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Do you Build or Buy? Questions in the eLearning Context

Written By Shalini Merugu

Do you Build or Buy? Questions in the eLearning Context

If you are planning on using eLearning as part of your organization’s overall enterprise-wide training strategy, and wondering if you should outsource courseware design and development or build that skill-set in-house, welcome to a world of decisions! Professionals from almost every domain have grappled with the Build Vs Buy decision at some point or the other in some area or the other. There is no right or wrong answer of course, but only a matter of figuring out what works best for you given your unique business context with its specific demands. A safe guideline for staying on track is that whatever option you decide on, make sure it demonstrates a clear ROI.

A few questions to help you get started on the path to an informed decision:

  • What is the scope of your eLearning solution? Is it only asynchronous courseware; is it synchronous events as well?
  • Do you have the underlying technology in place to support your eLearning solution? Think of an LMS, meeting software etc.
  • How do you decide on courseware requirements – off- the- shelf or custom courseware? What kind of content do you need – across what domains or verticals?
  • Do you have in-house competence for course design and development? If no, does it make sense to develop this skill-set? What time lines are you looking at? Would you rather outsource the function to successful eLearning providers? Or both? How feasible is each option, given the various constraints you are working under?
  • Do you need your content and technology initiatives to proceed side-by-side? How much effort can your resources spare? How does your decision map to your organization’s future needs?
  • Is the product that you are planning to buy or build of strategic value to your organization’s bottom-line performance?
  • Which of the two options (developing in-house Vs outsourcing) is more likely lead to a more superior product – courseware in this context?
  • Have you done a cost-benefit analysis for building eLearning solutions Vs buying them? What about the hidden costs, such as longer time-to-market (in case of building courseware in-house)
  • What kind of a learning curve are we looking at for training the internal team? Is this competence readily available outside of the organization?
  • How do you evaluate the Build or Buy decision by studying various decision-making criteria?
  • What outsourcing capabilities do you need to consider for long–term partnerships with you?
  • How do you establish a successful outsourcing partnership?

I’ve covered just a few questions you need to ask before you can take a decision either way. Do add to this list.

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