eLearning Content Development Outsourcing: Pros and Cons

eLearning Content Development Outsourcing
Summary: This post highlights the pros and cons of eLearning content development outsourcing. Its purpose is to give you some food for thought when you're trying to determine if you should create the eLearning course in-house or leave it in the hands of an experienced eLearning content development company.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Outsourcing eLearning Content Development

There is a major question that every company/organization must answer when it comes to create an eLearning project: should we outsource the eLearning Content Development, or create it in-house? It is true that the benefits and drawbacks associated with each alternative vary widely since no two companies/organizations share the same eLearning needs, goals, and subject matters. However, there are a number of pros and cons that are pretty common across the board and should be taken into consideration prior making any decisions.

4 Pros of Outsourcing eLearning Content Development

  1. Benefit from the skill sets and talents of experienced eLearning content development companies.
    When you outsource eLearning content you gain the opportunity to benefit from the skill and experience of the eLearning content development company. For example, if you aren't adequately knowledgeable about the subject matter that you are dealing with, the eLearning content development team may have a more in depth understanding of the ideas and concepts involved. Chances are that they have already worked on similar eLearning projects before. As such, you can take full advantage of their expertise, especially if the eLearning content development company has prior knowledge in the niche or field. You can also benefit from their specific eLearning design and development skills, which may come in handy if you are new to the world of eLearning or online training.
  2. No need to worry about time lines, project glitches, or staffing issues.
    The eLearning content development company is going to be in charge of managing staff members, and ensuring that time lines are met and that everything moves according to plan. As such, you won't have to worry about any of these issues. In addition, they will also be taking care of any eLearning project glitches that arise, which means that you won't have to go through the stress of trying to fix problems before launch time rolls around.
  3. May lead to more rapid completion and quicker turnaround times.
    Given that the eLearning content development company is knowledgeable about what's involved in the creation process and has experience getting the job done in a timely manner, chances are that the eLearning project will be completed more quickly. If you have a tight deadline, they will probably be able to offer faster turnaround times, even if they may charge a bit more to accommodate your rapidly approaching due date.
  4. Less expensive than employing an eLearning Content Development team.
    Hiring an eLearning content development team to join your staff usually comes at a high price. If they are full time you not only have to pay their wage, but also to cover vacation time, health benefits, and possibly an office space wherein they can work. Therefore, a good amount of your budget may have to be allocated to human resources. However, if you outsource your eLearning content development, there isn't any such need. Instead, you can devote the resources you would have spent on other aspects of your organization.

4 Cons of Outsourcing eLearning Content Development

  1. The eLearning content development company may not be as knowledgeable about the subject.
    A major drawback of outsourcing content is that you might end up with an eLearning content development team who is less experienced or doesn't know a great deal about the subject matter. For example, if you contract an agency to do the job, you probably won't have any control over who they delegate the task to. As such, a new hire who is less skilled may be the one who is working on your deliverable. To avoid this uncomfortable situation, adequate research is needed prior selecting the eLearning content development company. For example, you can request a demo showing their work and/or review each member’s resume and portfolio.
  2. You forgo complete control of the eLearning project.
    When you place your eLearning course or deliverable in the hands of an eLearning content development company, you usually give up at least some creative control. Though you may have some input, they are the ones who ultimately decide how the finished product turns out. For  professionals who prefer to have a direct say in all aspects of their deliverables, this can present major challenges. To overcome this, you should clearly define your needs, goals, and preferences beforehand and schedule periodic meeting to define you are all in the same page.
  3. The quality of the eLearning course content may not be as high.
    Another con of eLearning content development outsourcing is that the quality of the finished eLearning product and the content itself may not be of high quality. The skills, experience, and talents of the eLearning developers may be lacking in some regard, and this may lead to a deliverable that doesn't live up to your expectations. However, it's important to mention that this can be avoided, if you stipulate that you will have complete control over the revision process and that you can choose who will be working on your project.
  4. May have to put up with missed deadlines or delays.
    The fact that you don't have direct control over whether or not the project will be completed in time is a major issue with outsourcing content development. While some eLearning content development companies will be able to deliver on time, there will be some outsourcing eLearning projects that involve delays or missed deadlines. Despite the fact that, in some instances, this may be due to unforeseen glitches and issues that arise; it may also be caused by a lack of experience or productivity on the part of the eLearning content development company you've contracted.

There are a number of things to consider when you're dealing with the eLearning content development outsourcing or in-house dilemma. For example, is the content too sensitive to be shared with a third-party? Do I have adequate time and resources to develop the content in-house, or would it be wise to delegate it to someone else? Determining whether it's best to outsource or not, greatly depends upon your budget, your experience level, and the benefits gained from outsourcing. Once you consider these key factors, you'll be able to make the decision that's best not just for your Learning and Development team, but for the learners as well.

Looking for more information on how to find the right eLearning content development company?

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