According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), eLearning is defined as “a structured course or learning experience delivered electronically.” There are many benefits to delivering training this way, both for learners and learning and development (L&D) departments. Learners can take the course whenever it suits their schedule, and almost everyone is comfortable with the technology needed—computers, tablets, and smartphones. They can pause if necessary and even redo the whole course or parts of it. Furthermore, eLearning is usually shorter than it would be if delivered in person. On the L&D side of things, eLearning is easy to update, easy to track, and just as effective as in-person training.
Learning and development leaders are certainly familiar with the benefits associated with eLearning. At first glance, it seems like using internal resources to create eLearning courses would make the most sense, but once you dig deeper you see there are a few reasons to outsource eLearning:
- Capacity: Creating effective eLearning courses—those that achieve all the benefits described above—requires working with subject matter experts (SMEs), instructional designers, graphic designers, programmers, facilitators, and project managers. Organizations are seeing an increasing number of training requests, and internal teams are increasingly overworked. It’s rare that an organization has enough resources on staff to deliver all of the courses and programs requested with high enough quality.
- Capability: Most large organizations have some internal training staff; however, they may not have all the skills needed to complete every course requested by internal customers and business leaders, like instructional designers, for example. Right out of school, instructional designers are up to date on the technology, modalities, and techniques available at the time. Over time, however, they may get into a rhythm with certain systems and techniques that are well suited for 90% of the work. Although upskilling internal resources is important, sometimes it makes the most sense to bring in a partner with the experience, knowledge, and creativity necessary to fill the skills gaps of the internal team for specific projects.
- Cost: Bringing in an external partner that has honed its instructional design process and created efficiencies may actually be less expensive than building eLearning internally. An internal team may be asked to develop a Leadership Development Program or a Simulation for Managers once or twice in their careers, leading to more time spent researching and doing rework than an outside partner who completes these projects a few times per year.
When balancing your learning and development team’s priorities and goals for the next year, ask yourself these questions:
- Do we have the capacity to take on all of our projects?
- Does our staff have the necessary skills to successfully create the required deliverables?
- Would partnering with an outside training company be more efficient than utilizing current resources or hiring new ones?
Reflecting may lead to the realization that bringing in a partner is the best choice for the business. Or you may find that you don’t know the answer to each of these questions. In either scenario, it does not hurt to evaluate potential partners, and Caveo should certainly make the short list. Reach out, we'd love to discuss with you!