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Build In-house or Outsource E-learning? Assess Your Resources First

Build In-house or Outsource E-learning? Assess Your Resources First

In my earlier blog, I discussed the points you need to consider before deciding to buy or build your e-learning courses. The decision also hinges on whether you have the required resources to build an e-learning course. For this, you need to make a proper assessment because the development of e-learning requires the involvement of a large and diverse group of people with unique skill sets.

Being aware of this will help you assess whether you have the right people to develop your e-learning in-house or you need to hire some people, buy the course, or outsource it to a custom e-learning vendor.

Besides stakeholders who are the initiators and responsible for the project and have a clear vision of the requirements, let us take a look at the roles and responsibilities of other people involved in the process:

Project Manager: A project manager looks after the overall, day-to-day management of the project. He has the required planning and management skills, maintains good rapport with the team members, and be able to deliver on time. Consider whether you have such a person with knowledge of the complex timelines and resources involved in the project. Does he understand the complexities involved in managing an e-learning course? Is he organized and detail-oriented and more importantly, does he have the ability to get the work done from people before the deadline?

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): These people have authority over the subject and will be able to provide guidance on the content. They understand the importance of e-learning. They understand the content well and how it must be incorporated in the course. They help instructional designers in this aspect. Do you have such an expert in-house who has experience in training on the topic, especially for e-learning? If not, can the organization provide instructional guidance on how best to do it?

Instructional Designers: This is a very crucial role in the e-learning process. The instructional designer understands adult learning principles and designs the course based on them. He works with the SMEs to understand learner requirements and understands the target audience and their level of understanding. He is aware of the learning outcomes expected from the course and structures content and activities for learning. He devises instructional strategies for the course and designs the storyboard.

Graphic and Interface e Designers: They have thorough understanding of the possibilities and limitations of various e-learning authoring tools and have a keen eye for visual details and presentation and can work with a variety of multimedia.

Developers: They convert the design blueprint into functional courses. They know how to use multimedia, e-learning authoring tools and audio and video editing software to translate the course design into reality.

Technology Experts: They host the course on a specified platform in a specific format. They make the course accessible to learners across geographies and locations and ensure it is compatible with all learning devices.

Quality Analysts: They ensure the course meets all quality parameters including error-free content and check if the course functions as designed and whether it makes sense to the learner.

Do you have the resources?

These are the people involved in the e-learning course development process. Knowing this will help you assess whether you have the resources; if you do, is there a need to train them or do you need to hire people? How much training is required to get them up to speed? Or how much time do you have to bring in new people?

Consider these aspects and also the cost factor that comes with hiring and maintaining an extensive in-house team for your needs. Also consider the time and effort required to build the team. Would it be a wise option to develop your course in-house? Or would it be a better option to outsource the development or simply buy an off the shelf course?

After an assessment, your choice need not necessarily be clear-cut, you have a number of options:

  • You can still choose to buy some of the courses and build some in-house.
  • You can develop certain parts of the project in-house while outsourcing other parts of it.
  • You can benefit from the expertise provided by an outsourcing partner in instructional design, visual content, audio and narration and technology, while you can pick the SMEs and content developers in-house.

Knowing the resources involved in e-learning development and assessing if you have the required resources can help you take the right decision on how to meet the e-learning requirements in your organization. Do share your views.

E-learning 101: An Advanced Guide to E-learning Implementation

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