Outsourcing eLearning for an organization is not just investing into a project/course, it is much more than that; it is like investing in their internal reputation, because if they land up with a substandard product they will lose both money and reputation in the eyes of their peers.
However we don’t see organizations spending enough time to qualify right vendors.
As an eLearning Solution Specialist, I attend to many enquiries across the globe and majority of them start and end with discussions about the cost.
I don’t think it is a good practice of qualifying a vendor only on the cost parameter, especially when you do not have extensive knowledge on current trends/practices and relevant skill sets.
There are some other areas to focus on when selecting an eLearning vendor. Here is a checklist that can help you.
1. How long they have been in this business?
This will help you to know whether the company has reputable amount of eLearning experience or not. It does not mean that that you need to disqualify the others just because they have less experience, but the longer the better!
It is recommended that the vendor should have been in this business for a minimum of 5 years dealing with large organizations.
2. Is eLearning their primary business?
These days many software and technology companies are adding eLearning to the list of their services. They are also offering/spreading themselves with a wide range of products and services under the umbrella term of “eLearning”.
So you need to make sure that they are qualified and experienced vendors with eLearning as their primary area of business.
3. Do they have any references?
Ask for 3-4 references and find out the details about the vendors project management, type of projects handled and how long have been they working together.
Try to identify whether they had any problems or concerns with the vendor.
4. Can they provide samples?
Ask for some samples (May be a Storyboard or a final course sample). Samples demonstrate their past projects and also their level of expertise.
See if their demos can help you assess whether their capabilities can reach your needs or expectations. If it doesn’t, then ask if they have can provide other materials that can better demonstrate their expertise and experience.
5. Do they have a defined development process?
It is very important that the vendor should follow a well-defined eLearning development process optimized for best results. eLearning involves design, development, testing and delivery.
The vendor should understand the importance of these crucial development steps and define/document them in their process.
6. What is their level of technical expertise?
Before asking this question, try to get some knowledge on general eLearning software development landscape using research.
Find out whether the vendor has experience in developing SCORM/AICC compliant courses, Learning Management Systems (LMSs), Cross Platform Tools and Authoring Tools.
7. How willing are they to invest in a proof of concept?
Asking a vendor to create a proof of concept (may be a rough Storyboard or a prototype) on a ‘No Obligation Basis’ is an excellent strategy to qualify a right vendor.
Vendor’s willingness to create the storyboard/ prototype shows his level of commitment and confidence.
8. With what type of information is he ready to start?
Find out what information/inputs does the vendor need to start the course development. Can they create accurate content for your need? Can they create an outline and course out of your raw material? Can they assist you with creating interactive courses out of your PowerPoint or do they need the final storyboard from your side?
This information will let you know his level of expertise in areas of content creation, instructional designing, graphics and course development.
9. How much time is he demanding from you?
As you know, your SME (Subject Matter Expert) cannot spend time in Instructional Designing and course development, because it is not their primary job. They can just get in for reviews and approvals.
So the vendor should not submit incomplete work and ask the SME to fill in the gaps. They should conserve the time of the SME.
10. What is the cost to quality ratio?
Instead of focusing only on the cost, find out what is that you will get for your investment, evaluate the cost to quality ratio.
If you are clear with the scope of what you want, you can also seek quotes/cost estimations from other competing vendors. Many times small companies offer a lower price for the same scope and quality.
Vendor screening and selection is the first step to get into working relationship with a trustworthy partner.
Even if you are about to invest in a small course/project of only USD 1000, I strongly recommend you to get the answers for all these 10 questions, especially if your company is serious about eLearning and may want to invest more into it. This will be a foundation for your future projects when you scale up. Remember there are always difficulties working on large projects, so a well-researched partner, with whom you have already been working will always be an advantage.
Hope you have found this checklist useful. Do share if you want to add more questions to it.
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It is well-known that the use of first-rate animations and graphics plays a key role in enhancing the efficacy of an online learning course. But, how can you develop top-notch animations and graphics for your eLearning course? Well, there are many tools in the market to create these multimedia elements. But, the most widely used of all these tools is Adobe Suite. A major component of Adobe Suite is Flash, which is very popular.
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I often come across people who believe myths about rapid eLearning. They think that rapid eLearning lacks quality and it skips most of the instructional design steps in the process of creating eLearning courses faster. Some even believe that to take an online course, they need to have technical know-how. Most people even think that rapid eLearning is baseless, inaccurate, and imprecise.
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As the demand towards learning through mobile is increasing, many organizations are looking for mobile compatible courses. Some want to convert their legacy course into the mobile-friendly format and the new courses to be compatible with all devices. To make the courses compatible with all mobile devices, they must be developed in HTML5 and based on responsive design.
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Recently, we have developed an eLearning course using Articulate Storyline for one of our clients. Later, he asked us to convert the course into a video. There is no option available in Articulate Storyline to convert an online course into a video, directly. In this blog, I will describe the steps involved in converting a course into a video.
Articulate Storyline – a developer’s dream and an instructional designer’s fantasy. This power packed authoring tool makes designers and learners go gaga over it! We have all seen and worked on this incredible tool, awe struck by its simplicity and innovation. These are the reasons why Articulate Storyline is the first tool that comes to a designer’s mind. You must be wondering how one tool can cater to different training needs. This is where Articulate Storyline sets itself apart from other authoring tools.
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My eLearning guru once talked to me about a simple technique that will help identify whether a training program is successful or not in no time. The interesting thing about this technique is that you can know the result, without looking at the course. All you have to do is place a voice-recorder in the development floor and once the course development is complete, ask one of your staff members to listen to the recording and note down the number of times, the words “client” and “learner” appeared in the recordings. If the number of instances in which the word “learner” is uttered are more than those of “client”, we can assume that the course is effective.
