We all are aware of the rise in eLearning outsourcing across the globe. According to the Global Industry Analysts Inc. report, the turnover of the global learning services outsourcing market is expected to reach up to $6.0 billion by 2015. What can be the reason behind this phenomenal growth of eLearning outsourcing?
Well, it can be easily assumed here that like various other business projects, outsourcing of eLearning projects is also directed towards realizing various strategic benefits. According to Forbes, in addition to cutting costs, outsourcing can offer various other benefits such as leveraging global talent, controlling and reducing risks through partnerships, identifying and entering new markets, etc.
So let us see some of the strategic benefits of outsourcing eLearning.
Leveraging the Expertise of eLearning Vendors
We all know that everybody cannot be an expert in every industry. To be an expert one must have the required skills, knowledge, understanding, experience and strong client references in the relevant field.
Here, through outsourcing, you can leverage the vendor’s capabilities and capacity, which includes technology know-how and infrastructure as well as a skillful and an experienced team of instructional designers, authoring tools experts, and project managers towards the successful outcome of your eLearning project.
An expert eLearning vendor can help you understand the criticality of learning content meeting the learning objectives and support you across various phases of the eLearning project including analysis, design, development, deployment and evaluation.
A well-reputed vendor, with an experience of about 10 years or more in handling global eLearning projects can anticipate risks, if any, in advance and also manage them better. Furthermore, the external eLearning partner can address your requirements of customization and update learning content as well as handle the issues of technology evolutions.
Cost and Time Efficiency
According to the ASTD research document – Effectively Managing Multicultural Talent, various Fortune 500 companies across the globe are increasingly outsourcing their work to countries like India and China to leverage the benefit of rapidly increasing a pool of skilled workers, less cost of services, and growth in the fields of IT and technology, R&D sectors in these economies. Why invest a huge sum of money and time on recruiting and maintaining an internal team of instructional designers, project managers, authoring tools experts on LMS operations when you can get your eLearning done by external sources at lower costs and high quality?
According to a research conducted by Bersin & Associates, the content development project that may cost anything from $10,000 to $50,000 in the United States can be easily developed at 20% to 40% reduced cost in India. This research also shows that companies who outsource their LMS operations to external eLearning vendors generally save 60% of their operational costs and 42% of technical staff resources in comparison to those companies who handle their LMS operations in-house.
Also, outsourcing can save you a lot of time because nowadays it is possible for an expert eLearning vendor to develop a 30-minute eLearning course in just 3-4 weeks, following the advent of advanced authoring tools.
Focus on Core Business Activities
Instead of getting involved in an eLearning project that may include anything from localization, LMS hosting and implementation, translations, project management, maintaining and upgrading learning tools and technology and other such activities, companies can outsource these tasks and spend all that time to focus only on their core business activities.
Also, insufficient expertise and experience in the eLearning domain may lead to delayed and ineffective eLearning projects. However, depending on the existing skill sets and in-house capabilities as well as the type of the content and required completion time of the eLearning project, companies can determine which part/parts of such project can be outsourced and which can be handled through internal resources.
So we have seen how the outsourcing of eLearning projects can provide exciting benefits to organizations. However, a few doubts about the reliability of the eLearning vendor in completing the projects on time and in maintaining confidentiality of information may be holding many companies from taking the first step forward. Also, there are other concerns like working relationship, communication methods and cultural differences. However, in spite of these challenges, I feel that outsourcing of eLearning is likely to continue and learners can explore new opportunities in the area of learning. What do you like to say about this? Please do share your views. We would really appreciate to hear from you.