Let’s say a company wants to outsource its e-learning project to a vendor but the shocking stories of outsourcing experiences gone sour compel them to think twice. They are taking baby steps in the outsourcing route and it is natural for them to have concerns. If you are in the same situation, let me identify some of these typical concerns and how to lay them to rest.
Expertise and Quality
The first concern would be the expertise of the vendor in developing e-learning projects.
Ask for samples: Address this concern by asking the vendor to develop a sample prototype based on your requirements. This will not only help you assess their quality but also showcase how well they understand your requirements. You can also ask for samples of their work done for other clients and check them out.
Meet the team: Experts suggest that you meet the team that will be handling your e-learning project- instructional designers, project managers, technology experts, and integrators. These are the people you will be interacting with and getting to know them is important before finalizing the contract. You can meet them using Skype or Google Hangouts if it is a remote team. This will help you assess the education and experience of the team members and judge their expertise.
References and testimonials: Checking the references and testimonials provided by the vendor will help alleviate some concerns about the quality of their work. It will give you an insight into the projects the vendor has handled earlier. You will get to know about the reliability of the vendor by asking existing customers the technology or software used to develop the project and adherence to deadlines.
Timelines and deliverables
You will have concerns of how well the vendor will adhere to the timelines and deliverables. When you struggle with internal teams on these issues, it is but natural to have these concerns about an external team working on your project.
Work directly with the vendor: This concern can be solved by directly working with an e-learning company instead of a contractor who will in turn outsource your work to other e-learning vendors. This will lead to variables and make your timelines and deliverables go haywire.
Working with a vendor who has a full-fledged learning design team will mitigate these concerns. You can assess the respect for timelines by seeing how quickly the vendor responds to your queries or replies to your RFP.
Outsourcing e-learning may require you to share some confidential information with your vendor which will naturally raise concerns about their safety and potential misuse.
Agreement contract: Address this concern by having a non-disclosure clause in your service contract or have a separate NDA. This legally binds the vendor to ensure confidentiality is maintained.
Project management competence
Outsourcing and that too to a remote team will raise concerns on how well the vendor will be able to handle your project.
Get to know the processes and procedures: Quell this concern by looking for a company that has processes and procedures in place for each stage of e-learning development. Find out about them and evaluate. Ask if a project manager will be dedicated to your project who will be the single point of contact for the project and answer your queries. He/she will monitor the project and ensure the project meets the quality, budget, and timeline conditions.
When outsourcing your e-learning, it is natural to have concerns. But you can address these concerns by asking the right questions to evaluate and decide on a vendor. Taking steps to ensure that your concerns at every stage of the contract are answered will help you take an informed and assured decision when choosing the outsourcing partner for your project. What do you think? Do share your views.