DIY can seem like such a great idea. You have a project on your horizon, and you think, “Why not? Why can’t I just do it myself? I’m capable, I bet I can do a great job!” But anyone who has tackled the wrong do-it-yourself project knows that some things are better left to the professionals. You might want to consider outsourced eLearning development.
Why should you use outsourced eLearning development?
At EdgePoint Learning, we’ve heard it before. “I know the material better than any outside company would. And I can learn as I go—it can’t be that hard. Plus, eLearning is expensive. We’ll probably even save some money this way. And I’m motivated—I bet I can get it done faster!”
We recognize many businesses have people with eLearning development skills, but there are some big reasons you should consider hiring a professional team for building eLearning rather than undertaking it on your own. Here are four of them.
It’s harder than it looks
From the outside looking in, creating eLearning really doesn’t seem too hard. Write your content, create some graphics, add some voiceover, maybe a video or two, and push it out on your LMS for your learners. Easy, right? Unfortunately, wrong!
Creating eLearning is surprisingly complex. At its core, eLearning is multidisciplinary. There are a number of skills you’ll need to make even a basic course. You need to understand learning theory, write and edit at a professional level, understand graphic design principles, and learn and use software that can be complicated at times. It’s a lot.
A single eLearning course can involve multiple people, each with their area of expertise, pitching in to create the course.
It will take longer than you expect
If you haven’t built an eLearning course before, it will almost certainly take longer than you expect. Consider the number of steps involved in creating training. You will need to collect content, organize it, write a script, source images and possibly videos, record audio, design layouts, and build the training. Then there are often multiple rounds of review-and-revisions, getting it closer to perfection with each pass.
A professional eLearning team creates content as a synchronous, cohesive unit. Tasks are shared across a team of professionals who are used to working with each other. An effective and agile team has proven processes and methods honed over time to build custom eLearning quickly and efficiently.
It will probably go over budget
There are a number of costs to consider when it comes to creating eLearning content. For anything beyond a very basic course with little multimedia, you will need the programs to build the training, audio and/or video editing software, and graphic design software. While you may be able to find free or inexpensive versions of some software, low-cost solutions often have fewer features and may be less user friendly. Professional programs with more features and a better user experience can have big price tags. While there are some good external microphones you can purchase at reasonable prices and most new phones have good video quality, you may also need access to professional audio and video gear if high production value is important for your course.
If you’re not going to create your own images from scratch, you will need access to professional stock libraries. Copyright law isn’t something you want to risk running afoul of in your eLearning. Gathering media from the internet (photos, illustrations, sounds, video clips, etc.) can land you into hot water, and legal fees would really increase your costs.
One often overlooked cost is time. Every hour you put into creating training costs your company money in addition to the opportunity cost of not spending time on other projects.
Quality may be less than professional
Do-it-yourself projects of any flavor sometimes turn out noticeably less professional than you were expecting. The same is true for eLearning. The instruction isn’t engaging, the writing is indirect and/or vague, the layouts are unpleasing, the voiceover isn’t polished, projects are bloated with overly-long seat times, and the training is repetitive. Quality is a product of knowledge, practice, and experience.
An experienced team will create training that delivers effective learning. DIY projects may lack the polish and professional production quality you are looking for. Even a jack of all trades with a lot of skills and experience may have a tough time competing with the quality and speed of a professional development team. Hiring pro eLearning developers results in a well-written, well-paced, cohesive project with professional quality multimedia production (and the professionals may know a trick or two!)
Still want to try DIY?
If you’re still considering building your own eLearning, we support you! Whether you’re transitioning in-person training to eLearning or rolling out brand-new training topics, there’s a lot to consider.
Here are a few suggestions to keep you on track.
- Start small. Consider microlearning for your first project. If you aim to keep your first course at less than five minutes, you can limit your costs while you’re learning and figuring out your process.
- Start simple. Attempt a single training topic using a direct instructional style. Keep interactions straightforward and easy to produce. Use programs that are more user friendly, even if they are less featured, and use templates as much as possible.
- Don’t try anything mission critical. If you have very important training to deliver, please use the professionals. Pick something non-essential for your first project so if you run into problems, they won’t affect your company’s bottom line or reputation.
- Plan on AT LEAST 2x the budget and 2x the amount of time as you think it “should” take. If you’re expected to continue meeting your other obligations, triple or quadruple that timeline.
- Finally, don’t be a hero. If you can enlist help, do it. Find colleagues with buy-in for your cause, if you can, and share the workload—and the challenge.
How we can help
And of course, you can always reach out to us! Here at EdgePoint Learning, we love to collaborate on projects with our customers. Maybe you’re a pro at writing but need some help with visuals or voiceover. Or you have a solid visual design, but don’t know how to start organizing your information. We’re happy to pitch in wherever you need help. You can use our outsourced eLearning development however you need to. Contact us today to see how we can create professional training together!