Getting Creative About Corporate Training Budgets: Tips for Reducing Costs for E-Learning and Blended Learning
I would love to live in a world without budgets. In this world, I’d work remotely from some amazing island in the Pacific, drive my red Ferrari to the local market each day to pick up fresh fish for my dinner, and never have to count calories or wonder if I’m putting enough into my 401k for retirement.This, however, is not reality (What???), and we all live in a world with budgets and a lot to accomplish with our available funds.
5 Tips To Reduce Costs in E-Learning and Corporate Training
In my role as a solution architect, I’m often asked, “How can I reduce costs to get this e-learning/blended learning project within my budget?” Here are some of my favorite tips:
- Manage Your Own Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs)
You can seldom produce e-learning and corporate training projects without SMEs. Experts play several essential roles: representing the audience, providing content and context, and reviewing courses for accuracy and effectiveness. If you are able to find, compensate, and manage your own SMEs, you’ll drive down the cost of your e-learning project, particularly if they are already on your full-time staff. If not, your e-learning vendor-partner will have to find SMEs for you—and they charge them to you as consultants.
- Provide Detailed and Documented Content
Gathering all of the content together and documenting any content that lives in any form—including in someone’s head—is a great cost savings. Package these files together and send them off to your instructional designer, reducing the need for a full-blown needs analysis to more of a concise content analysis.
- Think of Your Training Project Budget Globally
If you have different buckets of money allocated to different projects, don’t always think about your projects in silos. For example, a client I am working with is currently building three different e-learning programs. They wanted to invest in updating their e-learning template with the first program, but didn’t have the funds. When we looked at the other two programs, we realized the funds were available in one of the other projects; if we timed everything correctly, we could leverage the e-learning template across all three projects.
- Reduce Seat Time by Using Performance Support Tools
I love job aids, and I have some strong opinions on their uses, as I wrote about in “Job Aids… And If You Need Them.” A great way to drive down costs is to push content out of the formal training event, and migrate it to job aids or other performance support tools. This reduces seat time, while still providing information to your learners in a manner that can often be even more effective.
- Look Across Fiscal Years
While not technically reducing the cost of your training or e-learning project overall, being creative with financing can help you find additional budget.You may not have all the funds to develop your dream project this year, but perhaps you can split the costs between two budget years. You can do this as either a two-phase approach, or simply by timing your project in a way that splits the invoicing across the two fiscal years.
It’s in both your and your vendor’s interest to increase value, either by reducing costs or doing more for the same budget. What other creative ways have you found to achieve these goals? Please share by posting a comment below!Interested in learning more about how to maximize your e-learning budget? Check out our interactive infographic: How to Choose the Right E-Learning Solution.