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Why Is It Better To Outsource Custom eLearning Content Development?
Developing an E-learning program can be challenging. Creating the right eLearning content takes thorough research about the training objectives and an analysis of the best practices to achieve them. In our previous blog post, we explored how the best practices for custom eLearning content development, you can read about it here.
Outsourcing custom eLearning content development is a sensible practice for most organizations. Often, you will incur substantial costs when building a custom corporate learning and development program. While custom eLearning content is decidedly more effective, the process of finding the right vendor for content development requires deliberation and careful planning.
This blog goes over a checklist of questions to ask when looking for a custom eLearning content provider for your organization.
Experience & Domain Expertise
A seasoned vendor will provide quality content compared to a new, inexperienced vendor. While researching and analyzing a potential vendor, look for awards and recognition bestowed. Look for recognition as vendors of quality of eLearning content by renowned research companies such as Brandon Hall, eLearningIndustry.com, etc. Vendor experience depends on the size of past projects and success.
While it is easier to validate a large service provider’s reliability, a small content provider can offer individual attention and a flexible approach to you as a customer. Smaller companies usually are heavily staffed with specialists of nuanced expertise. Here, the domain expertise of a company becomes most relevant. Consider their primary clients and choose the organization with expertise in your industry.
When it comes to domain expertise, the right vendor must have either industry knowledge or employ Subject Matter Experts. SMEs are experts who will assist the vendor organization and yourself in identifying the methods for making the content relevant and most effective. Having an SME with relevant experience will help plan and organize your training program in line with your expectations.
It is essential to consider whether the potential content development vendor has the necessary infrastructure to scale as per your requirements. As your training needs increase, it will be much simpler when working with the same organization. Scalability becomes especially important as eLearning content consistency can be critical to the success of a training program. The vendor must have the capability to scale up to meet an increase in demand. The ability to accommodate a potentially large and diverse number of attendees is worth consideration.
In-house Visual Design
Developing custom eLearning content involves crafting compelling visuals together with functional narratives. This means the potential vendor must have a skilled team of visual designers to work on your project. The visual design team, involving graphic designers and video editors (where applicable), bring to life the content created by the Instructional Design team. Evaluating the talent resource of a potential vendor is important to ensure the quality of work on par with expectations.
One great way to discern visual design expertise is by going over eLearning portfolios that feature the vendor’s skills and expertise. The overall quality of work contained in their eLearning portfolio can be a strong indication of their capabilities.
Willingness to engage with Advanced Technologies
When choosing an eLearning service provider, look for companies that are willing to engage and provide content that is in line with advanced technologies. In the digital age, the productivity of employees as well as the efficiency of training programs is closely tied with making the most of cutting-edge technologies.
- Multi-device Access and the mobile learning advantage: Most eLearning today takes place on-the-go. Cross-platform capability ensures seamless accessibility via desktop, tablets, or mobile phones. Your potential vendor must be able to provide content that works just as effectively across multiple devices and operating systems.
- Virtual laboratories (vLab): Virtual labs are simulated learning environments that are exceptional at providing close to real-life learning experiences. The advantage of virtual labs is that the element of risk is eliminated. In high-risk environments, training using vLabs can be a game-changer. However, not all custom eLearning content providers operate in this format of content creation. Virtual labs can be entirely simulated using Virtual Reality or partially simulated using Augmented Reality that builds upon the real world.
- Blended learning: Blended Learning integrates a traditional instructor-led classroom session with digital media. If Instructor-led training can be considered the gold standard of engaging and effective learning, blended learning has the potential to take the efficiency even further.
Watch this short video that illustrates, with some key examples, how digital design technology can be harnessed to enhance learning effectiveness:
Project Management Processes
An ideal custom eLearning content provider should have an effective internal project management process. This ensures that the time taken for the completion of a project is in line with the needs of your organization. Project management also shows accountability for your cost and time-heavy training program.
The success of an eLearning project depends on how it’s planned and managed. Here are some of the steps to except in a sound project management plan:
- Planning — Establish what the deliverables will be, along with resource allocation and expected date of delivery
- Instructional Design — Involves storyboarding, ascertaining the form of final content, development, and post-production
- Quality Checks
Quality Assurance Practices
Your potential eLearning custom content development vendor should have stringent quality assurance processes. Sound internal quality assurance processes mean less work for stakeholders and on-time delivery. This ensures that the final deliverables meet the expectations and achieve the intended training objectives.
For instance, interactive eLearning courses will need to be tested for responsiveness across browsers and devices. Effective quality analysis eliminates bugs and faulty content from reaching your learners.
It is reasonable to assume you may not understand the inner workings of content development for custom eLearning. Nevertheless, it is essential to have a clear idea of the potential expenses incurred. It will help determine the Return on Investment (ROI) from your training program. The right custom eLearning content vendor should be able to give you an estimate based on your content expectations along with payment milestones. The provided estimate should cover any software requirements along with the estimated time for the project to complete. Another additional expense that needs to be covered before signing on for the project is the cost, if applicable, for monthly maintenance and revisions of content. It is important to look for hidden costs at this point.
Often, it may be easier to work with an eLearning vendor that can both create content and effectively deploy it. In case you want to deploy the content on your organization’s Learning Management System, the question of compatibility should be raised early in the search for a vendor.
With over eleven years of experience and 8000+ hours of content delivered, Origin Learning should be your primary choice for custom eLearning content development. Our work has been rewarded by top agencies such as the Brandon Hall Group and Learning Technologies Awards.
To learn more about how we can take your next corporate training program to the next level, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Leave a date and time in the email and we will get in touch with you.