While there are clear benefits of outsourcing, there are enough instances when people have had nightmarish experiences with their outsourcing partners. There are two aspects that need to be evaluated here.
- Does your project merit outsourcing?
- If it does, who do you choose as your outsourcing partner?
You may not always need to outsource your eLearning projects. Here are some instances when I may not be prudent to outsource your project but are better off capitalizing on your internal resources.
When your project is not big and does not merit involving external partners
If the eLearning requirement is a one-off ad-hoc project that is not big, it is best to handle it in-house and may not merit the investment of time and costs to bring in an outsourcing vendor. The new partner may have to first understand your requirement, training philosophy and organizational principles before delivering the requirement. It may not really be worthwhile to outsource the project. On the contrary, it is preferable to have an internal team work on the project and device systems and procedures that are suitable to your organization.
When your internal capability is adequate to handle the project
If you have an internal team or if you are looking to build a team of Instructional Designers, E-learning developers and learning experts who can handle the entire gamut of eLearning development process, you really don’t have to outsource. You may not have specialists for every part of the eLearning development but may have a small team that is adept in carrying out the essential functions of the eLearning development process. With the advent of rapid authoring tools the process is further simplified. However, you will need to consider outsourcing when the volume of courses that are being developed and the number of employees needed to handle the requirement is way over the capacity of your internal team.
When there is absence of well-defined processes that is critical in outsourcing
When working with an outsourcing partner, it is best to have defined processes and procedures that you would like them to follow. This greatly reduces the number of iterations or miscommunications in the way the project is handled. Handling a remote outsourcing partner becomes fairly easy. However, if you are still trying to figure out the best way to go about the eLearning development process -that works for your organization-chances are your problems will be compounded when dealing with a remote service provider. Hence, do not outsource if you do not have defined processes for eLearning development.
When your project is evolving and needs constant monitoring
If you project or training curriculum is unique to your organization, is new and evolving, you might need to work closely with the subject matter experts on fine-tuning the curriculum and getting their concurrence on a continual basis. Working with a remote vendor may not be such a good idea in such a situation as it might lead to undue delays and frustrations on both sides. Even if the content is unique to your organization, outsourcing might work well when your training content is broadly ratified and vetted by SMEs. However, if you do not have an established training curriculum and are working to developing one, it is best to have that in order before looking to outsource it to an external service provider.
When your training curriculum contains proprietary content
If you training content is proprietary and cannot leave the physical space of your organization, then obviously it may not be wise to outsource eLearning courses. It is largely dependent on the nature of training, sensitivity of the information that is shared during training and the policy of the organization that will determine the feasibility for outsourcing.
These are some of the instances when it is not recommended to outsource your eLearning requirement. Do you agree with the views presented here? Do share your thoughts.