You may have already heard that the latest round of National VET E-learning Strategy funding for e-learning projects is currently available.
Traditionally, this funding has been highly contested so if you are thinking of applying you will want to make sure your application is given the best chance of being selected. The following tips and hints for writing a successful e-learning funding application may help you.
- Contact the funding manager first – even though you may think that you have the best e-learning project idea in the world if it doesn’t fit the funding criteria you could waste a lot of time writing an application simply to have it ‘knocked-out’ because it doesn’t fit the criteria. Call the Funding Manager and discuss your project idea (or complete the Project Idea Summary pg 33 of the E-learning for Participation & Skills Funding Guidelines). They will tell you straight away whether your project idea fits the funding requirements or help you ‘tweak it’ so it does fit.
- What’s your problem? – once you’ve clarified that you at least in the running for the funding, clearly articulate the problem you are trying to solve and how this meets the requirements of the funding. Where possible, include evidence (statistics, references etc) to back up why your problem exists. Also paint the picture about your project for the Selection Panel eg who are your key stakeholders? what are their demographics? how will they benefit from the project?
- Address all of the funding criteria – don’t think that some points don’t apply to you. Your application will be assessed against each and every one of the criteria, so ensure your address them appropriately.
- Less is more – be succinct (this is why Twitter is so popular). If you can’t write what you are trying to say in less than a paragraph you are going to lose the Selection Panel’s attention. There are LOTS of funding applications which the Selection Panel need to read so get to the point quickly.
- Your team is Number One – projects are like herding cats – they have different personalities and competing interests so having the right people on your project team from the start will make the difference between a success and a disaster. State clearly in the application why your team will ensure your project will be successful (based on their previous experience).
- Has it been done before? – your project idea may be brand new to you but there’s a good chance that someone else may have already do it. This doesn’t mean that you still can’t apply – it means doing your research. Find out if the project idea has been funded before and see where you can ‘build’ on that project rather than replicate it.
- It’s not about content – e-learning projects are not all about developing something – they are about helping people change their current practices and processes. This funding gives people the time needed to develop themselves and others (and some content as well) so look at the project as a change management process rather than a content development process.
- Can others benefit? – the Government doesn’t just give you funding because they like you. They provide funding to help build capability and resources so make sure that you are able to (and willing) to share the outcomes and outputs of your project. Also remember that copyright of any outcomes/outputs becomes the property of the Commonwealth Government anyway.
- Can the project go beyond the trial? – you will need to demonstrate how your organisation will have the ability to ‘sustain’ the project beyond the trial phase … eg where will the fund/support/resources etc come from for ‘rolling out’ project idea if it is successful (which of course you hope it will be).
- Be realistic – Don’t see the funding as an opportunity to ‘boost your budget’. ‘Boosted Budgets’ in funding applications are very obvious to pick – they are usually for the exact amount of funding for which is available eg $50,000. Don’t start with the funding amount and work backwards – work out (and show these workings in your budget) how much it would cost your organisation/key stakeholders to run the project eg staff salaries/wages, admin support, tele-communication costs, professional development, resource development, consultants etc.
This funding closes around the middle of August, so the sooner you get started on the application writing the better. Good luck.
If you are interested in writing an application for the National VET E-learning Strategy funding speak to Allison Miller, Director of Vanguard Visions Consulting, who managed the allocation of e-learning project funding for the National VET E-learning Strategy (and its predecessor the Australian Flexible Learning Framework) for over five years.
Allison can also provide services for writing a National VET E-learning Strategy funding application, as well as write e-learning business cases, and e-learning system business requirements and/or options papers. Or provide e-learning consultancy and project management services.