Pros, Cons And 4 Tips For Choosing The Ideal eLearning Consultant For Your Online Training Program
eLearning consultants are specialists in the field. That is why they can handle a wide range of tasks, from developing multimedia content for your next online training course to offering advice on how to improve your online training ROI. As a general rule, they work independently or with a tightknit team of other eLearning professionals, which makes them a perfect fit for smaller online training projects that require specific skill sets, experience, and in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. If you're unsure about whether an eLearning consultant is the best way to go, you'll find all of the information you need to make an informed decision right here. This includes the advantages, drawbacks, and 4 tips for choosing an eLearning consultant for your online training program.
3 Pros Of Hiring An eLearning Consultant
1. Reduced Development Costs
eLearning consultants are the most effective option if you are looking for a smaller eLearning development team, between 1 and 3 eLearning professionals. You can hire them on a temporary basis to design your online training content, rather than having to bring a new staff member on board. This also gives your employees the ability to focus on their work responsibilities instead of having to allocate time to Learning & Development projects.
2. Streamlined Communication
Hiring an eLearning consultant allows for more effective and streamlined communication, especially when compared to eLearning vendors. This is due to the fact that you are working with an individual or a small eLearning team, rather than a large group of eLearning professionals. In addition, eLearning freelancers typically only take on a limited number of eLearning projects simultaneously, which means that you will coordinate and collaborate with them more efficiently.
One of the most significant benefits of choosing an eLearning consultant is gaining their expertise. As they have experience in the field and know the subject matter in depth, they can produce more effective online training content. Most eLearning consultants are Subject Matter Experts, themselves, or have a SME on their eLearning team.
3 Cons Of Hiring An eLearning Consultant
1. Limited Knowledge Base And Skill Sets
Given that eLearning consultants typically don't have larger teams working with them, they tend to have a limited scope when it comes to knowledge and skills. For example, they may be experts at Instructional Design theories and models, but know very little about graphic design and how to create multimedia content. As a result, you may have to bring additional eLearning consultants on board to fill in the gaps.
2. May Not Be Able To Handle Larger eLearning Projects
eLearning consultants are typically not ideal for large scale eLearning projects, especially those with tight deadlines. Thus, if you need to develop a comprehensive online training program in a short span of time, an eLearning vendor may be the way to go. Otherwise, you can bring multiple eLearning consultants on board and give them the tools and resources they need to effective collaborate.
3. Limited Availability
Even if things go smoothly with your current eLearning consultant, they may not be available when it's time to develop your next eLearning project. If they are in high demand, chances are that their schedules will fill up quickly and you may have to wait or hire another eLearning consultant for the job. This is stark contrast to an eLearning vendor, who usually has a large group of eLearning professionals they can call upon.
4 Tips To Choose The Right eLearning Consultant
1. Ask About Their Development Approach
It's vital to ask about an eLearning consultant's work process and development approach. How will they communicate with you, and how often? What resources will they need to complete the eLearning project? Have they worked on similar eLearning projects before? Everyone has their own Project Management Style, and it's essential to find an eLearning consultant who meshes with your organization's methodologies.
2. Ensure That Your Information Will Be Safe
Data security should be a top priority, and you'll need to ensure that your potential eLearning consultant is going to be able to secure your sensitive information. Are they willing to sign an non-disclosure agreement that specifies how the data will be used and who it belongs to? How will they be storing your online data? You don't want to entrust your information to an eLearning consultant, only to discover that they are not using an encrypted server or development platform.
3. Test Their Communication Skills
The eLearning consultant you ultimately choose must be able to communicate with you effectively and in a timely manner. Therefore, ask about their preferred contact methods and pay close attention to how they articulate themselves and how long it takes them to respond to your messages. One of the perks of hiring an eLearning consultant is streamlined communication. Thus, delayed replies and a general lack of communication skills can be a deal breaker.
4. Request A Project Development Timeline
Be honest and up front with them about all of the specifications of your eLearning project and then request a detailed timeline. It should include all of the eLearning project milestones, delivery dates, and an itemized breakdown of the costs and tools involved. If you have any questions or concerns about the timeline, clarify them beforehand so that there is no confusion later on.
eLearning consultants may not be the right choice for every organization, particularly those that need to develop a full-scale online training program with multiple facets. However, it does offer a variety of benefits for organizations who require a more targeted online training course that calls for an eLearning specialist's touch.
Are you still unsure whether your staff is ready to make the leap to online training? Read the article 6 Tell-Tale Signs That Your Employees Are Ready For Online Training to learn about the signs that it may be time for your employees to take online training.