Build in-house or outsource an e-Learning Course creation?
Tempted? Confused? Have the need but not taking the step?
The corporate reality is that there is always more work at the end at the resources available. And most companies use external help from eLearning providers, consultants, system integrators and others to accomplish projects. But does it make business sense? And if the work needs to get accomplished how do you watch your $$ and how do you save – time, efforts, dollars and heartburn. The oft-maligned word `outsourcing’ is a boon and a bane if you do the wrong things. But here are some subcontracting principles that will help to you make-up your mind.
1. Subcontractors are usually professionals that want you to succeed. They understand that in your success lays theirs. They will care about your business and project.
2. Subcontractors run a business too – You would expect them to make a profit doing your work. So consider that and make that allowance.
3. Not all outsourcing providers are the same. Competencies vary. But unlike financial indices, here – the past performance is indeed indicative of future results.
A good provider will act as a consultant and an implementer – providing you the best way to execute a project in terms of technology specifications and alternate methods.
You will know a good provider by the quality of their interactions and the questions they ask and the recommendations they provide. IF you do not get questions – be worried. Get very worried!
4. Hold the contract provider to the same standards as you would expect from the in-house department. The same quality benchmarks in terms of technical and managerial competence, performance specifications and time-turnarounds.
Consider some of the costs of developing courses in-house:
– building/up, skilling/hiring a team for the development and deployment
– costs for building the content – with variable costs depending on the complexity of the design of instruction, media, UI, and functionality required from the eLearning project (complex animations and interactivities, while having the potential to be highly engaging – increases costs)
– imputed cost of hardware/technology/software/authoring tools
– the opportunity cost for the team deployed on this project.
Underpinning all these factors would be the scope and size of the eLearning project.
When planning for a budget for eLearning, it is almost always more obvious components that get included in it. However, smaller or less obvious but important components sometimes slip through the cracks in the planning stage – you need to watch out for this and factor for them also to arrive at a realistic estimate of your eLearning costs.
Arriving at an optimal solution of whether to do things in-house or not depends upon various other factors including management buy-in. But the fear of the `outsourced’ team should not stop you from experiencing the sweet fruits of its results.