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E-learning Outsourcing: The 5-step Development Process

As a training manager or somebody responsible for the training initiativesin your organization, you need to have an idea of the e-learning design and development process, when it’s outsourced to an external e-learning vendor. Having clarity on the process will yield optimum results.But dont’ worry if you have no idea of what outsourcing e-learning involves. This blog post will give you a comprehensive idea.

Here is the five step e-learning development process involved in outsourcing.

1. Analyzing the Content

When you outsource your end-to-end e-learning development, instructional designers at the e-learning partner’s end will analyze the raw content or legacy training material such as PPTs, PDFs, manuals, and other material you provid as inputs for the course.

This is what they do:

  • Collate the course material from the raw content
  • Identify gaps, if any, and seek clarification/additional material from yourSMEs
  • Structure the content in a logical order
  • Finalize the instruction strategy
  • Develop the Detailed Content Outline (DCO) with a clear breakup of the course modules, units, and screen titles
  • Decide on the screen level treatment of the content (animations/videos/assessments, etc.)

So, analyzing the given inputs is the first and key step in e-learning outsourcing.

2. Developing the Storyboard

In the second step, instructional designers develop the storyboard. A Storyboard is the blueprint, the guiding document for content, visuals, audio, and interactive elements. Storyboarding is a crucial step in the outsourcing of the end-to-end e-learning development process, as the strategy for onscreen content presentation and the audio script are finalized here. Choosing images, designing animations, and developing interactivities are some of the tasks involved in the visualization of onscreen content. Formative and summative assessments are also developed in the storyboarding phase. Formative assessments come after each unit, whereas summative assessments come at the end of the course as a final mastery quiz.

3. Developing a Prototype

A prototype is a scaled down, fully functional representation of the course being developed. A prototype typically contains 10% of an e-learning course. It contains all the elements to be included in the “actual” course, such as assessments, Graphical User Interface (GUI), interactivities, and audio.

Developing a prototype helps you and the e-learning partner agree and finalize the content, visuals, audio, and technical functionalities of the course. The prototype is hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS) to ensure no problems arise when the “full course” is hosted on the LMS. This is also checked for compatibility with various browsers and devices.

Checking the functionalities of the course, visual presentation, and audio narration is a very important phase in developing an e-learning course, as it goes a long way in avoiding re-work.

4. Submitting the Course to the Stakeholders

The fourth step in the process is ‘Course Submission’. This is done in two stages.

  1. Without Audio – Alpha Version

    Here, the e-learning development partner will send the fully functional course for your approval. You can approve the course or provide necessary feedback on various aspects such as the visuals used, animations, treatment of the content, writing style, and audio script. Once you give the final approval on the audio script, it is sent for recording.

  2. With Audio – Gold Version

    In this stage, the fully functional course with audio is sent for your approval. This version of the course is commonly known as the Gold version. The course is ready in all respects except being LMS-compliant. The learning provider will wait for your final approval on the whole course.

5. Deploying on an LMS

Once you approve the course with audio, the e-learning development partner will make the e-learning course compliant with the desired learning technology standards such as SCORM, AICC, or xAPI. Once this task is complete, your e-learning course is ready to be deployed on an LMS and delivered to your learners.

Knowing the end-to-end e-learning development process will help you make the most of the online course development outsourcing initiative and be prepared to deal with any situation that might arise.

Not yet decided on outsourcing e-learning? In a dilemma whether to outsource or develop e-learning in-house? Want to know how much it will cost if you outsource your e-learning requirement.Find answers to all these questions in our free e-book: E-learning Outsourcing: Selecting the Right E-learning Vendor.

eLearning Development Outsourcing: A Comprehensive eGuide to Select the Right Vendor