There are various steps you should go through when selecting an e-learning developer to produce training content for your organisation. This includes checking the services that are being offered, past work history, and the process that will be followed. It’s also important to dig deeper to make sure the developer will be a good fit for your organisation.
Ensuring there is a good fit will help make the development process as smooth as possible, while also ensuring the successful delivery of your e-learning course. Here are eight essential qualities in an e-learning developer that you should look for.
Focus on Quality
Quality is the cornerstone of all good e-learning content. It applies to the development process as much as the final product, and it’s an important element in the aftersales service that you receive from the e-learning developer.
In regard to the final product, quality is essential for the design of the course, its underlying structure, the training strategies that are used, and the accuracy of the content.
In other words, quality should be central to all aspects of the e-learning developer’s operation.
Developing a new e-learning course is a complex process, so it is important the team you are working with is motivated. Each person on the team should be committed to your success while also bringing energy, ideas, and enthusiasm to the project.
You will need to meet the key people on the e-learning developer’s team to get an idea of their motivation levels and the ethos they will bring to your project.
Strength and Depth of Skills
Creating a high-quality e-learning course requires multiple skillsets, so it’s important your e-learning developer has strong skill levels on its team, as well as a wide range of skills. Some of the key skills you should look out for include:
- Instructional design
- Graphic design
- UX design
- Corporate training strategies and educational skills
- Learning management system skills
Robust Project Management Processes
The complexity of e-learning development projects has been mentioned above. A crucial part of dealing with that complexity is through robust project management processes.
The developer you select to be your outsourced e-learning partner should have experienced project managers on its team, effective project management software applications, and excellent procedures. This will ensure milestones and final delivery dates are adhered to, while also keeping the budget under control. Effective project management also makes the development process smoother and more efficient.
Managing an e-learning development project requires excellent communication skills.
The importance of communication is enhanced even further when you consider the number of people who will be involved in the project, both on your team and your outsourced partner’s team. This can include subject matter experts who often face significant time pressures, making effective communication essential.
Good planning and robust processes are essential for all large and complex projects, including the development of new e-learning courses. Even with excellent planning and management, however, the unexpected can happen. In these situations, unproductive providers will attempt to deflect blame.
The better approach is to work with an e-learning developer who is accountable and will focus all its efforts on dealing with the situation in the best way possible. Ideally, this will mean turning a potentially negative issue into something that benefits the development process and the final product.
Agility and Flexibility
Circumstances and requirements can change over the course of an e-learning development project, so it is crucial the e-learning development partner you select is agile and flexible. They should be able to adjust to changing circumstances smoothly and with as little impact on the project timeline as possible.
Of course, major changes of direction will have an impact, and changes to the scope of a project can have cost implications. That said, agility can mean the difference between an e-learning development project that gets completed regardless of existing business realities, and a completed project that successfully addresses your needs today and into the future.
Alignment with Your Vision
One of the challenges that can arise in e-learning development projects is aligning the vision you have for the training course and the vision of those on the development team. This problem can even arise when e-learning development is in-house.
The e-learning development partner you select should have an approach where its vision is fully aligned with yours. Your development partner can also provide a third-party perspective and new ideas, as differing viewpoints can enhance the quality of the course that is finally produced. However, it is essential the focus of the project remains fixed on your requirements as you define them.
Making the Right Choice
Some of the above points are easier to quantify than others. For example, assessing the strength and depth of skills being offered is largely an objective exercise, whereas understanding whether the team is motivated requires a subjective assessment based on the interactions you have with the individuals involved.
However you make the assessment, taking time to consider the above points will save you in the medium and long-term, while also ensuring your get maximum ROI from your e-learning investments.