Staff training is commonplace in all companies. Carrying out the training is the real challenge. If the company has many offices and only a few people have knowledge about the subject of the training, what should you do? Do you send out an expert to carry out training at each office, prepare an elearning course yourself or outsource the elearning implementation? Or should you combine face-to-face and online training?
There are many possible options. Before you take on the challenge, however, it is necessary to consider what the objectives of the training are, how large the target group is, whether sufficient resources are available to organize the training and how the training will be implemented for the staff.
In this blog we discuss when it is worthwhile to outsource the implementation of elearning.
When to outsource the implementation of elearning?
Preparing elearning is not a difficult task with the tools available today, if you have time to learn to use them. A self-made elearning course is a good option when the target group is small and the content of the training is concise. For example, training that combines screen captured video with explanatory texts can be a handy way to share information about a change, such as a software update. This could include, for example, an important new feature in a client system that needs to be brought to the customer service’s notice. The target group is limited and the amount of content is quite small. If the content is not clear for the target group, they know who to contact for further information.
Pedagogy brings learning results
In many situations, however, the need for skill development is much more extensive. For example, implementation of operating models, larger product lines, or system implementations require training that needs much more careful consideration in terms of its content, structure, and pedagogy. Condensing a large volume of content into an interesting online learning course is not easy.
The greatest challenge to overcome is the motivation of the trainee. “How does this benefit me?” is the question that needs to be answered during the first few steps into the training course. Motivation also needs to be maintained throughout the training, which requires refining its structure. If the training manages to catch the learners attention, but right after that they have to read pages after pages of text, the results of the training may be modest. After all, nobody wants that the training they have worked on very hard to prepare is just quickly clicked through without thinking at all, just because the training has to be done.
The advantage of outsourcing is that the content and structure of the training is designed by professionals in training and digital learning material production. Pedagogical competence enables the content and structure of the training to be customized to be more user friendly and fulfill the users’ needs.
I addition to structure, also the amount of content should be taken into consideration. Lack of content is unlikely to be a problem in any company, but distilling content that is essential for learning into the training is much more demanding. There can be tremendous amounts of documented information, and a company’s own experts can also have a lot of tacit knowledge. Pedagogical expertise stands out in how content is broken down into smaller units, how role-specific paths are built and how content is made more concise. The content must be a concise set of information essential for learning. This makes learning more effective and helps to reach the best learning results.
Outsourcing elearning should be considered especially when the training involves large content sets and good results are expected. An example of this is the production of induction content into elearning. It concentrates a multitude of subjects from different areas into a single training course which, at the same time, should be able to retain the learner's interest. Read our earlier blog article on the use of elearning in induction.
Who will be responsible for putting the elearning together?
Of course, one of the challenges of elearning is determining who will be responsible for the implementation. Is the person responsible an expert in the subject being trained, an HR professional, or perhaps the supervisor of the trainees? What is even more important, is whether the person has time to actually put the online training together. Preparing a training course takes time, and doing it in addition to one's own core tasks may be difficult. There is often a schedule which should be adhered to for setting up elearning.
Another point worth considering is whether the person selected for the task has enough content production skills to produce versatile training courses. If the training only contains text, the motivation to complete the training may be put to the test. Content production skills mean that in addition to text, the training can also incorporate images, sound, video and possibly interactive elements. These elements help in keeping the learners interested and the training will have a stronger impact. Of course, the technical functionality and usability of the training are also essential in order to avoid technical problems that can frustrate learners or even stop them from learning at all.
Outsourcing an elearning implementation should always be considered if you don’t have enough resources or expertise in your own company. You have to keep in mind that elearning can, at least partially, free up content experts to do more productive work. When producing elearning materials in a hurry, they may come up with solutions that, while saving their own time, force the trainees to spend much more time trying to understand poorly structured or otherwise suboptimal content.
Outsourcing also has the advantage that the outsourcing partner is responsible for project management. The partner will ensure that the necessary steps are completed within the agreed schedule.
There are multiple options for outsourcing. Of course, implementing elearning requires the content itself, i.e. the learning materials, but also a solution for the distribution of the training.
Outsourcing may only include a learning management system. The system is used to distribute the online training to the desired target group and to monitor how the users progress. In this case, the external partner takes care of the distribution, but the company itself produces the content.
Outsourcing can be done for content only, provided the company already has a learning management system in place. In this case, the company handles distribution, but can also implement further training, if desired.
The third option is to outsource both the content and the learning platform. In this type of outsourcing, the partner implements the whole elearning. This is the most carefree option, especially if the company has no previous experience in the subject matter. The outsourcing partner takes care of the learning content and provides a learning management system that fulfills the need.
There's no need to do everything by yourself
If successful, elearning is a powerful tool for training staff. It can be used to organize very detailed training courses that closely address a specific topic. On the other hand, the topic can also be addressed only at a general level, and more detailed study can be done via face-to-face training. The number of implementation options is almost limitless.
As with all learning, the key to the success of elearning is to engage the learner in the training. Engagement is best achieved by demonstrating the benefits of training, for example, through a simulation of a task or a real use case and allowing the trainee to put the learning into practice as quickly as possible.
Because companies have different capabilities to implement elearning, it is a good idea to think about when to do it yourself and when to outsource. The benefit of outsourcing, at its simplest, is that the company can concentrate its resources on its core operations, while elearning is handled by teaching professionals. Tailored training ensures that the training is exactly what the company needs. When the target group and the goal of the training are known, it's easy to move forward.
Do you need help with elearning content? Are you looking for a skillful partner to help you get started in the digitalization of your company’s competence development? Do you want to take your company's existing elearning to the next level? Do you have particularly challenging content, an exceptionally demanding impact goal, or a new target group and you need an outside perspective on training it? Please contact us, and our experts will help you find the solutions that best meet your needs.