Elearning Development: Is In-house or Outsourcing the Best Option for You?

Designing Digitally

11/07/2019

Elearning Development: Is In-house or Outsourcing the Best Option for You?

The eLearning industry is soaring. Big and mid-sized companies are already following the trend and using employee training to help their companies and employees grow. But, not every organization can afford to pay an eLearning vendor to develop their custom training program. At the same time, there are companies that cannot afford in-house eLearning development. In many cases, using your own resources falls short of creating a really useful training course. Sometimes outsourcing eLearning development makes a lot more sense, financially and practically. Let's explore the benefits of both options and, hopefully, this will help you make an informed decision for your specific needs.

Main Benefits of In-House Employee Training

In-house employee training means that you're developing the software, content, and application yourself with little or no help from outside sources. In this case, you either have the manpower to create the development team or you'll need to hire some new people to fill in distinct roles. Regardless of the practical steps you might need to take, there are certain definite benefits to in-house employee training production.

1. Highly Customized Training Experience

No one knows your company better than your employees. So, building an in-house training development team might make the most sense, depending on the size and scope of the program. You'll want to first survey your employees to find out what their opinions and skills are. You might have employees with hidden skills that could conduct the perfect training session.

Still, having the presentation skills doesn't necessarily translate into knowing how to put together a training course. For this, instructional designer skills are of utmost importance. If you do have a subject matter expert (SME) on your team they will be an invaluable asset, not only because they'll know what content to use, but also because they'll help keep the customization process in line with employee learning objectives.

2. Lower Costs

It stands to reason that, if you're not hiring an external team to create an employee training course you'll save money. Although you will not be paying extra for designers, programmers, and managers, designing a training course from scratch takes time. And, since time is money, you might end up redirecting resources towards development and taking people away from what they need to do in their day-to-day jobs.

Many large companies have a dedicated Learning and Development (L&D) team who is solely focused on training efforts. In these cases, it’s not easy to say if it costs less to create training internally or outsource course development, since the company is paying salary and benefits for these employees. The ROI equation is unique to each organization and their needs. 

3. Big Challenge

Your employees might get excited and see this training development as a welcomed challenge. This is definitely a good thing. But, a challenge is like a double-edged sword: it can go both ways. Employees can be engaged at the beginning, since this is a new venture and something that takes them away from, perhaps, mundane daily tasks. So, what happens when the initial excitement wears off? You don't want to be left with a half-finished project and end up chucking it in the trash.

Read also: Is Outsourcing Content Development the Best Way to Go?

Main Benefits of Outsourcing eLearning Development

Directly opposite to in-house development, outsourcing employee training means you'll hand over development control to a third-party training creator- in most cases represented by a professional eLearning developer. While this decision might end up costing you more at the onset of the project, you might find that the long-term benefits are well worth it. Here are the three main benefits of hiring a training program architect:

1. High-End Dev Team

If you do your homework and choose the right training vendor, you'll have a professional development team at your fingertips. This team of experts will bring years of experience, trial-and-error, and acquired knowledge to the table. They'll also, ideally, be up to date with the latest eLearning development trends and technologies. The downside to hiring out is that you'll need to allow the due time for this new team to get familiar with the inner-workings of your organization.

2. Faster Execution and Implementation

These people know what they are doing. They have processes in place, know their domain, and can get a training program up and running in no time. Their skill, knowledge, and expertise are really what you are paying for. Keep in mind that the size of the project will dictate the deployment time. If you're looking to build a large-scale training course, this will obviously take more time.

3. Scalability and Future-Proofing

It's important for the course you are building to have the proper base for making ulterior modifications. This means that the training course wireframe must include the concepts of scalability and future-proofing. Your in-house team might lack the skills and knowledge to anticipate future needs. Conversely, a professional development team will most likely start off with these two key concepts in mind.

Related infographic: What You Should Know About Outsourcing Your Online Learning Needs

Why Choosing an eLearning Vendor is Ideal

Leaving aside the costs involved in either in-house and outsourcing eLearning development, the sheer size and composition of a development team might lead you to choose the latter. An employee training company will likely bring the following team members to the table:

Indeed, for a small training course, you might not need all these people. Ask yourself what the size, scope, and desired learning outcomes of the course might be. This will help you decide whether you outsource or put together an in-house development team.

Read also: How to Choose the Perfect E-Learning Vendor

Conclusion

Some companies choose to do it all, others resort to outsourcing their eLearning development projects. Learning about the pros and cons of both options should help you gain a better understanding of what each can offer you. Still, the first step is to meet with your employees. Then, gauge what resources you already have on hand, and figure out what learning goals and objectives you need to strive towards for the specific course you want to build. In any case, creating a training program from scratch can be overwhelming, so contact Designing Digitally to determine if outsourcing is the best option for you!

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