Should you outsource training content development?
When weighing the options there are a variety of things to consider, from the size of your eLearning budget and the scope of your corporate eLearning project to the experience level of your staff. In fact, this important decision can be one of the most challenging aspects of developing your online training program. This article will walk you through the advantages of vendor-led vs. in-house corporate eLearning, stating the benefits that each can offer your organization.
Taking care of your online training development in-house is typically more cost effective as you won’t have to pay for the experience or expertise of an eLearning vendor. However, you will need to build a Learning & Development team who can create every aspect of your online training program from start to finish. This may include an Instructional Designer, Graphic Designer, Subject Matter Expert, and IT support staff. You’ll also need to leave room in your eLearning budget for tools, such as eLearning authoring tools, sound and video editing software, and Learning Management Systems. Fortunately, once you have all of these resources on-hand you can develop a broad range of online training courses, modules, and online activities for your corporate learners.
Developing Online Training in-house is ideal for organizations which have expertise to create training materials, including storyboards, activities, text-based content, images, and multimedia components within the organization. Self-creation and management is a good option for companies who already have talented, skill, and knowledgeable eLearning professionals in their employee pool. More specifically, some of the top advantages are:
- Data safety. Ensures that your data stays safe and secure, especially when sensitive information is involved. You won’t have to worry about your data falling into the wrong hands, as it will all be stored in your local server.
- Control over training – Developing and deploying your online training in-house offers you complete creative and execution control over your training. From the color scheme to the layout, you have direct input in every aspect of your online training course design. You can ensure every piece of content will align with your brand imaging. They are already familiar with your company message and the tone you are trying to convey.
- Improve employee skill sets. Your corporate eLearning developers will have the opportunity to put all of their knowledge to use and build their skills throughout the process. When it’s time to create the next online training course they will be even more experience and knowledgeable than before.
- Greater flexibility and Ease of Maintenance. If you want to make a significant change to the layout of your online training course or add an extra online activity halfway through the eLearning design process, you can simply notify your Learning & Development team. This would be much more difficult if you went through a vendor, and it would come at an extra cost.
- Faster turnaround times. More control, experience, and subject matters expertise allow internal employees to meet tighter deadlines. Instead of allocating three months to develop your online training outside, a dedicated internal employee may be able to take care of in one.
Advantages of Using A Vendor For Online Training Development
Opting for vendor-led online training development typically means higher costs, but you also have an experienced and qualified Learning & Development team at your disposal without having to add them to your payroll. However, you need to choose the right eLearning vendor in order to get the most from your investment. Check their references and request an estimate for the deliverable. Ask about their past eLearning projects, experience level, skills, and which team members they have on board. You may even want to conduct a brief interview to get a feel for their professionalism and personality. Prepare a list of questions that you want to ask in advance and request to see their eLearning portfolio.
Outsourcing your eLearning project to a vendor is ideal for organizations which need help developing materials and analyzing their current online training program. You should already have a clear idea of what you hope to achieve, your online training goals, and performance gaps that you need to fill. In fact, you may want to create a roadmap for the vendor to follow, just to be sure that everyone in on the same page. The top advantages of outsourcing your online training development to an external vendor are:
- Access to a diverse talent pool. Vendors typically have diverse group of eLearning professionals at their disposal, from graphic designers to experienced writers. This means that you have access to their talent pool once you contract them for your corporate eLearning project. Instead of having to hire full-time online training specialists, you can simply enlist the aid of a vendor.
- No surprise expenses. eLearning vendors usually give you an estimate and detailed pricing sheet beforehand. As such, you won’t have to worry about any unexpected fees down the line. If you develop your online training in-house there is bound to be at least one or two hurdles that incur extra costs.
- Ideal for smaller projects. Smaller eLearning projects have lesser complexity and it is easy for someone outside to complete those projects without hassles.
- Innovation. The extra manpower, experience, larger development eLearning development teams, additional eLearning authoring tools, and a broader range of skills allows vendors to create content which is difficult for someone sitting inside an organization.
- Selective sourcing: Organizations always have the option to use vendor for small non-strategic work and keeping core development with themselves. This ensures that organizations are able to expand their scope of work and roll out more training content than they would otherwise do.
So, which choice is best for your online training needs? Both in-house and vendor-led eLearning offer their own unique benefits, and choosing the right strategy depends on your eLearning budget, staff experience, development timeline, and organizational objectives. Hopefully this article has given you some food for thought and brought you one step closer to making your final decision.