Ismael Pena Lopez has a post on ICTlogy on how to develop elearning at no cost ($) for non-profit organisations. His premise is that there are three main components to elearning – human resources, content and technology. Ismael says that you can develop a programme using e-Volunteers, an open source LMS and freely available content. Of course there is still a lot of sweat equity necessary, but a non-profit could develop some pretty good programmes using volunteers and a simple but robust technology platform, like wikipedia has done, where the content experts do not get a nickel.
My experience with elearning implementation is that most of the costs are incurred by adding administrative controls, like reports and tracking. Reducing administrative control would lessen the demands on the e-Volunteers and you would be left with your hosting costs. This could work fairly well, especially if the volunteers had a simple way to contribute to content development, mentoring, assessment, etc. I am sure that a lot of content and learning specialists in the world would help out with elearning programmes, like The Campus for Peace, if there was an easy mechanism to do so. It could be like a virtual Peace Corps. The key, I believe, is to lower the barriers to becoming a virtual volunteer and ensuring the fewest intermediaries are involved.
By the way, is anyone interested in volunteering to develop elearning programmes on wildlife and environmental education?