The benefits to enrolling in an eLearning course, mostly in terms of convenience and affordability, makes it a rule of thumb for every organization to do away the limitations of outsourcing eLearning content development as well as in-house the same.
On the organization’s side, once you’ve decided to move forward with eLearning, you have two options: create it in-house or outsource design and development. To save money, organizations sometimes attempt to create eLearning in-house but underestimate the knowledge, skills, and time needed to achieve an effective outcome. The final product usually does not yield the anticipated results, and they often seek outside help to “fix” or maintain it.
Taking a step back, one needs to be certain about why you want to outsource. To do away with eLearning content development outsourcing limitations, the requirement needs to be vetted for its objective – strategic vis-a-vis opportunistic. Some of the factors supporting the cause for outsourcing would ideally include scalability (to take up work in greater volumes), a reduction in time to deliver/time to market, cutting costs, accessing talent that you do not have, enhancing your portfolio with newer, better, and more innovative solutions.
Outsourcing E-learning Content Development
Formulating an outsourcing strategy, particularly to minimize the probable limitations of outsourcing an eLearning content development exercise, that delivers the essential value mandates the selection of the correct partner who is characterized by an understanding of the complexity involved in the design, development and implementation of various eLearning solutions. Here, an onshore partner is your access to more talent; to help you enhance your existing portfolio at a substantial cost whereas an offshore partner will be comparatively lighter on your wallet, with other gains, though you would require factoring in challenges such as time zone differences, communication, and cultural differences. Furthermore, most organizations tend opt for multiple partners as a means of insurance.
On a granular level, one needs to look at broadly two types of attributes in a prospective eLearning content development partner. The basics or must have attributes map to the typical criteria you may already be aware of such as expertise and relevant experience, project management capability (particularly for a globally distributed development), processes and development methodology, the talent pool, scalability, sound understanding of authoring tools and technology and infrastructure and measures to protect your Intellectual Property (IP).
The need of the hour attributes need to reflect the aspects that will help you manage your “learning transformation” needs of today. More significantly, they will help you lay the foundations for a long-term partnership aligned to the dynamic mandate of the future. They would include Focus on innovation, strong solution-architecting capability and agility. The absence of the above reflect the limitations of an eLearning content development outsourcing exercise.
In light of the above it makes sense to make sure to de-risk or mitigate the risks inherent with outsourcing. One may have factored for the outsourcing cost and allocated time to your Project Managers appropriately; however, lack of clarity in understanding the brief on the part of your partner may lead to multiple reworks or iterations aka hidden costs.
Additionally, the pilot stage might be handled by your partner’s best talent to seize your attention and secure the contract, whereas you may well be working with a completely different team that may not match expectations, with variations in the output and inconsistency in its quality. The learning industry is very dynamic where you need to make sure that your partner is in sync with the change and aligned to your future goals to overcome the potential limitations of an outsourced eLearning content development exercise.