eLearning Outsourcing: How to do it right?

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Outsourcing eLearning development has become an established trend for some years now, and most organisations big or small are known to do this regularly. Still for some the question is – why the need for custom content when so much catalogue content is easily (and mostly cheaply) available? And a follow-up one – will the easily available content actually solve problems on an organisational level?’ Catalogue content has its place – especially when rolling out generic skills programs to a large audience. A little bit of additional planning will help you to do better with catalogue content – but let’s not digress. In general, custom content works better for all the proprietary knowledge that an organization has.

A big challenge with development of custom eLearning for most organizations is availability of in-house talent and the cost and time it takes to do it with that team.

Naturally, eLearning outsourcing becomes a preferred choice to have the best of both, quality and cost saving. However, it is important to understand how to get outsourcing initiatives right. As per the Brandon Hall eLearning Outsourcing eBook, about 62% of outsourcing relationships fail at some point or another. Why so? Because usually the steps taken, and the background research done before outsourcing goes wrong. So, how to do it right?

So, where could you be going wrong? Vendor selection?

Very often organisations tend to choose vendors at haste, without adequate evaluation, only to end up making wrong choices, resulting in missed deadlines, substandard output and not so professional experiences. That experience could even turn them off to outsourcing itself, which, though logical, unfortunately is not the best for their own business. To avoid such issues, organizations could evaluate a potential vendor on the basis of the ‘Four C framework’ – capability, credibility, cost, and continuance.

An eLearning development vendor should have eLearning as its core business. To evaluate capability, there are a few points organisations must consider.

  • Review their website from both, design and content perspective.
  • Go through their blogs and work samples to evaluate their expertise in learning and development.
  • Ask for profiles of development team members; understand their development processes and working styles.
  • Check the different LMS systems they have integrated their courses on.
  • Finally, enquire about what all they would NOT DO.


To evaluate the credibility of an eLearning development vendor, you may want to:

  • Check how long have they been in business, and conduct a financial review to make sure that the company is profitable and hence stable.
  • Speak with some of their long-term customers.
  • See if the vendor has won any awards or any other recognition.
  • Enquire if the vendor is willing to do a small, free/discounted ‘proof of concept’ project for you.


Seeking cost advantages is bound to happen, for that you may want to consider:

  • ‘Cheaper the better’ is not always the best philosophy.
  • Look at cost-to-quality ratio over just cost cutting.
  • Always provide detailed scope of work and point to a reference output; while asking competing vendors to quote on this basis.


You may also want to ensure a long-term association with a good vendor.

  • Check if you wish to increase business with them (scalability).
  • Ask how they keep up with latest trends in the domain.

Training Industry’ 2020 Training Outsourcing Watch List, gives a list of top training outsourcing companies. Upside Learning Solutions has successfully made it to this list for 6 years in a row, and has been recognised as a leading eLearning outsourcing company.

At Upside Learning, we have been helping our clients worldwide since 2004 with solutions that have evolved with the market and with changing needs of our clients. Our investments in innovation have meant that we are ready with new solutions before our clients start requesting for them. More importantly, we focus on building relationships and take pride on the fact that we have several clients who have been consistently outsourcing their eLearning development to us for more than 5 years.

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