Outsourcing e-learning development to India is one of the fastest growing trends in the corporate training world. Many organizations are hiring off-shore online course development firms in the south Asian country to meet their online learning requirements. This growth is primarily a result of cost considerations. Other factors such as faster turnaround times, excellent IT infrastructure, and a large number of English-speaking, skilled technology-enabled learning development professionals, and outsourcing-friendly policies are making India the preferred outsourcing destination.
Are you too planning to outsource your online course development to an Indian vendor? How can you make your e-learning project a big success? Among the various aspects you need to consider, ensuring proper management of the online course development project is inarguably the most important. Here are 8 proven tips to ensure the effective management of your outsourced technology-enabled learning resource development project.
1. Convey your expectations clearly to the vendor
This is the most important and unfortunately, an often neglected aspect of outsourced e-learning project management. Tell the vendor in no uncertain terms what you expect from the course. Providing clarity on your expectations and goals helps create the right online training solution that meets your needs effectively.
For instance, if you need an e-learning course to educate your manufacturing staff on the importance of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), e-learning specialists will come up with a course that delivers information. On the other hand, if you intend to provide customer-handling skills to your sales folk, then a course that enhances performance by changing learner behaviors will be built.
2. Define the deliverables and set realistic timelines
Have a thorough discussion with the vendor to define the deliverables at each stage of the online course development project. For instance, you may ask the vendor to provide the prototype of the e-learning course, the storyboard, audio scripts, the fully developed course without audio, and the course with audio.
Make sure that the timeline you set for your online course development project is realistic. Today, it is possible to develop a 60-minute self-paced, technology-enabled learning resource in about 3 weeks.
3. Ensure regular, effective communication with the vendor
Proper, regular communication with the e-learning solutions provider is the key to the successful management of your outsourced project. A major barrier to good communication is the multiplicity of communication channels – too many people getting involved in the communication process. This could create confusion and cause problems to you as well as your e-learning partner. Therefore, it is better to appoint an experienced person who has a good idea about the project as the Single Point of Contact (SPOC), and authorize him to liaise with the vendor.
4. Clear doubts of the vendor in the early stages of the project
In many cases, e-learning vendors have doubts about their clients’ requirements in the initial days of online course development. It is important you ensure that these doubts are clarified properly. After all, a project well-begun is half completed. Isn’t it?
5. Make sure changes to the project’s scope are documented
Proper scope management is the crux of a successful outsourced project. The scope document of the online course development project lists what should be accomplished and what cannot be achieved. The scope document is ‘frozen’ before the beginning of the project. However, you cannot always assume there will be no changes in the scope document during the course of the project.
A change in the scope of the project will change the estimates of cost, effort, and duration which will become the approved target. Make sure that the changes in the scope of the project are properly documented. Properly updated documents prevent confusion and serve as evidence in a court of law, if disputes arise between you and the vendor.
6. See that the vendor follows a set process to develop the e-learning course
Ensure that the vendor executes the sequential set of activities, as agreed upon, to ensure high quality of the e-learning product. Some vendors skip certain steps such as conducting a comprehensive quality check in order to save time and money. This can have an adverse impact on the effectiveness of the online course. So, monitor the web-based course development project closely to make sure all steps are followed meticulously.
7. Provide clarity on the roles assigned to your team members
The role of each member in your team should be defined clearly. This will help avoid confusion and overlap of responsibilities. For instance, you need to state clearly who will review the online course. When the team members are clear about their roles, their energy and focus will be directed toward reaching their individual targets.
8. Come up with proper metrics to measure the effectiveness of the e-learning product
Proper measurement of the effectiveness of the developed online course is a vital component of e-learning project management. You have to tie metrics with the goals of the online course. For example, increase in sales revenue can be a metric for evaluating the effectiveness of an online sales training program, but ensure the metrics are quantified. Instead of just stating that the e-learning course must improve sales revenues, it’s better to say the e-learning course must improve sales revenues by 20%. A concrete number makes it easier to measure the success of the course.
Effective management plays a key role in ensuring the success of your outsourced e-learning project. Follow the tips listed above to make your online course development outsourcing initiative a grand success.