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It is common knowledge that the choice of the right online course authoring tool goes a long way in the creation of an effective eLearning course. But, how can you select tool that meets your requirements effectively? What are the things you need to consider? Let us see.
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It is common knowledge that a well-designed menu provides a good idea of the chapters in an eLearning course. So, how can you create an effective menu for your online course? What are the various ways of presenting information the menu of a digital course?
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Articulate Storyline is a wonderful authoring tool to develop interactive and engaging eLearning courses. Though it is the most preferred authoring tool for eLearning development, it has some limitations.
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Do you have stacks of PowerPoint presentations? Do you wish to convert them into engaging online courses? Well, you have to design the content by following an appropriate instructional design strategy and develop it Into an eLearning course using a rapid authoring tool. Here, I would like show how to convert your presentations into eLearning courses, using Articulate Studio.
Today, there are several rapid authoring tools in the market to, with such a wide range of choices, choosing the right authoring tool can be a difficult task. There are quite a few things to consider before you select the right rapid authoring tool and a good way to start is to ask yourself a few questions which will help you zero-in on an authoring tool that best suits your needs.
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Today, we see an increasing demand for game-based learning be it compliance, product or induction training, and with statistics that prove the same, the question arises which is the most sought after authoring tool for game based learning? While Flash is the most common option, however authoring tools such as storyline are not far behind! In this post, you will find out why Articulate Storyline is the best authoring tool in the business for game-based eLearning courses.
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Templates play key role in facilitating quick and effective development of online courses. Articulate Storyline comes with several in-built templates that help the eLearning developer make the best use of readymade layouts. It also allows customization of these templates which goes a long way in meeting client requirements efficiently.
Organizations today give more importance to safety than they did before. This is resulting in increased awareness about safety training. Using eLearning, you can deliver highly effective safety training, in quick time, at low cost.
PowerPoint is the key software in rapid eLearning development; there are many authoring tools, which come as add-ins to PowerPoint. With this application, we can do a lot of things very quickly and easily.
We will now see how PowerPoint can help us develop eLearning courses better.
It is common knowledge that learning technology is progressing at a feverish pace. Cutting edge developments are transforming the face of corporate training. However, there are many organizations that are yet to embrace these new developments. These firms continue to use “old” technologies to impart online training to their staff.
In my last post, I have explained how to add postquiz review feedback. In it, we have discussed how to add text and shapes. Do you know that we can even add media elements like audio, images and video s to the feedback?
This is pretty easy, and we have met the requirements of one of our clients who asked us to add audio to the feedback.
In this post, I would like to share how to add audio to the post-quiz review feedback. Follow one of the procedures described below to accomplish the task.
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When you develop your eLearning courses using Articulate Studio and Adobe Presenter, you need to develop in PowerPoint.To save time, while developing in PowerPoint, the first thing you have to do is create a Slide Master.By using the Slide Master, we can easily customize slide layouts as per the content requirement and reuse them. Using this feature, we can quickly update themes like font colors, styles and sizes in your eLearning presentation. For example, there are 100 slides in a presentation and if you want to update themes such as font size, stylesand colors, then we should go to the Slide Master and update the Slide Layouts, so that the changes will be applied to the entire presentation, and we need not update each slide.
The light box feature is very useful to provide additional information that appears as a popup for content in courses developed using Articulate Storyline.
According to a survey, conducted by the E-learning Guild, in 2013, most eLearning developers preferred to use Articulate Storyline. What makes this rapid authoring tool so popular? How can highly effective courses be developed using the software?
Training Managers would have made hundreds of presentations during the course of their jobs, handling an array of topics. These presentations serve as useful aids to train people face to face. Quite understandably, face to face presentations have only limited number of audiences. Wouldn’t it be useful if these presentations are converted into online courses that could meet the learning needs of many more in the organization?
Articulate Storyline is a great tool for developing eLearning courses rapidly. It has grown in its popularity as it introduced some new and exciting features and interactivities. Here are a few info-graphics that give you an idea about some of the key features of Articulate Storyline and how you can use it to enhance your eLearning courses. You could print these info-graphics and have them in front of you as you use the tool.
CC text is the closed caption text which appears on screen on slide while the learning is taking the course. It usually contains the audio script of the course. One of our clients had a peculiar requirement relating to the CC text which was met using Articulate Storyline. Here I would like to share his requirement and how it was met.
Time is money – Benjamin Franklin
It is common knowledge that eLearning developers are under constant pressure to create online courses within deadlines. But, how can you minimize the time taken to develop online courses? Well, you can reduce the time taken to make digital courses drastically by following a few sure-fire tips. Let us see what they are and how they help churn out courses in quick time.
Articulate Replay is one of the components that make up Articulate Studio. This software can be used to create simulations, add videos to eLearning courses. You can also use Articulate Replay to add audio to videos. You may also want to add images and logos to videos. You can use this tool to import videos of any format (such as mp4, flv, mpeg, 3gp, etc.). You can also add subtitles and embed audio into videos using Articulate Replay. I would like to share, in this blog, how to convert two videos into a single video in Articulate Replay.
PowerPoint is an excellent tool to create animations for your eLearning courses. Using PowerPoint, we can create four types of animations that can be applied to text and objects. In this blog, I would like share information about the four types of animations, in detail.
Articulate Storyline 2 is a wonderful rapid authoring tool. Using this tool, you can create any type of eLearning course and interactivity. Articulate Studio 13 is a PowerPoint add-in. You can use this tool to create presentation-based courses. In this blog, I would like to share the differences between Articulate Studio’ 13 and Articulate Storyline 2.