7 Reasons Why Your eLearning Outsourcing Project Is Over Budget
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Why Your eLearning Outsourcing Project Is Over Budget And How To Cut Costs

You have many good reasons to outsource your eLearning project. The eLearning development process calls for technical expertise that you may not find in-house. It’s cost-effective to outsource your eLearning course and focus your resources on delivering the L&D strategy. However, go into an eLearning outsourcing agreement without being specific on the details and expect to work against your vendor. Some of the pitfalls of eLearning outsourcing projects are obvious, some less so. Here, I discuss 7 top budget-busting issues in the vendor-client relationship and the steps you can take to avoid them.

Why Have My Costs Spiraled?

The problems you are encountering had likely been set in motion long before your eLearning development began. The foundations of a successful eLearning outsourcing project must be built on mutual understanding. Clarity on time, cost, and quality are essential from the very beginning of any project, especially so in eLearning. Corporate eLearning projects have the potential to redefine a learning environment within an organization. If you’re paying for experts to deliver, then you expect nothing less. Here are 7 eLearning outsourcing areas you should evaluate to keep your budget in check.

1. Unrealistic Schedules

If your eLearning outsourcing project timeline is unrealistic, your timings may be too tight for the interactivity or complexity you have asked for. You will need to assess the delivery of the eLearning course to see if time can be saved elsewhere. For example, you cannot expect the vendor to create a virtual simulation custom tailored to your needs in a day. Meet with the eLearning outsourcing partner beforehand to iron out the delivery dates and milestones so that everyone’s on the same page.

2. Ineffective eLearning Development Process

If your eLearning outsourcing partner is not using an agile development process, you may be wasting valuable time. Without agile development, you have to wait until the eLearning course is created to make any revisions. Speak to your eLearning outsourcing partner about involving you earlier in the eLearning project to make edits and suggestions along the way. Discuss a game plan with your vendor beforehand if you want to play a more active role. For example, request weekly or monthly meetings so that you can track progress and provide regular input.

3. Redundant Assets

If your eLearning content provider is using their own eLearning authoring tools and you’ve got them in-house, you’re paying twice for licensing fees. Agree on this in the contract so that you are not wasting money. Similarly, you may be outsourcing too much, not taking advantage of your in-house resources. Think about whether your IT team could customize the eLearning platform or create the templates using your own eLearning authoring tools. You could then outsource only the content creation.

4. Unclear Statement Of Work

A successful eLearning outsourcing project starts with a mutually agreed statement of work. You need to have all the details of the contract in writing. This might include cost overview, delivery dates and the overall scope of the eLearning project, such as which support services are included. One of the most common reasons for going over budget when outsourcing eLearning is hidden fees. You should be aware of any and all costs that may arise over the course of the eLearning outsourcing project. That includes software expenses and payroll overages. For example, the eLearning outsourcing content provider may need to hire another Subject Matter Expert or graphic designer, which may put you over your budget cap.

5. Poor Communication

Poor communication between you and your eLearning outsourcing partner could lead to backlogs, unnecessary work, and missing details. All of which can derail your launch timeline, which has a direct impact on your eLearning outsourcing budget. Open channels of communication are essential to deal with issues as they arise, such as delayed milestones or technical glitches. Specify how and when you plan to communicate with the eLearning content provider so that both parties know the preferred methods and frequency. That way, everyone stays in the loop and you stay within your price range.

6. No Working Prototype

Failure to demand a prototype of the eLearning course before starting the eLearning outsourcing project may be hampering the review phase. A working prototype will help you check you are happy with the Instructional Design, functionality, and navigation, among other things. It is much harder to resolve these issues down the line, so better to agree on the design standards at the front end. In the long run, prototypes and working samples. In the beginning, ensure that the eLearning content provider stays on track, and on budget.

7. Lack Of An Effective Feedback System

Failure to involve online learners and high-end users in the eLearning development process will lead to revisions at the end. These issues could have been resolved using their feedback if they were included at the eLearning course design phase and throughout. As such, you’re likely to go over budget and be forced to push back your launch date. Set up a test environment and include online learners and administrators in the eLearning course design process.

When you are selecting your eLearning outsourcing partner, study carefully your initial interactions. They should be experienced enough to guide you through the process. Their development process will tell you a lot about how they approach this relationship: a partnership, or a one-way street. If they fail to use words like learner experience, feedback, agile development, and communication then you have identified a problem. Your contract discussions should be open and honest. Your statement of work should be the result of detailed, thoughtful interactions. If you find yourself already stuck in a difficult relationship, with spiraling costs, then challenge it. Ask difficult questions about where you can pair back on design elements such as interactivity. Don’t be afraid to demand better service. You’ll be setting yourself up for a more successful eLearning supplier relationship in the future.

Have you been considering whether it is more cost-efficient to tackle the task in-house or outsource it? Have you tried hard at eLearning course development, but you're still not achieving the desired results? Download the free eBook The Ultimate Guide To eLearning Outsourcing to discover the benefits of eLearning outsourcing, common mistakes to avoid, criteria for choosing the best eLearning outsourcing Content Provider, how to ensure that your eLearning outsourcing project runs smoothly and much more.

eBook Release: Thinkific
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