Imagine you were making a movie: As the director, it’s up to you to hire the staff necessary to bring all your ideas to fruition. Unfortunately, you hired the wrong person and suddenly, the award-winner you imagined turns out to be a disaster.
If you’re in the process of designing eLearning for your business, you might have experienced something like this before. Taking on the entire process on your own is tough, so you think about hiring an eLearning vendor to guide you. Hire the wrong eLearning vendor, though, and your plan won’t win any awards. Make sure you work with the right eLearning company who can see your vision for a masterpiece.
Talk to Past Customers for Their Take
Always ask for references from an eLearning vendor – consider it their head shot. By talking to past clients, you should be able to get a feel for how satisfied they are with the eLearning design process and outcome. Even better than solid reference? Solid references from longstanding, brand-name companies that you know and recognize. You can trust the information and opinions from customers who have been with a particular vendor for a long period of time, which speaks to the vendor’s professionalism and ability to deliver results. As you get to know a potential partner, you can decide whether or not an eLearning vendor can deliver what you need on your timeline. Always ask to see past projects and get referrals for clients.
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Focus on Graphic Design and Quality
An eLearning program is only as good as its graphics: Consider it your cinematography. Because graphics create the tone and the interest for the entire course, you’ll need an in-house graphic design team ready to take your sketchpad ideas to the screen. If the graphic design components will be outsourced to another company, you might think twice. Being in direct communication with a talented and experienced design team will offer better results and eliminates mixed messages and confusion.
Look for eLearning Partners with Onshore Operations
Being able to deliver everything you need both onshore and in-house means a number of distinct advantages for your eLearning program. When operations – think instructional design and learning management systems – span time zones and language barriers, your project can be lost in communication. What’s more, it’s often hard to deliver quality control and give and receive feedback when your experience spans several locations. Keep the process onshore and you’ll have a better time communicating with the very people you’ve selected to take your vision for a program to the big-time.
Learn About the eLearning Vendor’s Design Process
Quiz a potential eLearning vendor about the general design process. In the best-case scenario, your eLearning vendor should always seem one step ahead of you. An organized process by which the eLearning vendor becomes the eLearning expert gives you the opportunity to work side-by-side when creating an original draft of the module while encouraging near-constant communication throughout the process. Finally, the process should deliver a final product that you’re proud of.
Quantify Costs That Fit Your Budget
Don’t sit down at a $50-per-plate buffet if you can only afford $10. Knowing how much a vendor will charge based on past projects (ask to see examples and get all ballpark figure of the cost) and you’ll have a better chance at sticking with your budget.
Is it a Spring Fling or the Real Thing?
Is this a one-and-done deal, or do you plan on using the eLearning vendor in the future? If you can forge a relationship with an eLearning vendor, you can work together again and again. Choose an eLearning vendor who keeps up with the latest trends and seems excited to jump onboard new projects for you.
When working to design an eLearning program, it’s easy to spot the seasoned pros when compared to complete amateurs. By hiring an eLearning vendor that will work with you on your vision for a finished product, you’ll see your ideas play out on the big screen – or your computer, at least.