Are you getting ready to outsource your eLearning? If so, have you already gathered your assets and conducted a thorough inventory? In this article, I’ll share 7 tips to evaluate your assets before you outsource eLearning.
Outsourcing eLearning can help you save time and make effective use of your resources. The eLearning content provider handles all of the eLearning content development and Project Management tasks, which gives you the chance to focus on other aspects of your eLearning program. However, there is some prep work involved. Thorough evaluations improve eLearning ROI and ensure a smooth collaboration. Here are 7 tips to take inventory of your current eLearning tools and materials before you outsource.
First things first. Create a list of people who will be a valuable asset on your eLearning team. Include a good mix of eLearning professionals; from IT experts to Instructional Designers. These people serve as your consultants and advisors throughout the process. They are also going to help you deploy your eLearning content when it’s delivered. Ideally, you should choose people who are already familiar with the topic or can offer unique insight. Host a kickoff meeting to clarify goals, expectations, and the desired outcomes. Then schedule periodic meetings to keep everyone on the same page. Project Management online tools may also come in handy. They allow you to delegate tasks and create a group calendar. As such, every member of your eLearning team can track their responsibilities and learn about important updates.
There may be a lot of eLearning content to sift through. And you don’t have the time, manpower, or resources to evaluate every asset. As such, you need to focus your efforts and set your objectives beforehand. What is the scope of outsourcing an eLearning project? What subject matter does your eLearning provider need to create engaging eLearning materials? Do you need to gather all of your resources up front, or can you wait until the next phase? This is the time to get your eLearning team on board to sort through your resources and choose what’s necessary.
Conduct surveys, social media polls, and focus groups to learn as much as possible about your audience. Find out what motivates them, which devices they prefer, and what they expect from your eLearning course. All of this valuable data can help you evaluate your current resources and select the most effective elements. For example, online learners indicate that they are looking for more interactive, real world exercises to put the training into context. You can bring this up during your next meeting with the eLearning vendor, who can brainstorm possible solutions. Online learner feedback is also useful after the eLearning content is complete. For example, focus groups and interviews that enable you to fine tune the finished eLearning deliverable.
You may already have tools at your disposal that the eLearning content provider can utilize. This can save both time and money. Additionally, you have the ability to modify their eLearning content in the future, instead of having to hire them to update or maintain your eLearning course. On the other hand, you may discover that your existing tools are out-of-date or irrelevant. In which case you should consider investing in new ones or finding an eLearning vendor that provides them for you. Don’t hesitate to ask them about their go-to tools and the features they include.
You already know that your Subject Matter Expert is a treasure trove of valuable information. As such, they can help you pick-and-choose resources for outsourcing your eLearning project. They can also provide you with additional information that the eLearning provider requires. Ideally, your Subject Matter Expert should get involved in all eLearning outsourcing meetings. Invite them to offer their input and recommendations. This ensures that the eLearning content provider knows exactly what you want to achieve and how best to achieve it. For example, the SME may suggest additional eLearning activities or a different form of assessment based on online learners’ needs.
Does your current eLearning program need some work? Are you just looking for supplemental materials to add to your existing eLearning course? You must evaluate your current eLearning strategy to identify areas for improvement and strengths. This allows you to omit resources that are fundamentally flawed instead of passing them along to the eLearning provider. You can also voice your concerns about the existing eLearning program so that your eLearning provider doesn’t repeat the same mistakes. This may involve task analysis, skill evaluations, and on-the-job observations. LMS metrics are an amazing source of data for your eLearning provider, as well. Share your analytics so that they can help you address existing gaps.
There are a variety of reasons why you should connect with your eLearning provider. First and foremost, it gives you the opportunity to set the terms and define expectations. What are they going to deliver? When? And what do they need from your organization? Open communication also allows you to determine which resources they already have. For example, they may already own the software you require or have a Subject Matter Expert on their eLearning team. As such, you won’t need to worry about purchasing the tool or hiring an expert. Schedule a meeting, in-person or online, and compile a list of questions to ask. Request an itemized list of what the cost covers, including software and personnel. This is also your opportunity to clarify any confusion and reiterate your goals and objectives.
These 7 tips can help you take stock of your current resources and get your eLearning team ready for the task ahead. It may take time to tackle the prep work. However, a detailed inventory ensures that your eLearning provider has all the information they need. It can even reduce your development costs, as you may already have some of the eLearning content on-hand.
Are you still wondering if in-house or vendor-led is the right approach? Read the article 7 Advantages Of Outsourcing Corporate eLearning to discover the advantages of opting for corporate eLearning outsourcing.