11 Tips for Choosing an E-Learning Developer
Getting an e-learning developer to create your training courses will result in higher quality modules and a better experience for learners. Learning outcomes will also improve as the e-learning developer will be able to get the right blend of training strategy, design, and technological features. This, in turn, improves return on investment.
Choosing the wrong e-learning developer, on the other hand, will cost you time and money. Plus, you are also likely to experience high levels of frustration.
How do you avoid this? How do you make sure you choose the right e-learning developer?
Here are 11 tips to help you choose an e-learning developer who will deliver your project on time, within budget, and with a minimal amount of hassle. Using these tips will also ensure you get an e-learning partner who will deliver training modules that will be successful and that will benefit your business.
1. Know What You Want to Achieve
The first step starts before you talk to potential e-learning developers as it’s important you have a clear idea of what you want them to do.
This obviously includes the topic of the module and the various subject areas you want to cover.
However, you should also think about how you are going to measure success as well as the learning results you want the course to deliver and the business outcomes you want to achieve.
2. Does the E-Learning Developer Understand Instructional Design?
Instructional design is an important concept in e-learning development, so it’s essential your e-learning developer fully understands it. Crucially, they should know the difference between design and instructional design as they are not the same thing.
Design is usually about making things look trendy and cool. Of course, this is subjective, plus designers can often lose the run of themselves, trying to achieve a design wow-factor with the work they produce.
Instructional design, on the other hand, involves using design to improve the learning experience and facilitate learning. Taking an instructional design approach means designing elements that have a purpose and a learning value. Examples of learning purpose and value include:
- Helping the learner remain focused
- Improving usability
- Making the navigation easier to use
- Increasing levels of engagement
It’s important you choose an e-learning developer that understands instructional design.
3. Look at Their Portfolio
It always helps to look at portfolios generally when choosing developers. This is the case with e-learning developers too.
The key thing you need to identify from the e-learning developer’s portfolio is a track record of success.
Another thing that can help is experience creating the type of course you want to have made. Experience in your industry can be a benefit too, although this is not always essential.
4. Make Sure They Have a Structured Development Approach
Check the e-learning developer has a structured approach to the development of e-learning courses.
The things a structured approach should cover include the various stages that will take place during the development, the approval process, how they communicate, and their quality control and testing procedures.
The e-learning developer you are talking to might be able to provide you with a typical (or draft) development timeline to help you better understand their processes.
5. Check Their Ability to Present Information
An ability to clearly present information is a key skill for e-learning developers, particularly in relation to topics they are not familiar with.
When considering this, it’s important to accept your e-learning developer is probably not going to have staff who are experts on the subject you want the course to cover.
However, the developer must have skills and experience taking unfamiliar topics and presenting them in a way that makes sense to learners.
6. Understand What is Being Offered
Check the details of what is included and make sure this matches your expectations and objectives. Examples of the things you should find out about include upfront payments, ongoing fees, costs or services not included, approach to maintenance, etc.
7. Make Sure Your Data and Intellectual Property Are Secure
You will probably have to give the e-learning developer access to internal company information whatever the subject matter of the course or module. As a result, privacy and security are important.
These factors are even more important in situations where the e-learning developer will have access to sensitive company information or information protected by intellectual property laws.
Therefore, it’s important you find out about the developer’s security and privacy policies so you can make sure they match your expectations.
8. Talk to Key People on the E-Learning Developer’s Team
It can be helpful when choosing an e-learning developer to speak to the main contact who will be looking after the development of your course. This will usually be a project manager.
9. Make Sure They Offer the Services You Need
It is also helpful to make sure the e-learning developer you are considering offers all the services you require.
Instructional design, project management, content writing, scriptwriting, video/animation production, graphic design – these are some of the skills and capabilities that may be required to complete your course. The developer might not include them all as standard, but it helps considerably if they have the capability.
10. Learn from the Experience of Others
Finding out about the experience of others helps with just about all purchasing decisions you make in your business. So, when choosing an e-learning developer, check online reviews, ratings, and testimonials.
You should also talk to colleagues and associates who have experience using the developer in the past.
11. Do You Like Them?
Finally, it’s important you like the service providers you work with. During the process of choosing an e-learning developer, you will spend time with the individuals involved, so you will get to know more about the personalities on the team, the company ethos, etc. Don’t underestimate the importance of this factor.
Making Your Choice
Nothing is certain in business, of course, but by following the above 11 tips you will be more likely to have a positive experience with the e-learning developer you choose.