The eLearning Guild Getting Started series of reports will help you understand the concepts common to eLearning design, development, and delivery. We base each report on eLearning Guild member data and the experience and insights of many people and organizations including this report’s author. Guild members with more experience have learned important lessons along the way that will be helpful to you as you get started. Each report will help you make sense of the options and evaluate both your and your organization’s needs.

Since eLearning began, there has been a desire to build it quickly and inexpensively. Initially, to make eLearning quick and inexpensive, people and organizations simply put slides or documents online and called it eLearning. But while e-information may be in the form of slides, documents, or the like, e-Learning implies more than just online information.

Learning implies the ability to interact with the content, get feedback, and more. And, to provide interactions of this sort online in the earlier days of e-Learning (not very long ago), you needed programming or complex authoring tools. So initially, most interactive e-Learning was built by multimedia developers and programmers.

The good news is that much has changed from not very long ago. Easy-to-use and very full-featured eLearning authoring tools now allow instructional designers, trainers, and subject matter experts to build attractive content quickly, with or without developer help, and without the need to become a Web programmer.

In this report, we’ll consider when and how to build rapid e-Learning. We’ll start with a brief explanation of the differences between the traditional and rapid approaches, then we'll look at the most common rapid development tools, examining questions like ease of use, flexibility, as well as budget considerations.