Custom eLearning Development: Questions that Help Choose the Right Partner
Typically, you would consider developing eLearning courses in-house if you have the required skill sets and capacity. Ideally, organizations that operate in niche areas where the eLearning solution is critical to their core business would go in for in-house solutions. If you have the requisite manpower, infrastructure, software licenses, it might prove to be cost-effective to develop in-house. Else, you might want to consider outsourcing your requirement.
Outsourcing would be beneficial if you do not have the requisite manpower in-house to take care of eLearning projects end to end. E-learning development involves the services of instructional designers, visual designers, multimedia developers, project managers and of course subject matter experts. If you do not have these requisite resources, you may decide to outsource either the whole or part of the solution to an external vendor who can accomplish the task at a lower cost and can assure you of the desired quality and speed.
So, how does one go about choosing a vendor to develop an eLearning course? The first step would be to create a Request for Proposal (RFP) that describes, in detail, your requirement. It gives clear and specific information about the solution you expect from vendors, target audience, learning objectives and other details regarding the scope of work. To know more about the key components of an RFP, check out this blog. An RFP enables you to assess vendors and their expertise in completing the assigned project.
Once you have responses to the RFP, you need to choose the right vendor for your eLearning project. Choosing an eLearning outsourcing vendor is critical for the success of your eLearning project. Check out critical questions that help you identify the right partner.
If you are more of a video person and would like to know the tips for choosing an outsourcing vendor, please see the following video. Else, you can read on for further information.
Tips for selecting an E-learning Outsourcing Vendor
Are they proficient in eLearning development?
You can assess the proficiency and expertise of vendors, right from the time they respond to your RFP. Check out their response time, the details with which they have studied your RFP and the accuracy with which they have responded to all your requirements.
Do they have experienced support staff?
Do they have writers and instructional designers who are experienced to take on your standard and volume of work? Are they eager to do it? Do they have professional qualifications that prove their caliber? Have you checked out their resumes? It helps to interact with the team and the project manager who is likely to handle your project to assess their preparedness.
Does the vendor have enough past work to show his competence?
Your courses must be targeted to teaching a particular subject. Can your vendor furnish any case studies that were successfully implemented? Check out different kinds of parameters that show the vendor's worth.
How willing are they to showcase portfolio of similar projects?
Ask your vendor to show you courses or demos that resemble what you're looking for. If he has something like that, he will show it to you happily or may create one using your content.
Are they willing to share project information?
Often, vendors are blamed for not disclosing project information particularly about the development cycle. If your vendor is open about the problems he encounters and shares them with you, it can work in his favor at selection time.
Are they able to grasp difficult or specialized concepts?
There are courses that deal in difficult concepts, but if a vendor can get a handle on these concepts and explain it in simple terms, he has a clear edge over his competitors. It helps if a vendor can prove that they have subject matter experts, who are experts in your domain as a part of the team that is going to work on your project.
Can they show you a prototype of the course?
Most often, vendors make the mistake of waiting to complete the whole course before showing it to the client. It's best, however, to use a vendor who has in-built prototyping steps in the instructional development process. He should create a prototype of all the newness in the course as it develops and show it to the client.
Are they willing to be transparent with the quote given?
You may be worried about being overcharged for content creation and development. So, to cut out the element of surprise, ask for a detailed quotation. Usually, as the level of sophistication increases and you ask for media-rich content like videos, audio and animations, the cost will escalate proportionately. You must sample all bids for your project.
If you develop your content team or vendor on these lines, you will be able to make a more informed choice and get better value for your money.
If you would like to have more information regarding this, you can download this free eBook that acts as a comprehensive guide to eLearning outsourcing.