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Case Studies: Why Invest in eLearning?

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

With thousands of free resources available online, why should my educational institution pay for custom content? How would we get ROI?

Why would parents pay more when students can freely google or scour thousands of YouTube tutorials, for free?

Which EdTech solution is best for my educational institution?

How to choose a good eLearning vendor?

If you have asked yourself any of these questions, you’ve come to a good place to find some answers.

In this last blog post for helping educators navigate the online learning landscape, we present to you some real-life examples.

Custom Content vs Free

The education provider: A multicentre enrichment company with a presence in numerous countries taught early English Literacy to students as young as 2.5 years.

The problem: Parents didn’t know what their children were learning in the centres and couldn’t support their learning at home. Students got to practice phonemic awareness only in the classroom during their weekly class at the centre.

The “zero” investment path: There are several phonics games available on various websites for free. Children could play these at no extra cost to the parents or the education provider.

The caveat: So what was the problem with this “zero investment” option?

  • These free games did not follow the company’s pedagogy.

  • Almost all of them, in catering to microlearning, had no clear path but were individual games.

  • Parents had to know what they wanted their children to practice, hunt for a good game that promised to provide practice for that skill and remember to get them to play it regularly. They might have saved money but at the cost of time and effort.

  • Even then, this wouldn’t help solve the problem. They wouldn’t know what exact process the child is learning with in the classroom.

  • Besides, all of the free phonics games are drill-based. They drill down to a tiny unit (one game based on identifying the letters p, d, and t, for example). They have the learner practicing the same letters in a visually appealing environment.

Just search for “free online phonics games” and you will be able to verify the above.

The solution: A digital product for the company’s youngest students to practise phonological awareness from the comfort of their homes. Gaining a deeper understanding of the requirements and the target audience, we factored in the following:

  1. Making learning fun, not a drill: We opted for mini-games that would have a purpose behind identifying the correct sound.

  2. Short attention spans: The games had to be short keeping in mind the attention spans. We also wanted to minimise screen time. We prescribed not more than one game level a day.

  3. Reinforcement, encouragement, and motivation: Young learners, more than anyone, need constant feedback. We provided this in the form of sound effects on correct and wrong attempts, a voiceover from the character leading the learner in the right direction, and mini-rewards within each game level.

  4. Relevance and engagement: Gamification is all good, but for learners to enjoy learning phonics and gaining phonological awareness, we needed something that would engage and enthral the young learners. We chose characters that students were familiar with, the company’s own characters that they would see in every class at the centres. Following this visual design, we gave these characters back stories, superpowers and a purpose. A purpose that the learner had to help each character fulfil with the choices they made in the games.

The result: By taking the time and effort to understand and analyse the client’s requirements, we created uniqueness that was worth paying for! All of the games were structured according to the sequence in which the centre taught these skills in their classrooms. One year down the line, a parent satisfaction survey revealed high rankings of the product on almost all parameters.


The Tale of an eLearning vendor who said "yes" and one that didn’t

Okay, this one is for you to decide what type of eLearning vendor would work best for you. Here’s an actual example, and just for fun and clarity of how it went down, let’s use a dialogue format:

Client: We have a list of topics. We need you to create 2–5-minute videos on each.

Instructional Designer: Sure, micro-learning is the thing! Let’s talk numbers: how many do you need, in what time frame, and oh yes, do you have content ready? We’ll give you a budget accordingly.

Client: 150 topics. Within ‘x’ months. Content is in recordings of our classroom videos. Transcribe the videos and that would be your content.

ID (gets to work):

  • Creates a prototype of an explainer video from whatever content they could extract from the videos.

  • Hires a larger team to get the work done faster.

  • Charges the client for the number of animations done on an expedited timeline.

Client (after a year): Most teachers are not accessing these animations. The teaching practises haven’t improved. We still see the same problems in the classroom.

ID: Don’t worry, I’ve got a solution. We can add more videos to make sure they understand everything.

Client: Oh!!!!

Let’s replay this with an eLearning Consultant.

Consultant: Can you tell me more about your objectives for these animations?

Client: We want to train new teachers. They need to be know the curriculum, our pedagogy, our parent communication policies, the processes they need to follow…

Consultant: With your original requirement of animations and videos, you'll end up with a content repository. We need to train teachers systematically without cognitive load and ensure they are able to apply what they learn in the classroom.

After detailed discussions over several meetings, the consultant identifies the learning objectives and presents her solution.

  1. She starts off with a content outline based on the sequence of skills the learners need.

  2. Each module is split into bite-sized lessons with relevant scenarios for applying what they have learnt in real-life situations.

  3. To cater to different types of learners, the consultant uses a mix of text-based screens with the option of playing the audio (for auditory learners), and short, interactive animations that have the learner taking note of important points and even taking decisions to reach different points of the scenario.

  4. She designs interim tests to check understanding and module-end quizzes to check the preparedness of the employees.

  5. She presents a flipped learning and blended learning approach where teachers would learn at their own pace and then attend workshops to practice with other teachers with the trainer's help.

Client (after a year): This is exactly what we needed! The teachers are retaining the information and are able to apply it in the classrooms.

Consultant: I’m glad I could help!


A useful eLearning Consultant will help you move from EdTech-based solution to a needs- and performance-based solution.

Design resources that help learners with their challenges. Focus on the learners' needs and the learning experience. Find your elephant!

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