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Best Practices for Selecting an eLearning Development Company
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By Luke Kempski, CEO June 21, 2018

With eLearning playing an increasingly vital role in business success, finding the right eLearning development company becomes a crucial first step.

In today’s highly competitive economic environment, organizations are developing eLearning courses to train their workforces, provide additional value to customers, and generate revenue.

We see three primary reasons behind organizations looking for an eLearning development vendor:

• To analyze, design, and develop eLearning courses on new topics

• To convert existing instructor-led courses to a blended or eLearning-based approach

• To increase or broaden the development capacity of their internal team

With increasing demand for custom learning products (eLearning courses, microlearning videos, educational websites, mobile apps), different functions within the same organization are often looking for eLearning design and development companies.

While the search for a vendor may be led by a learning and development department, we also see sales, marketing, operations, and compliance leaders looking for help. Moreover, we see different types of decision-makers in government, professional associations, and non-profits looking for eLearning courses for constituents, members, and other defined communities.

They all wrestle with the same challenge: How to make sure they select the best partner for their long-term needs. The following process will help to ensure that the fit is right and the partnership thrives.

Develop a prospective vendor list. This will be developed from some combination of internal procurement sources, conferences, trade associations, referrals and web searches.

Whittle the list down to a manageable number. Using the longlist, a decision-maker or team should evaluate the prospective vendors’ web presence, including their websites, social media, and any industry coverage.

Evaluate the vendors’ size, capabilities, clients, location(s), and approach. Determine whether you’re looking for one vendor with broad capabilities or whether you want to qualify multiple vendors. Ultimately, you will want to narrow your list of prospective vendors to no more than five companies.

Issue an eLearning Development Request for Information (RFI). This optional step will not only enable you to confirm interest among your prospective vendors, it will help you further qualify vendor capabilities for comparison, while gaining feedback on potential approaches, technology, and feasibility. An effective RFI will also generate vendor input that can help shape the Request for Proposal (RFP).

Issue an eLearning Development Request for Proposal (RFP). Your RFP will provide prospective vendors with a scope of work (SOW). Upon receiving the RFP, the vendor will respond with a technical solution and a cost proposal for providing that solution.

Conduct in-person or virtual vendor presentations. Once you have reviewed RFP responses, you will likely find two or three candidates have moved to the front of the pack. In order to make a more informed final decision, invite those vendor “finalists” to present their capabilities and proposed solution. In addition to getting a more complete sense of each finalist’s solution, this will be a great opportunity to get a sense of mutual chemistry.

Evaluate and select the eLearning development vendor. After checking references, this structured and impartial process will often reveal a clear winner. Sometimes, though, you must find a way to score the vendor proposals and presentations to make your final selection.

Settle contract terms and conditions, and refine eLearning development scope of work (SOW), budget, and timeline. Usually, the scope of work as initially outlined in the RFP evolves over the course of the vendor selection process. This will require the vendor to alter their proposal to meet your redefined need. Legal terms can be added to the final proposal to form a contract.

Kick Off the Project. Having followed this defined selection process and issued a good eLearning development request for proposal with a clear scope of work, you and your vendor partner will both have a clear understanding of what’s expected to be successful. The project kickoff will serve as your first step together toward creating valuable eLearning courses.

Once you have your selection process defined, you might want to download our RFI template and our RFP template to expedite your search for an eLearning development company. Or, if you have any questions, email us or give us a call.

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