So, you have made the decision to outsource your eLearning development. You want your courses created efficiently and effectively – so you’ve gone on the hunt for the development company with the best reputation and experience. You’ve received an amazing proposal which suits all of your requirements, so all that’s left to do is sign on the dotted line, right? Wrong.
There’s a role you have to play in the content development process, even when you’ve outsourced to a professional company. With years of experience, Cursim – Omniplex’s learning design and development experts, know the recipe for a seamless content development process. So, for that reason, they’ve put together their 5 ways to make working with an eLearning content development company a breeze:
- Vet the content with your subject matter experts (SMEs) up frontIn the overall life cycle of a project, design and development are the phases that take the most time and cause the most delays. The good news, however, is that they also yield the most opportunity for streamlining with good, up-front planning. Perhaps the best precautionary method is to review everything, and review it often, with your internal SME. Avoid getting back storyboards or drafted modules with inaccuracies. Substantial revisions are counter-productive and can be avoided with a partnership that applies strong communication skills. So, get those SMEs onboard before sending the source documents to the content partner… you’ll be glad you did!
- The problem with pretty PowerPointsIf you provide your source content to the development company in a PowerPoint deck, be mindful of your design. It’s helpful to have ideas regarding layouts, templates or the “look-and-feel” of your learning content, but be wary of what design elements you include. It’s important to keep a balance between the core content you provide and the customised product the developer and/or graphic designer will be creating. Any graphical distinctions you include in your Powerpoint deck may be blown out or expanded on by the content developer. What you may think are just little design elements to spice up the source content may soon be the entire direction of your eLearning module.
- Perfect your editing processEditing is the most important part of the process. Equally important, however, is the method and medium for providing those edits. Will you be providing feedback directly in the source document? Will there be an accurate history of edits (a chronological sequence, perhaps)? Or will you be using a review tool or ‘change tracking’ document? The editing process is fairly subjective, and much of it will depend on what works best for your organisation. But it is important to establish the feedback process, complete with turnaround times, in order to efficiently navigate this crucial stage.
- Be realisticSetting realistic goals is crucial when kicking off any project – the key word here being “realistic.” Content development takes time, and with so many moving parts, it’s key to have a good handle on the schedule. Running tight deadlines can improve overall productivity of the team, however, it can just as easily exacerbate the stress level and number of mistakes. Plus, falling behind too early in the process can create a demoralised and detached work environment.
But an effective project means that certain steps need to happen, and we all know that shortcuts along the way can often lead to misunderstanding and rework, causing even more delays. So be sure to review each step of the development cycle with the content provider. A detailed calendar may open up opportunities to gain efficiencies by planning ahead.
- One point of contactThis is where the SME really has an opportunity to lead in his/her role. Establish one primary point of contact so information can be consolidated and funnelled through a single channel. SMEs can of course still interact with designers and other content developers, but once the editing process has begun, both sides can be spared many long hours of deciphering conflicting edits by remembering to follow this advice.
So, these are our 5 top tips for making working with your content development company a breeze. If you have any other tips or tricks to add, tweet them to us @OmniplexeLearn – we’d love to hear your thoughts!