For organizations that want a quick eLearning solution, rapid eLearning simply stands out for the sheer amount of development time and training budgets it saves. However, deciding to opt for a rapid approach to convert your current training material into eLearning is one thing, and choosing a rapid eLearning partner, another.
Truth be told, finding a good rapid eLearning partner is a difficult task. In the labyrinth of eLearning providers, it’s easy to get muddled with unnecessary information and get into a mess. In fact, most organizations fail to make rapid eLearning a success because they fail to pick the right eLearning partner. But don’t get frustrated; I have made a list of four doable steps to choose the right rapid eLearning partner, to make your decision easier.
1. Consider their E-learning Experience and the Size of their Development Team
This is a no-brainer. Learning about the vendor’s eLearning background is the first step toward a successful rapid solution. I cannot stress enough how important this step is. If you end up with a less-experienced eLearning vendor, it could prove fatal for your entire rapid eLearning endeavor. Before you even have a dialogue with the vendor, it’s important to research about their eLearning background – how many rapid eLearning projects have they done, the number of eLearning hours they have clocked, how varied their projects have been, and so on.
The vendor must have at least 7-10 years of competency in eLearning development, and preferably have a background in Learning & Development under their belt. Also important is to consider the size of the development team because it’s eventually that team which possesses the rapid eLearning development skills. The vendor must be backed by a solid team of:
- Learning design & technology experts
- Courseware developers
- Quality analysts
Each of the team members must be adequately qualified in instructional design and courseware development capabilities.
2. Understand their Rapid Development and Project Management Processes
Rapid eLearning development is not child’s play. The process – although at first glance looks direct and easy – demands extreme precision, dedication, and ability on the part of the vendor to complete the project on time. Any eLearning development project requires adherence to the principles of project management.
A vendor who has doled out several rapid eLearning projects usually has a concrete development process that enables them to achieve faster turnaround time. So, scout for a vendor who has a good rapid development process in place. See if you, as a stakeholder, have a place throughout the development process to provide required inputs and feedback.
3. Pay Attention to their Rapid E-learning Samples
To get good insight into the vendor’s expertise in learning design & development, check their website for eLearning samples. Check as many courses as possible. If you aren’t satisfied with what you see, it is always better to request for samples from your domain (Pharmaceutical, Product & Sales, Finance, etc.), and of any instructional strategies (scenario-based, simulations) you are planning to use for your rapid eLearning solution. While you are at it, also pay attention to the interactivities and other interactive elements used in the course.
4. Work with a Vendor Who Provides Learning Management Support
Last but not the least, when you’re looking for a rapid eLearning partner, make sure that they also provide support for your learning management (or LMS). Enquire about the different features the LMS can provide to support your eLearning solution.
A vendor with LMS hosting and support under his belt saves you a lot of time and effort. Managing rapid eLearning courses becomes easier when you have a single provider instead of multiple players.
It is clear that you seek cost advantages when you choose rapid eLearning. When you finally zero in on your rapid eLearning vendor, you may also want to ask upfront how much your solution will cost. However, the notion that “cheaper is better” doesn’t always work out with rapid eLearning development. What you need to consider, however, is the speed + cost + quality ratio. A good eLearning vendor would lay bare all the factors that affect the cost of your rapid eLearning project.