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A request for proposal (RFP) is a document that lists out the requirements of a particular job or service. Organizations request RFPs from several vendors who are bidding for the job. In the eLearning sector, RFPs basically outline the scope of the project, timeline, budget, and so on. It explains the project requirements in detail and highlights your primary needs. It is not necessary to create RFPs for every project. But you should consider using one when the project is large and there are several bidders aiming to bag it. The better written your RFP is, the more vendors it will attract. That way you will have more proposals to choose from.
Choosing the right vendor requires careful consideration. You need to issue a detailed RFP highlighting your project requirements. Here are some tips on how to write a winning RFP.
The first element is to introduce your organization. Let the vendors know what business you are in, your growth plans, your industry drivers, and so on. It is good to provide them with a background. Then, define the training need or the problem you want to resolve. Put in as much detail as possible. This helps the vendor to suggest solutions that are best suited to your needs. Also, include the learner profiles: their age, job role, how tech-savvy they are, how they prefer learning, the mobile devices they carry, and so on.
Clarify what performance goals you hope to meet. Do you want your employees to be able to do something differently, learn a new skill, or comply with a global standard? You must indicate the success indicators that will help you measure whether the performance goal is met. When you communicate this to the vendors, they will be mindful of the fact that you will be measuring the success of the solution and holding them accountable.
Call out the technical requirements at the onset. Which authoring tool do you prefer? Do you want to include audio and video in the learning? Do you have the technical infrastructure to handle the deployment of the module? How are you going to deliver the learning? You might have an existing Learning Management System (LMS). Or, you may want to integrate an LMS into your HR or Finance system. You must specify all of this beforehand.
It is important to include the go-live date in the RFP. You may have plans to launch the course with a new system or at the beginning of a particular quarter. If you do not mention the importance of the launch date, the vendor may try to negotiate around it. If you tell them up front, then the expectation is set.
It is important that you put in a budget range. You don’t want to waste your time, or the vendors, by inviting proposals beyond your budget. Include other details like the payment terms, the clauses for contract termination, and so on.
It is essential that you inform the vendors about how you will respond to the RFP. Clearly state if you require a hard copy, or if email correspondence is fine. Ask for testimonials and prior samples if you wish. Explain the process and metrics you will use to evaluate the vendor. This will ensure that you receive the relevant information from the vendors. Set a timeline for the decision-making process. Let the vendors know that you will connect with them if they are shortlisted.
Outsourcing your eLearning requirements is typically a better option than trying to develop the content in-house. If you have experts on board, then go ahead. Otherwise, external vendors are the best choice as they have the latest tools and resources at hand. Just make sure your RFP is top class so that you can select the best vendor for your learning solution.
At Designing Digitally, Inc. we create custom eLearning specific to your training objectives. Our courses ensure strong retention of information and provide innovative ways to change learner behaviors.