Choosing the right vendor for Custom Learning Development is not easy as it involves making an informed decision on various parameters like capability, credibility, costs and continuance of the vendor. Even more so, as the solution has the potential to impact behavior and performance at various levels. What it eventually boils down to is a value for money solution.
Organizations are constantly on a lookout for learning solutions that don’t just bring about learner engagement but also offer ‘great’ quality, innovation, experience and expertise, and provide more value for each dollar invested.
In general terms, value for money is a function of whether or not an organization has obtained the utmost benefit from the product(s)/service(s), with respect to the investments made for acquiring it. However, many a time organizations keep looking for inexpensive solutions, considering only the immediate cost and ignoring the future costs, which is a myopic approach and may lead to higher costs (tangible and intangible) in the long run.
Achieving value for money is generally described in terms of 3 Es – Economy, Efficiency and Effectiveness. In the context of learning solutions, these 3 Es can serve as guidelines to get Great, Value for Money Custom Learning Solutions as below:
- Outsource – One of the main advantages of outsourcing your learning solutions development is the perceptible cost advantage. It enables you to reduce your fixed cost and leverage the scalability and diverse capabilities of the service providers. Learn more about why you should consider eLearning outsourcing and how to select a vendor.
- Set clear deadlines – And stick to those, as time is money. Whether you are outsourcing your learning development or doing it in-house, it’s important to plan the entire development process beforehand, create milestones with deadlines and then work towards achieving those.
- Use tools – There are a number of tools available which can be used for Custom Learning development. If you have a clear understanding about the advantages and disadvantages of the tools, and resources in-house that can work on those to produce the desired output, you can very well choose to spend your money on the right tool. Learn more about How To Choose An Authoring Tool For Your HTML eLearning Development.
- Leverage the vendor’s experience – One of the keys to making eLearning Outsourcing Work is to select a capable and experienced vendor. A team that has delivered a large number of projects usually has richer experience to contribute to your project(s) and can even handle unforeseen situations. Greater the experience, smoother the process of development, with value additions from the vendor’s past experiences.
- Quality vs. Cost and Time – Learning content produced in haste may cost you much more in the long run as compared to that based on sound instructional design, visual sophistication and digital interaction; even if the latter is costly (initially) and takes a longer development time (due to iterative nature of the process).
- Check for the vendor’s development processes – An eLearning development process, in addition to being mature and based on vendor’s past experience, needs to be flexible to accommodate the iterative nature of eLearning content development and work with your own processes.
- Streamline communication – With the vendor(s) you choose and work with, it is imperative and critical to set up a clear and streamlined communication and collaboration mechanism. There are a number of tools available which can help you do this – project tracking systems/tools, feedback sharing tools etc.
- Visualize, plan, work – It is critical that all development be aligned with a well defined and clear business goal. Begin with a vision of what you want to achieve and why, then put a plan together to get there. Whether outsourcing or developing in-house, it’s crucial to set up a process that helps in maintaining a disciplined approach towards work.
- Use innovative approaches in development – Lookout for some signs of continuous improvement or innovation setup within the vendor’s company. Encourage discussions with your vendor/within the team to explore advances in the field and how you could take advantage of them. Also consider the aspect of technological upgrades in the near future, as the process of replacing old with new can interrupt your routine and productivity. Minimize such disruptions by carefully determining short- and long-term objectives and working with your eLearning vendor to develop learning solutions that evolves with the times.
- Think long-term partnership – The process of developing great eLearning is long and iterative, so be ready to invest your time, resources and experience in the partner/vendor. Carefully determine your short- and long-term business objectives and work with your vendor to develop courses that help achieve them.
- Get some metrics – While there is no clear and uniform way of calculating ROI of eLearning investments, it is still recommended that within the context of your business goals and go-to-market strategy, with the help of your other key stakeholders, define and derive at a list of key parameters (tangible and intangible) that can be used to evaluate the success/ effectiveness of the eLearning initiative.
These are some of the guidelines that we have been following, and succeeding on for the past 11 years. Here’s a video that highlights how we ensure Great Value For Money for every Custom Learning Solution that we create and deliver.
We don’t stop at good. We #DoGreat.