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The success of Learning and Development programs is highly reliant on its course content. The content needs to be engaging and interactive, because only then will learners learn effectively. The entire purpose of any learning and development program is to improve the behavior of its attendees. Thus, the best way to deliver course content is by first defining the desired result and then creating content that will help reach the desired results.
Content is created in one of two ways. Either it is created in-house or it is outsourced. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options and the purpose of this article is to highlight the key pros and cons, so you can get an idea of what will work best for your business. Start by asking the following questions:
You have to work backwards when creating course content. When you know exactly why you are doing it, it will make the remainder of decisions straightforward. You will know exactly what budget should be allocated for content creation, which will simultaneously reflect the level of quality.
If the end goal of the content is simple, such as communicating basic safety information, it might be more convenient and cost-effective to create the content in-house. Your employees can simply read the material and might even answer a few knowledge-based questions to illustrate their understanding. On the other hand, if you want your employees to take action, such as make more sales, it makes sense to outsource content development to experts and consider it an investment.
You may also want to outsource content creation if you intend to sell online courses. Sometimes, a basic PowerPoint presentation is enough to communicate certain information to your employees, but if you intend to sell your courses, invest in expert content development. If eLearning is your bread and butter, the content requires investment. To make your business successful, it is important that you strive for the highest standards possible so you can proudly associate it with your brand.
Outsourcing content development is an excellent option, especially when you have the content you require. Instead of wasting time trying to research the content and putting it together for your employees, it will be much more efficient to outsource it.
In the long run, outsourcing may be more cost effective and time efficient than attempting to create content in-house. Short term, it may seem less costly to create content in-house. However, at this point you need to consider the opportunity cost because if employees are spending time developing content in-house, their regular tasks may need to be reassigned to others or delayed while they are working on this project. Existing employees may not have the expertise and professional experience that a third party specializing in content development would bring to the table. For that reason, it may be more beneficial for your company to outsource it. Either outsourcing or insourcing will require a training budget. Some companies find that a hybrid of the two approaches may be the best approach where the third party vendor works with the in-house team to put together the content and is responsible for the final product. Companies should seek proposals from multiple third party vendors and select a flexible vendor with a proven track record who can work within the constraints of your budget.
Let us say you do not have the budget AND your content is specific to your organization, so you decide to develop the course content in-house, but does your team have the necessary skills to develop course content? Content creation requires specialized skills and you need to know how to use Instructional Design to create high quality content.
Thus, if the content you require needs conceptualization, learner engagement tracker and other interactive components, seeking the help of professional experts is the best way to go.
The last factor to consider is the time constraint. If you are planning to create content in-house, you have to make sure the team has the appropriate expertise with fresh technical skills. You also have to make sure the team is not neglecting its other priorities. Content creation requires strong commitment, which means if it is created in-house, your team will neglect routine work. If their plate is already full, it makes no sense to increase their burden and contribute to a decline in productivity. It is best to outsource content creation or split the content between your team and a third-party contractor such as Designing Digitally, Inc.