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How to Select the Right eLearning Vendor for Your Project

A recent survey by indicated that the eLearning market is valued at USD 165 billion with anticipated market growth of up to 5% a year through to 2023.* With eLearning being such a common delivery tool for learning these days, there is also no shortage of vendors competing for this business from clients.

Often companies look for an eLearning vendor when they don’t have internal staff to develop the training themselves, or when they are looking for new ideas to make their eLearning more innovative and exciting. As eLearning and training vendors are typically in many different companies and industries, they are able to propose new training ideas based on what they have seen or done for other companies (without violating company confidential information, of course).

Before selecting an eLearning vendor, here are some questions you can ask yourself and/or the vendor to ensure you select the right partner for your eLearning project:

  1. What do you specifically need the vendor to do? Will it be instructional design of the storyboards and the programming of the eLearning course? Will the vendor supply the audio talent and the studio? Will they purchase the rights to the graphics and will they test it on your company’s Learning Management System (LMS) or will they host it on their own LMS?

  2. What are the project timelines for this initiative? When will the eLearning storyboards be developed and reviewed with you? When will the eLearning course(s) be developed and how many times can the client review them before you get charged for revisions (most eLearning vendors offer 2-3 review cycles before charges apply)?

  3. Is it important to you that the vendor has an office space where you can visit them for meetings, or are you okay with a virtual team?

  4. What level of interactivity do you need your eLearning to be? Will the vendor be using instructional designers who know authoring tools like Storyline, Lectora or Captivate or will they use programmers and graphic designers who can program beyond the standard eLearning authoring tools to create anything you envision?

  5. If you are looking for level 3 or 4 eLearning interactivity, is your vendor able to program eLearning with this level of learner engagement?

  6. Does the vendor have graphic designer(s) on-staff to make sure the eLearning aligns with brand standards and to ensure it looks aesthetically pleasing and professional?

  7. Is the vendor willing to show you examples of past eLearning modules they have created?

  8. Is the vendor willing to share references that not only can attest to the quality of the eLearning developed, but also provides feedback on their working relationship with clients and ability to manage timelines?

  9. If you are located in Ontario, Canada – has the vendor developed accessible eLearning that is aligned with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)?

  10. How important is it to you that the vendor has full-time programmers and instructional designers or staff? Are you okay if the company is using instructional designers or eLearning developers who are independent consultants?

  11. Does it matter to you if the vendor is in North America or do they use off-shore developers to program the eLearning? If the vendor is going to use off-shore developers how will your confidential information be protected? If the vendor is using off-shore programmers, which laws will cover the confidentiality of information presented in the eLearning course (will it be the laws of the country in which the eLearning is being developed, or will it be the laws of the country your business is in apply)?

  12. How many eLearning projects has this vendor done before? Have they been successful and are they willing to share the names and contact information to speak to previous clients?

  13. What is your budget?

  14. Are you willing to pay more money for things like additional review cycles or to have your eLearning be available on mobile devices and tablets?

  15. What will success look like for this project?

  16. If you are creating mLearning (or gamifcation), ask for the vendor to share a specific example of where they delivered a project using this medium (lots of vendors are talking about these new learning delivery methods but few have actually done it. You don’t want to be their “guinea pig” and the pilot for their work)?

  17. If you are doing mobile learning, how many different mobile devices has the vendor launched eLearning on? How did they test if the eLearning worked or mobile devices and different operating systems? Did they tie the m-Learning to a client’s LM?

  18. If they are developing gamification, has the vendor actually used gaming engines (do they have programmers on staff that can do this or are they using rapid eLearning authoring tools like Storyline with gamified elements (e.g. Jeopardy, Tic-Tac-Toe etc)? If you are looking to do true gamification, most likely you will need you a vendor who can create gamification using gaming engines you may also need the vendor to put a SCORM wrapper on the game(s) to around to make it work on your LMS).

Good luck with your eLearning project and don’t forget to ask yourself and/or your potential eLearning partner these questions to ensure your project is a success!

* E-Learning Market Size, Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook, Application Development, Price Trend, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2016 – 2023

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