Wondering whether to use or hire in-house for your next eLearning project, or to use an external agency? It depends.
Use this slick 4-point checklist to see what’s best for your project:
1. Are you confident about the skill level in-house?
If you are planning to multi-purpose your graphic designer, LMS administrator, or marketing wiz as an instructional designer, best to think again. The additional load may not only impact their core work, but may also result in sub-standard eLearning as they are forced on the fly to figure out the many aspects of an Instructional Designer’s work. However, if you have an enthusiast Learning & Development specialist who wants to move from traditional training to digital, you’re golden!
Also take a look at our article on “Who Does What and Why in an eLearning Team”– do you have all those roles in-house?
2. Is it a one-time project?
Sometimes you come across a project that just needs to be designed, developed and delivered once. Investing in developing skills in-house and the right technologies for a single project might not be a great idea. Also, you probably do not have enough time for a trial and error strategy, which is crucial in eLearning development. Get an expert onboard and get your project done with peace of mind and guaranteed results.
3. What is the visibility and/or impact of your project?
Creating a tutorial video for your sales team about your new CRM tool doesn’t need to be swanky, cutting edge or super-engaging. If it works to meet their needs, it will have done its job. In that case, that’s a great project for your existing team to upgrade their skills. But, if your external clients, students or franchisors are using your learning material and forming their opinions about your company through it, you need serious partners to guide your design. One exception to the internal/eternal divide is on-boarding: Recruitment is expensive, and new hires are special. Offer them the best first impression you can.
4. What volume of work are you looking at?
If your organization is building a new line of business, or a catalog of online courses, using external vendors can get rather expensive soon. Better to develop that expertise in-house. It is a good idea to hire an expert to set up the initial systems, and train your workforce. You should also consider keeping the vendor on for a period of time to ensure seamless hand-off to an internal manager.
Learning design is a complex field – merging pedagogy, design thinking, educational technology, user experience and interface design, content creation, curation etc. to bring about a great learner experience for your learners. Consider if your project required an expertise like that carefully – not every project needs it. But if it does, then do not compromise on getting the right people by your side.