.
    Now, if you have a set of templates of different layouts, interactivities and assessments, and you have a “ready to use framework” of a typical product training course, the cost of design as well as development will come down by about 30%. Drawing from our vast experience in product training courseware development, we have developed a large number of such customizable templates that can be used for your content. Add to that the fact that the “framework” we’ve developed is reusable across different audiences and courses. So, if you are creating a course for your sales force on a Product A, and you also want to create one for your Tech support staff, there will be a lot of content that would be common to both these courses. Because of our “ready to use” framework, replicating this across audiences with minor customizations becomes quick and cost effective. Thus the total savings would probably be around 40%-50% across courses. if you’d like to talk to us about this in more detail, do write to us at and we’d be happy to show you some examples!
    To answer your other question on whether this can be used for mlearning courses – yes! The same framework and templates can be modified for mobile delivery, web based/CD ROM based delivery as well as blended delivery with an ILT/virtual classroom training component.

  6. Deepali,

    Great answer... Wonder if you attribute any costs towards audience feedback - in other words, testing content efficacy with sample target audience ?(environment, time and feedback changes costs included)
    As reusable as the framework is, what is your estimate of % customization required for different audiences?
    Thanks in advance...