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When you need to train employees or educate college students, you may face the big question of how to choose the right eLearning company to educate, engage and entertain your learners.
It might seem simple enough – look at a few websites and check some examples of their work – everything from custom eLearning to training simulations and mobile learning development. Unfortunately, the selection process can be more complex for businesses, colleges, government agencies and other organizations. You should have many questions that must be addressed so you end up with the right type of training in the long run.
It makes sense for you to embrace eLearning because it can invigorate training in many settings – when it’s placed in the right hands. The opportunities will only expand over time. Global Industry Analysts, Inc. projects that eLearning spending worldwide will reach $220 billion by 2020.
Here are 10 of the most important factors you should weigh before choosing an eLearning company.
You might think that years matter – and they do. But experience goes much deeper. An eLearning company should be able to demonstrate that it has created a wide range of serious games and other eLearning projects that impressed their clients. Diverse awards and testimonials should back up their claims. If they cite or share industry honors, make sure the sources are nationally or internationally recognized firms and organizations. All of the awards shouldn’t be several years old either; look for recent ones as well.
Find out who is involved at the firm and make sure that you’re confident that it has the right team in place, including project managers, project coordinators, instructional designers, graphic designers, developers and programmers, audio and visual technicians, creative directors and personnel committed to quality assurance. Is that overkill? Not al all. You need specialized skills and effective managers who can plan, shape and deliver immersive training and eLearning courses.
When you consider going with an eLearning company you need to be convinced that you lack in-house expertise. If you don’t settle that matter, you might become distracted by the notion that you can pull off the training on your own. Do you really have the right talent among many employees? Do they have the time? Can development's get tossed on the backburner every time a new priority surfaces?
Sure, it sounds obvious. Call the references before signing a deal. You might hesitate to pick up the phone because you’re only expecting to hear all of the positives. But if you call, ask the eLearning company clients to be candid. Find out whether there were any problems and how they were addressed. Did the firm have any employee turnover in the middle of the project? If so, how was that handled? What affected the timeline? Did they need to explain their business and objectives multiple times?
You can start with reviewing some screenshots. But you’ll want to evaluate their efforts in more detail. Take the time to go through serious games and simulations that the potential eLearning vendor completed for other businesses and schools. When you judge their work, keep in mind that the approach won’t necessarily mirror what you’re hoping to accomplish. But you should still be interested and be able to easily see that developments support learning in fun and innovative ways with first-rate content.
Serious games and other eLearning experiences should be investments that last. But what if something needs to be changed after you’ve approved it? How soon can the firm take care of you? How sound is the technology? Seek assurances that the standards and best practices will work well on multiple devices in the future.
An experienced eLearning company will begin with a wide assortment of questions that will help its professionals understand your goals – and your audiences. The questions should reflect the depth of their experience and make you comfortable with your selection. You will want to work with a developer that understands different learning styles.
Yes, you should have a budget in mind. But the potential vendor should offer sound advice about what you can realistically expect to get for your money. Unfortunately, some companies may overpromise and underdeliver. You need to be confident that you’re going to get what your budget covers. The developer may offer some pricing and scope options. Be sure that you understand the implications about your choices. At the end of the day, the training still needs to be entertaining, practical and useful with a focus on knowledge retention.
Study any contract in detail. Go over the e learning companies responsibilities as well as yours. Are the milestones and projected completion dates includes? Are they reasonable? When will you pay? How much? How will issues be resolved? When will revisions be made?
You’re going to spend a reasonable amount of time with each possible vendor. If they claim to be full-service firms, make sure they convince you that they can handle what you need. Does their talent really have the right chops? What’s their instructional design philosophy and does it align well with yours? Are eLearning games a core part of their business or something they simply added a few years ago?
You have quite a bit to consider before you select your eLearning company. Hopefully, you won’t pick a firm that just wants to land another sale. Choose a firm that genuinely is interested in your business and solving your training challenges.