Vendor Vetting Tips: What To Look For When Outsourcing Blended Learning

What would be your biggest obstacle when outsourcing blended learning? Timeline? Budget? Quality? Won’t you face these challenges with other learning initiatives? Definitely! However, when it comes to the development of a blended learning program, your in-house team will have to tackle challenges such as:

  • Lack of expertise in designing and developing the different formats in the blend – eLearning, virtual instructor-led training, microlearning, mobile learning
  • No clear idea of how to create the right blend – deciding what should go online and what should be covered in the classroom
  • Using authoring tools – picking the right tool, leveraging its features
  • Lack of well-defined, established processes for design and development and translating and localizing content

……. And so many more! Can your in-house team handle challenges that come from all these aspects? Does your in-house team have all the required expertise and experience?

If your answer is no, then it makes more sense to outsource your blended learning project to a vendor who offers all these services under one roof – from ideation to implementation.

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5 Vendor Qualification Tips To Outsource Your Blended Learning Project

Ensure the vendor you’re going to go for:

1. Offers Blended Learning Consulting

Because a blended learning program includes different elements it’s important for you to find a vendor who has expertise in all domains. Look for a vendor who will go through your training needs and consult you on the best formats that can be used – based on your learner demographics and the topic to be dealt with.

For instance, a competent vendor can help you with:

  • Ensuring your blended learning program is aligned with organizational goals and performance objectives
  • Designing the overall strategy of the blended learning program – what, when, how
  • Identifying missing elements that are crucial for effective design and delivery – content gaps, technological infrastructure, and more
  • Finding the right authoring tool, virtual training platforms if you haven’t fixed any
  • Evaluating training at different levels to gauge the success of the training initiative

All in all, the vendor should be able to drive the project starting from framing the objectives to structuring content and developing, delivering, and evaluating it.

2. Has A Background In Classroom And Online Training

To reiterate, blended learning offers the best of both worlds – digital and in-person instruction – hence it’s important for your vendor to have prior experience in classroom as well as online training. You should also check if the vendor has experience in handling projects of similar scope and scale as yours.

You’ll also need to decide whether you want the vendor to manage the entire project, or just develop the online elements. If it’s the latter, you can go ahead with a vendor whose core service is online training development. However, it would be easier to work with a vendor who has experience and expertise in both classroom and online training.

They will ensure your classroom training material is converted to all needed online formats in accordance with sound instructional design and adult learning principles – ensuring nothing is lost or compromised during conversion.

3. Has Expertise In Instructional Design And Authoring Tools

Do you remember everything you’ve learned in the classroom or an eLearning course after a certain period? Certainly not everything! According to Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve, knowledge retention drops to almost 90% within the first month of learning.

Hence, if you want your training to be effective, the vendor should be able to design the blended learning program from the perspective of a learning journey and not just an event. For this, your blended learning outsourcing partner should be an expert in instructional design and offer rapid eLearning solutions that leverage authoring tools for scale and speed, without compromising creativity or learning effectiveness.

The vendor’s instructional design team will know the best about:

  • Strategies to be used in eLearning courses
  • Microlearning assets to be used
  • Scope for reinforcement, practice, or application of knowledge
  • Knowledge check and assessments – type and placement within the journey

4. Follows Agile, Iterative, Global Project Management

A good vendor would not only recommend a strong, agile, global project management process, but he would also insist on it. They should be able to work with teams from different time zones and cultures. More importantly, they should ensure issues are identified and rectified early to avoid costly rework and offer a dedicated project manager for your project.

The blended learning vendor should also be able to offer a dedicated team to work on your projects to build familiarity and work as an extension of your internal team. They should be able to spare resources to meet your needs for scalability when required.

While outsourcing blended learning, ensure the vendor follows a clear process that they apply consistently:

  • Project management with clearly defined timelines and budget
  • Efficient external and client communication
  • Established metrics for success
  • Well-defined quality testing and assurance processes

5. Offers Translations And Localization Services

Another important tip while looking for a vendor to outsource blended learning is to see if they offer eLearning translation and localization services. If you’re planning to roll out the blended program to a global audience, translations and localization are crucial for effective learning.

Outsourcing this part of the requirement to the same vendor will not just save time but also ensure high-quality translations with their set processes. And most importantly, it saves you from the confusion of dealing with different vendors for development and translation.

Additional Tips To Success

While these are just five important tips to find the right blended learning vendor, you should go a step ahead and check if they offer LMS administration support. In case your in-house team is fully occupied, the vendor’s team can take care of support tasks – managing assets, assigning courses, generating reports, handling learner tickets, regularly cleaning/archiving resources.

Outsourcing Mistakes To Avoid

Finally, here are a few mistakes you should avoid while outsourcing blended learning:

  • Deciding to outsource blended learning without evaluating if you need it.
  • Finalizing the vendor who quotes the lowest without assessing their acumen in designing and developing blended learning.
  • Outsourcing different parts of the same blended learning project to different vendors. This might result in chaos and inconsistent output.
  • Skipping training needs analysis and not finding out why you need a particular training program in the first place.

Conclusion

Download the eBook Blended Learning—The Rapid eLearning Way to get insights on how you can launch a successful rapid blended learning program. Also, join the webinar to learn how to design holistic blended learning solutions for your team.

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