So you’ve made the decision that eLearning is what your organisation needs. I can see why, after all, eLearning is a great way for organisations to gain new knowledge, and do so in a cost-effective way. eLearning can be tailored to meet your organisation’s specific needs, learners can progress at their own pace anytime and anywhere, and eLearning helps the environment by minimising car travel to classrooms and paper handouts.
I’m sure you already know what eLearning courses you need and you’ve probably already shortlisted providers for those courses. You might already have a specific provider in mind. Before you commit, allow me to present my top 5 important considerations when choosing your next eLearning provider.
1) How will I deliver this eLearning?
- There are many ways to deliver eLearning to your users, and selecting the best option depends on your organisation’s training requirements. The most popular method is to use a Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS is a system that can automatically deliver eLearning to your users and can generate reports on test scores, course status and completions.
- An LMS can be expensive to purchase and time-consuming to set-up. That’s why an LMS is normally only cost effective for organisations with 100+ employees. For SMEs, a more straightforward approach is usually recommended e.g. purchase course access codes and manually email them to users.
However, every organisation has different training requirements. There are many factors to consider before you decide on the best delivery method for your eLearning. Your organisation may wish to purchase course access codes instead of an LMS. Ask providers what they would recommend. Keep in mind that you don’t always need to use the same provider for both courses and delivery method. Shop around and see what other providers can offer you when it comes to delivering and managing your eLearning.
2) Is the course content frequently updated?
- If you’re paying on a subscription basis, this consideration is a must, especially if the contract you’re signing is a year or longer. Some eLearning providers, spend more time growing their eLearning library than updating and maintaining their current library. Best practices and legislation change over time, and your eLearning must keep up.
- You should ask the eLearning provider: How often they update their eLearning? When can you expect the next update? Can they show you the changes made on the last update?
3) Does this eLearning fully meet my training requirements?
- Training and development is often one of the highest costs in an organisation, so it is important that your eLearning investment meets your organisation’s needs. There are a few things you can do to ensure the eLearning provider chosen will help meet your training requirements. Check with the provider if the course accredited, to confirm the content is relevant. Ask if they can edit the course for you to include specific information relevant to your training requirements. Some providers will allow you to edit the eLearning, giving you complete control over your eLearning’s message.
4) What is the true cost of eLearning?
- Even though a course or LMS is cheap to buy, it is important to consider how much it will cost to run. Think back to consideration no.1, about how you should deliver the eLearning? A delivery method that is ineffective or doesn’t work for an organisation could end up draining hours off the working day. Spending a little extra on the product to save your valuable time is always worth it. Be sure you thoroughly question the eLearning provider on how their eLearning can fulfil your training requirements. For example ask them how much time is required on your part to deliver it, and what level of training you will receive.
5) What level of customer support can I expect?
- Everyone will need support eventually, whether a compatibility issue occurs during the integration phase or a browser issue causes an error. Although it is important to choose reliable products, it’s equally as important to select a provider that can quickly and effectively resolve any issues or concerns.
- Every eLearning provider will say they’re no.1 for customer support. This phrase means very little in today’s market. Always question the provider about what support they provide. Ask them: How can you contact them? What hours can you call? Is all support free of charge? How quickly do they reply? Will you receive a dedicated account manager?
- A good indication that an eLearning provider cares about your success is that the person who sold you the product doesn’t disappear once the contract is signed. Instead they remain easily contactable to answer your questions.
There are my top 5 considerations to keep in mind before you purchase from an eLearning provider. I hope this will help you find your perfect eLearning solution.