Online learning has become a popular modality to learn new skills.
Demand for eLearning has been on the rise for the last decade – but the uptake and evolution of elearning as a mainstream modality for organizational learning over the last 2 years is more than the collective change from the last 10 years. This can be attributed to the COVID-19 induced restrictions such as remote working, increased need for cost reduction among businesses and the growth in technology infrastructure (including internet speed) combined with new age mobile app based learning platforms that make learning on the go truly possible.
Professionals and students alike actively use social media platforms and other avenues for online learning regularly. Companies have the opportunity to tap into providers of online content libraries to fast track the learning of their workforce, when it comes to common skill areas. When it comes to specialized topics that are specific to a company’s operations, processes or local / national regulations, they have the need to work with skilled learning content development companies.
Selecting the right partner for content development is half the battle when it comes to successful workforce development. This ensures engaging content that leads to high assimilation, better adoption and effective application at work.
Here are six things you must keep in mind while selecting a content development partner:
Check the basics – before engaging with any eLearning content developer, it’s a must for companies to do a thorough review of what they have to offer. Start by reviewing their sample portfolio. Aside from giving you better insight into how they conduct their training, you will also see how clients benefit from the training and courses they offer. Make sure to also look out for important factors like the design of their sample portfolio. Is it user-friendly? Is it cohesive? Is it confusing and cluttered? If you’re already having a hard time understanding the layout and design of a course, then what more when it comes to your employees? Aside from the sample portfolio, ask about their technological capability. What can they offer to enhance students’ eLearning experience? But keep this real and relevant to your organizational needs and maturity.
Experience in the training industry – Developing quality eLearning material is a function of context, content and creativity. So we recommend that you look for content development partners that have the right mix of training delivery experience, creative design capabilities and technology know-how when it comes to content authoring tools. Most companies tend to fall for design agencies that have eye-catching visuals and flashy interactivities. However, the prime mover here is proper instructional design which is a function of training design and delivery experience. So look for content development partners that have experience in training delivery as well.
Work on a proof of concept or pilot an eLearning course – do you need to pilot your eLearning course? Of course! You must ask your eLearning content developer about this as it’ll help you see what works and what needs improvement before you formally launch. Keep in mind that pilot testing should be more formative rather than evaluative. This gives both parties the opportunity to understand what is needed and what is possible.
Ask for client references to check for experience – if your eLearning content developer or provider has the experience you seek, then it won’t be a problem for them to provide client testimonials or references. This way, you’ll have a better gauge of how it’ll be to work with them. Still, don’t be too fixated on a company’s size. A big company doesn’t always mean it’s the best choice for your eLearning requirements. Sometimes, a smaller company may give you a more personalized, detailed service that best suits your goals.
Flexibility and fit – If you are just starting off in the eLearning journey, you might need someone who is open to educate your organization and at the same time take the lead to help you make choices. If you are a mature setup, you need someone who is ready to hit the ground running and become an extended arm of your L&D department. This might mean you need someone who is not hesitant to mix it up when it comes to engagement models. The most common engagement models that companies are open for include
- Cost plus model where the CLIENT chooses to borrow resources from the provider for a fixed time and manage their time / usage for a specific fee which is incremental to their costs. This works well for mature companies who know what they need clearly.
- MSA (Master Service Agreement) is a more flexible arrangement where CLIENTS tend to tap a mix of expertise and outputs under one contract with reasonable commitment of work.
- Output based contract is more common and works well for companies who are starting out with the service provider committing to a specific output and taking the lead to complete it rather than focus on time input
Weigh the pros and cons – after doing your research, asking the right questions, and meeting with eLearning content providers, create a SWOT analysis to see the pros and cons of each one. This way, you and your team will be able to see which eLearning content provider is the best fit for your online training goals. Remember, there are a lot of good eLearning content providers out there but what matters is that they can work well with you and deliver the best results with the budget and terms you agreed on.
Each of these 6 factors can be a separate blog article in itself. We’ll try and articulate some of these in more detail over the coming days so feel free to check back the blog section.