10 Tips for Creating a Realistic E-Learning Development Outsourcing Budget
Outsourcing e-learning development will ensure you have high-quality training material in your organisation. There are costs involved, however, so it is important to create a realistic budget to optimise your investment.
Setting a realistic budget will also help you keep costs under control, and it will ensure you get a standard of content that delivers positive outcomes for your business.
How do you create a realistic e-learning development outsourcing budget? Here are our 10 tips.
- Define Your Training Objectives and Ensure They Align with Business Goals
Before you even start looking at numbers, it is essential you define your training objectives, ensuring they are in alignment with the needs of the business today and in the future.
This process of defining training goals helps with the e-learning development process in addition to maintaining a focus on what is actually needed. This focus will facilitate the setting of a realistic outsourcing budget.
- Identify Priority Topic Areas and Skills Requirements
You might then need to go through a process of identifying the priority topic areas or skills gaps that new training can help improve. After all, you might not be able to do everything. Focusing only on the key priority areas will reduce the required budget.
- Take Stock of Existing Resources
Do an inventory of your existing training materials and resources, checking if they are relevant and accurate. If they are, can they be incorporated into the new training course? Any existing resources that can be incorporated reduces the amount of material the e-learning developer will have to create.
- Think About the Internal Resources that Will be Required
One of the mistakes that many people make when setting budgets for the development of training materials is not properly taking into account the internal resources that will be required. This mistake happens whether the training is being developed in-house or it is being outsourced.
Even when you are outsourcing, there will be internal resources required during the process. Subject matter experts will need to help with creating content, for example. You will also need to spend time reviewing, giving feedback, and approving the various stages of the development process.
Internal resources will then be required to deploy the training course when the development work is complete, and you will also need to monitor the progress of employees, gather feedback, and deal with any issues that may arise.
Properly considering all these factors will help you set a more realistic budget.
- Consider Engagement and Interactivity
One of the major benefits of e-learning courses is that it is possible to include a large number of highly engaging and interactive elements. Examples include gamified elements, interactive videos, and detailed scenarios. While there are significant advantages to having these elements in your e-learning courses, developing them can be costly.
Therefore, you should assess the training topic, weighing up whether you will get a return from including more expensive content elements. You might be able to reduce the quantity of these elements, for example, or opt to remove them altogether.
- Take Ongoing Maintenance into Account
Many training courses will need maintenance over time. This is usually to update or change content. You might need to update content for compliance reasons, for example, or because of a change in internal business processes. In fact, the reasons for needing to change or update an e-learning course are endless.
It is best to take maintenance into account when you are setting your budget. How easy will it be to update the e-learning course, and what will it cost?
- Set a Realistic Development Schedule
In most cases, the quicker the development timeline, the more costly the project will be. So, setting a realistic development schedule can help to keep your costs down.
If you have a tight timeline, you will need to account for this in your budget.
- Insist on an Iterative Development Process
An iterative design approach involves you having visibility of the e-learning course throughout the development process. This is a more effective development process than the developer creating everything before you are asked for feedback. By providing continuous feedback on smaller chunks, the overall development time can be reduced.
Minimising the development time will reduce the cost of developing your e-learning course, so you should consider this when creating your budget.
It is also important to choose an e-learning developer in the UAE or Saudi Arabia that operates with an iterative development process.
- Assess Return on Investment
Getting an e-learning course professionally developed is an investment in your business. Therefore, it is better to view the budget involved as an investment rather than a cost. It is also beneficial to then consider return on investment when creating your budget.
How will you calculate return on investment and what timescale would you like to see those returns delivered?
- Work With an E-Learning Developer Who Will Respect Your Budget
Finally, make sure you work with an e-learning developer who will respect your budget, with processes to ensure the work remains within agreed levels. There should be no hidden charges, and any changes or variations in the project scope should be fully costed and agreed before work begins.
Managing the Budget
Creating a realistic budget at the start sets the right expectations. Managing that budget throughout the development process is important, too, as completing the project within budget will help you obtain approval for future e-learning development plans.