Choosing the right eLearning company for the job is no small feat. In this article, I’ll highlight the 8 things to consider when hiring your next eLearning outsourcing partner.
Hiring An eLearning Outsourcing Provider: 8 Things To Look For
eLearning outsourcing offers a variety of advantages. You have the ability to tap into the expertise of an experienced eLearning professional or company and you can devote your internal resources to other endeavors without sacrificing high quality online training content. But how do you know which eLearning outsourcing provider is best for your organization? Here are 8 things to look for when hiring an eLearning outsourcing provider.
1. Clear Communication Guidelines
Everyone needs to know what to expect during the eLearning project. Namely, how often you will communicate, which tools you’ll use to keep in touch and who will be the liaison between the client and your eLearning team. These should all be set forth in communication guidelines that you establish beforehand. Meet with the eLearning outsourcing provider to discuss the key points, so that there aren’t any ambiguities. For example, you know that any emails received on the weekends will be answered on Monday. Or that your point of contact is the eLearning Project Manager, who can address your questions and concerns via the client contact form.
2. Experience in Your eLearning Niche
Your eLearning outsourcing provider should have experience in your field. For instance, they have worked on similar eLearning projects in the past, or have a resident Subject Matter Expert who is knowledgeable about your eLearning niche. Don’t hesitate to ask for samples of relevant work and request a meeting with their in-house expert. Their eLearning portfolio should also give you a good indication of the skills they possess that pertain to your eLearning project. If they don’t have experience in your eLearning niche, they must at least be able to tell you how past tasks tie into your online training content. For instance, if they’ve developed online training simulations and scenarios, this makes them a viable candidate for your health and safety compliance online training course, which centers on real-world application.
3. Data Security Protocols
Is your data safe in the hands of your eLearning outsourcing provider? Your eLearning outsourcing partner should have data safety protocols in place to ensure that your information stays in-house instead of being vulnerable to hacks and corrupted hard drives. For example, they back everything up on the cloud or an encrypted server. It’s also wise to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, so that your data is safeguarded on human level. This agreement should state that you own all of the propriety information and that all online training materials will be returned at the end of the eLearning project.
4. Dedicated Development Team With Passion For The eLearning Project
Ideally, the eLearning outsourcing provider should have a dedicated team who truly enjoys their work. They must have a passion for the eLearning project, and be able to devote their full attention to your online training content. Of course, popular eLearning service providers are probably juggling multiple eLearning projects at once. But that doesn’t mean you should have to sacrifice open communication and high quality deliverables. Request a list of everyone who will be working on your eLearning project, including their past experience, contact info, and task assignments. You might even consider a pre-launch kick-off meeting to verify that all the key players understand your vision.
5. Effective eLearning Project Manager
The outsourcing eLearning provider needs to provide you with a point of contact who fields your questions. In most cases, this is the eLearning Project Manager that oversees the rest of the eLearning team and delegates tasks. You should be able to reach out to this individual whenever the need arises. For example, you need to revise the current layout to make room for another serious game or online training simulation. Request their name, phone number, email, and other relevant contact details, and introduce yourself before the eLearning project begins, so that they know the point of contact on your end.
6. Detailed Estimates
The eLearning outsourcing provider needs to be able to provide you with a breakdown of the costs involved. This should cover any and all resources, man power, and extra fees, such as expenses that you will incur for additional support services or content revisions. Make certain that the eLearning outsourcing provider has to request approval for additional costs. For example, an eLearning authoring tool that was not included in the original estimate. In fact, get everything in writing so that there aren’t any headaches later on.
7. The eLearning Outsourcing Provider Welcomes Client Input
The important thing to remember regarding eLearning outsourcing is that it’s a collaboration. You are hiring the eLearning outsourcing provider to perform services and create online training content. But the eLearning outsourcing provider must be willing to involve you in the process instead of making you sit on the sidelines. They should welcome your input and take your ideas into consideration. Ultimately, it’s a partnership. In the beginning, specify how often you would like to see the work in progress, and how you expect the eLearning outsourcing provider to incorporate your eLearning feedback. For instance, they should integrate the changes that you requested before the next update meeting. Price also comes into play, as some eLearning outsourcing providers charge for revisions. Therefore, you may want to opt for a partner who includes at least one or two revision rounds in the cost.
8. Pre-Determined Schedules With Milestones
Everyone must be on the same page about delivery dates, milestones, and feedback sessions. For instance, you are going to meet with them after each development phase in order to provide your input. Meet with the eLearning outsourcing provider to create a project calendar that includes progress checks and important tasks. You should also leave room for unforeseen issues, such as interactive online training content that takes longer than expected, or glitches that slow down the eLearning development process.
Do your top candidates meet all of these requirements? Are they willing to open the lines of communication and welcome your feedback? All of the aforementioned prerequisites ensure that your organization gets the best eLearning ROI; not to mention, reaps the rewards of a long and fruitful eLearning partnership.
Do you have all the key players on your team? Read the article 8 Key Players To Consider In eLearning Outsourcing to discover 8 essential collaborators you need when outsourcing eLearning.
And before outsourcing, read the article 7 Tips to Evaluate Your Resources Before Outsourcing eLearning to see how to determine if you should outsourcing eLearning.