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The Practical Checklist for E-learning Outsourcing

Regardless of whether you are a training manager in a Fortune 500 company with thousands of employees or a startup with a handful of employees, you realize that employee training plays a critical role in the progress of the company. Your workday might involve figuring out how to use e-learning to upgrade your employees’ skillsets or thinking of ways to revamp that boring compliance training program. There might be times when you are under pressure to rollout a training program within a tight deadline. Some organizations may not have access to a full-fledged in-house training development team and outsourcing might be the only way to get their online training programs rolling. There might be others who have an in-house team, yet need to opt for e-learning outsourcing in order to gain expert access or meet tight deadlines.

Whatever the reason for outsourcing your online training programs, it would help to have a plan in place before you kick start your e-learning outsourcing journey. Here is a checklist that you might want to use in order to ensure maximum returns from your e-learning outsourcing strategy.

Define the Scope of E-learning Outsourcing

If you have decided to go ahead with the decision to outsource the online training needs of your company, the first step is to determine the objectives that you need to achieve by outsourcing.

  • Define the scope of the project; be clear on what can be and cannot be achieved by outsourcing. For example, outsourcing an e-learning course might help with improving engagement levels and make it interesting and interactive for learners. But the outsourcing vendor cannot ensure that all your learners will take the course. It becomes the training department’s responsibility to build learner interest to take the course.
  • Identify key stakeholders in the project and set clear expectations. Stakeholder support is essential and for this they need to understand the scope and scale of the project.
  • The risks associated with outsourcing and the mitigation plan should be made clear to the stakeholders.
  • If you would need the outsourcing vendor to confirm to any technical requirements, make a list of the same and communicate it upfront. For example, an organization that has an in-house team proficient in the authoring tool Lectora Inspire, might want its e-learning courses to be developed using the same tool. Communicate this requirement upfront to the vendors.

Identify Your E-learning Outsourcing Partner

Once you have defined your expectations from the outsourcing project, the next step is to identify your e-learning outsourcing partner.

  • Perform a market assessment of e-learning vendors and specify an evaluation criteria for vendor selection.
  • Issue a request for proposal (RFP) and depending on the proposals that meet your requirement, narrow down the list of vendors.
  • Respond appropriately to vendor clarifications.
  • Have a single point of contact from your organization to interact with the short-listed vendors.

Seal the Deal on E-learning Outsourcing

In this step of the e-learning outsourcing cycle, the outsourcing agreement is signed.

  • Make a list of the terms and conditions that need to be met by the e-learning vendor and send the same to them before you start negotiating.
  • The key stakeholders are to be kept informed throughout the process.
  • Sign the contract with the chosen vendor.
  • Create a roadmap that will be used to monitor the progress of the e-learning project and track key deliverables. This can help initiate corrective action if required. For example, one problem that e-learning vendors face in the smooth completion of projects is the review timelines. If a subject matter expert is expected to review and sign off an e-learning module by a particular date, not adhering to the review timelines can cause a delay in the project schedule.

Proactively Manage the Vendor Relationship

Communication is key to successful e-learning outsourcing. Any teething problems that might arise is expected to be resolved during this phase.

  • Collaborate with the vendor to implement a robust plan to complete the project.
  • Implement a reporting mechanism to track the progress of the e-learning course.
  • Facilitate meetings with the vendor to take informed decisions. This can help you rollout online training programs on time and on budget.
  • Apart from achieving amazing results, outsourcing can help the internal resources in your company concentrate on the core business functions.
  • You could also work with the vendor to implement learning analytics to track the success rate of the online training program and the return on investment (ROI) that it has brought to the organization.

The thought of handing over the reins of online training to someone else can be a daunting prospect for many organizations. However, following a checklist to monitor the different phases in your e-learning outsourcing journey can help you avoid the frustration of a failed deal and turn your outsourcing journey into a success story.

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