High-quality online training resources are needed for the modern workforce. But how do you pick the perfect eLearning content provider for the job?

Sometimes outsourcing your eLearning content is the most cost-effective option. Either you simply don’t have an in-house development team, or they’re already weighed down with other work responsibilities. The eLearning content provider may also have the tools and talent you’re looking for to create specialized online training resources. The secret is choosing an eLearning partner who upholds your brand image, meshes with your L&D team, and fits into your budget. These eight tips can help you find the ideal content provider to outsource your corporate eLearning program.

Review their Online Portfolio
Evaluate their online portfolio to determine the quality of their work and the breadth of their experience. They should have past work samples and references that showcase their strong suits. But you must also pay attention to the design of the online portfolio, itself. Is it cohesive and easy to navigate? Or does the eLearning content provider clutter the layout with so many graphics and text blocks that reflect poorly on their design abilities?

Use an Online Directory to Choose the Top Candidates
Online directories allow you to get a general overview of which eLearning content providers are the best fit for your online training program. You can view their background, specializations, and unique selling points, as well as contact them directly to learn more about what they can offer your organization. Also, pay close attention to how long they’ve been in business and their overall user satisfaction score.

Read Reviews to Evaluate the Pros and Cons
Many online reviews will highlight the strong suits of the eLearning content provider. For example, they provided superior service or a high-quality finished product that supported the objectives. However, you should also weigh the cons to get the complete picture. First, determine what’s important to your organization. For example, personalized customer support is at the top of your priority list. This allows you to zero-in on reviews that pertain to your needs and expectations.

Inquire about their Work Practices and Policies
You need to know how the eLearning content provider manages their time and available resources. Do they have policies in place to handle unexpected ‘emergencies’, such as unplanned revisions that might delay your eLearning course launch? Know about their in-house policies and work practices that will dictate how they’ll interact with your L&D team. For example, are they open to collaborating with your L&D department to ensure that the training objectives are met? Or do they maintain a closed-door policy that prevents your team from providing input throughout the process?

Request Work Samples in Your Niche
The eLearning content provider may have a vast amount of experience. But are they familiar with your industry or use case? Request work samples so that you can determine if their strengths align with your business needs and online training requirements. You can even invite them to create a paid test project to get a sense of their niche-related knowledge and expertise.

Analyze the eLearning Content Provider’s Tools of the Trade
Even the most experienced, knowledgeable eLearning content providers find it difficult to create meaningful online training content without the right tools. As such, you must not only evaluate their previous work but also which software and resources they have on-hand. Do they have cutting-edge eLearning authoring tools that can give you the interactive online training resources you require? If they are taking care of the LMS implementation, you should also research their system of choice. Will your L&D team have access to the platform to make changes and view reports?

Set Up an Interview with Key Stakeholders
Arrange a meeting with all relevant parties of the eLearning content provider that includes L&D team, HR managers, upper management, and investors (if applicable). You can even use a video conferencing tool to overcome geographical barriers. Prepare a list of questions and give everyone the opportunity to voice their concerns. They should also have the chance to clarify the training objectives and make suggestions.

Request a Detailed Cost Estimate
Request an itemized expense sheet from the eLearning content provider so that you can create a realistic budget and choose the best partner. They should account for any hidden fees, such as ongoing maintenance, as well as support services, future revisions and updates, and additional tools they require. You must be prepared to provide them with a formal request that includes your use case, training objectives, and other pertinent details.

Bonus Tip: Get Everything in Writing!

The most successful partnerships begin with documentation. Get everything in writing so that there aren’t any issues later. For example, the eLearning content provider suddenly sends you a bill for the latest content revisions. A bill you weren’t expecting and didn’t budget for. You will have the opportunity to refer to the contract you originally signed to verify the expense or dispute it. You may not foresee any problems now, but ambiguities can cause conflicts down the line.

The ideal scenario would be to join forces with an experienced eLearning content provider who becomes a long-term collaborator. You can rely on them to develop memorable and engaging content for your online training courses for years to come. After all, they’re already familiar with your brand and audience.

Have you been considering whether it is more cost-efficient to tackle the task in-house or outsource it? Have you tried hard at eLearning course development, but you’re still not achieving the desired results? Download the free guide How to Buy Learning and Development to find out the benefits of eLearning outsourcing, challenges and opportunities of L&D outsourcing, and how to develop and L&D outsourcing strategy.

AUTHOR
Christopher Pappas

Christopher Pappas

About the author: Christopher is the founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA, and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU. eLearning Blogger | EduTechpreneur | eLearning Analyst | Speaker | Social Media Addict

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