5 Basic Elements of an E-learning Outsourcing Business Case


If you are planning to outsource e-learning, it is essential to present a business case to stakeholders and get their sign off. This blog is for training managers who would like to know how to get started on a business case for outsourcing e-learning.

5 Basic Elements of an E-learning Outsourcing Business Case

E-learning outsourcing has become an indispensable part of many organizations when it comes to online training. As a training manager, you would prefer to leverage the expertise of an e-learning vendor, but do the internal stakeholders in your business agree? When internal stakeholders are not effectively consulted and engaged in the outsourcing process, that could be prove to be a recipe for failure. That’s precisely the reason you need to build a business case for outsourcing your e-learning programs.

When you build a business case justifying the initial investment associated with outsourcing the e-learning, it will help win the necessary financial and business support of your business unit managers and senior executives. This blog is an attempt to cover the basic elements that are required to build a business case for e-learning outsourcing.

1. Why Outsource?

State the reason for outsourcing and the problem e-learning outsourcing can address. If you already have an in-house learning and development team, you will need to justify the reason for outsourcing. The in-house team could be short on resources or the team needs access to experts in the industry who can develop amazing interactive e-learning courses instead of normal page turners.

2. What is the Current Process?

Outline the process that is currently followed for e-learning development in your organization. Begin by exploring who manages e-learning in your organization. Is it a dedicated e-learning team or do responsibilities fall on different people from different departments, depending on the subject of the online training program? You may also want to check if the current training programs fulfill the requirements of stakeholders, whether the training approach is innovative and learners’ feedback if available. If you are considering outsourcing for the first time, you may not be able to get a complete picture of how outsourcing e-learning can help. But if you can get at least 80% of this information, you will be able to ascertain whether outsourcing can make a difference. You might also want to check on the training budget allotted for developing training programs.

3. How Can Outsourcing E-learning Improve Current Training Methods?

Based on the information you have collected and feedback from stakeholders, you can analyze the current pain points in online training and the key objectives outsourcing must achieve. This step is important as it defines what makes an outsourced e-learning project successful. To explain this further, here is an example where one of our clients in the pharma industry wanted an existing PowerPoint presentation on writing queries for data management converted to an e-learning course. The presentation comprised guidelines to be followed in writing effective queries and the instructor had to spend a considerable amount of time taking participants through these guidelines. It made more sense to cover the contents of the presentation in a self-exploratory online course. In this case, e-learning proved to be the better training method as clinical data managers across different sites could access the course through the LMS and complete it at their convenience.

4. Are there Risks Associated with Outsourcing?

A business case should not only explore the benefits but also the risks associated with e-learning outsourcing. For example, if there is confidential information that cannot be shared with external vendors, you might want to look at hiring resources internally rather than outsourcing. In some cases, you might want the vendor to sign a non-disclosure agreement before outsourcing the project. Identify and make a list of all the risks you might encounter by outsourcing the e-learning project. This can help you find effective solutions or workarounds to handle these risks.

5. How Will You Measure the Success of E-learning Outsourcing?

You need to have a clear plan as to how you will measure the success of e-learning outsourcing. Be prepared to explain the cost implications and how outsourcing e-learning can prove to be beneficial in the long run. Let stakeholders know how the return on investment (ROI) on training can be improved by outsourcing. The success of your outsourcing plan is tied directly to how well the objectives of the training program are being met.

Lastly, do not forget to include specific action steps that you will follow to identify the right e-learning outsourcing vendor. Include a clear, concise summary of the outsourcing plan. In the long run, outsourcing e-learning can help scale training effectively, set and predict costs, and allow organizations focus on their core business. Getting started on a business case for outsourcing e-learning will definitely contribute toward a successful outsourcing journey.

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