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How to Outsource E-Learning Content Development Successfully and With Optimal Results

Apr, 09, 2024
Christina
Christina
Senior Account Executive

Introduction

Outsourcing has become a new trend that’s getting stronger each year. It not only allows companies to tap into a broad pool of tech talent with relevant tech skills but also helps save costs, augment teams, and bring digital products to market without unnecessary delays. 

E-learning content is no exception. Companies worldwide are increasingly outsourcing e-learning content development rather than trying to do everything in-house. Moreover, not all companies need in-house development teams, especially if they only need to produce one or two courses for their employees. This is where e-learning content development outsourcing comes into play. 

In this article, we’ll cover the main benefits of outsourcing video production to remote teams, what challenges may come along, and how to find a reliable partner that will deliver a project within budget and an agreed-upon timeframe. Let’s dive in. 🧐

Summary

  1. Growing Trend of Outsourcing E-Learning Content Development and Its Benefits
  2. Why Outsource E-Learning Content Development
  3. Choosing the Right E-Learning Content Development Partner
  4. Common Challenges in Outsourcing E-Learning Content Creationr
  5. Managing Costs and Timelines Effectively
  6. How Blue Carrot Can Help Your Business
  7. Summing Up

Growing Trend of Outsourcing E-Learning Content Development and Its Benefits

Outsourcing is growing in popularity. According to Exploding Topics (10, Josh. “75+ Incredible ELearning Statistics (2024-2028).” Exploding Topics, 22 Feb. 2022), 73% of students in the U.S. aren’t willing to go back to their desks after the pandemic and would rather keep studying online. The same source also states that some kind of digital learning is used by over 90% of companies within the workspace. What’s more, 68% of employees are looking for opportunities to learn at work. These numbers demonstrate just how high the demand for e-learning content is.

The tricky part is that generating this type of content isn’t easy. It demands strong technical skills, creativity, and a deep understanding of instructional design principles. Additionally, creating e-learning courses takes quite a substantial amount of time, which may be harder for companies looking to generate high-quality content quickly. For these reasons, outsourcing e-learning content development has become, and will remain, an attractive option for many organizations.

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Why Outsource E-Learning Content Development

There are many compelling advantages to outsourcing e-learning content development. Let’s break down the main motifs behind the decision of companies to use outsourcing contracts.

1. Optimize project budgets

First and foremost, outsourcing e-learning solutions and content development allows companies to save money. Remote collaboration with an already established team of professionals helps speed up the e-learning content creation process and reduce the costs of hiring, onboarding, and managing in-house talent. Professional outsourcing studios know how to create compelling videos and have the tools to bring your vision to life at no extra cost.

2. Get direct access to a specific expertise

Organizations benefit from outsourcing with direct access to a team with specialized expertise in scalable e-learning content development. The main strength of external vendors is that they have a dedicated team of specialists with diverse skill sets. Teams typically include instructional designers, multimedia developers, graphic designers, video production professionals, content writers, and a network of subject matter experts. This means businesses can tap into the domain expertise that suits their needs.

3. Scale quicker

Another advantage of outsourcing is that it allows businesses to scale at short notice. Having a ready-made pool of talent with relevant niche expertise makes it easier to scale the project up or down depending on the surge in demand for e-learning content. Additionally, outsourcing provides the flexibility to scale your e-learning content development efforts to meet the needs of your audience when preparing training programs for global reach.

👉 Moreover, many outsourced e-learning vendors — Blue Carrot included — take advantage of AI-powered tools, enabling them to speed up the development of large-scale training programs. For example, rather than hiring coaches and spending days recording videos, they can opt for AI avatars and significantly cut the time of video production.

animated road

4. Get faster turnarounds

Speed is one of the main competitive advantages in the modern business world. No matter the industry, bringing solutions quickly to market is a prerequisite for success. Video production is no exception. The faster you can create training programs, the better the chance of capturing your audience’s attention and staying ahead of the competition.

Outsourcing e-learning content development allows businesses to achieve just that. The e-learning content production process can be significantly accelerated without sacrificing quality by leveraging expertise, resources, and streamlined processes of outsourced vendors. Instructional design outsourcing also offers the advantage of meeting tight deadlines, as external resources can dedicate their full attention to the project without being distracted by internal organizational tasks.

5. Streamline QA

The benefit of outsourcing is that you get a dedicated team with video production specialists, graphic designers, content developers, plus, their own QA specialists.

This means that e-learning content goes through a rigorous testing process before it reaches the hands of end users. So, everything from the language and voiceovers to the entire course concept is done correctly and without glitches. Quality assurance in e-learning is crucial to ensuring that your e-learning materials are error-free, accurate, and — more importantly — align with your learning objectives.

Choosing the Right E-Learning Content Development Partner

There are many benefits to outsourcing e-learning content creation, but the key is to outsource to the right partner. There are many video creation agencies, so selecting ones that will understand and meet your business needs requires much research and consideration. Below, we break down some key factors to consider when looking for an e-learning development partner:

📌 Fine-tuned business processes

Look for an e-learning content development partner that has well-established business processes. An agency with streamlined workflows, clear communication channels, and robust project management systems is better equipped to deliver projects on time and within budget. Also, if you’re looking for a long-term partnership, check if the team exercises the latest project management practices. This will give you confidence that they can adapt quickly if your project requires a different approach.

📌 Relevant portfolio

Once you’ve identified a potential partner, check if they have the work examples done in the animation style or type you are looking for (3D, 2D, whiteboard animation, etc.). A good video production firm will have its portfolio displayed on its site, so anyone can get an idea of what they can do and envision outcomes they can deliver.

📌 Areas of expertise

Consider if the company has experience in your niche. While this isn’t required, it is advantageous since the vendor will already know the best production strategies needed to take your product from vision to reality. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there’s anything you aren’t sure about or feel you need more information on, arrange a call with the team.

📌 Diverse range of services

Finally, consider the range of services your e-learning content development partner provides. Ideally, you want a team that offers comprehensive end-to-end services, from initial concept development to final delivery and ongoing support. They should also have all specialists onboard, from video producers and graphic designers to animators, content writers, and SMEs. A team with a wide range of skills will help you create engaging and effective e-learning content while minimizing costs and increasing the ROI on e-learning development investment.

character man holds shield

Common Challenges in Outsourcing E-Learning Content Creation

While outsourcing course development offers plenty of benefits, no journey is without its challenges. However, difficulties can be overcome if you’re ready to deal with them. Here are the main challenges common to e-learning content development outsourcing.

☑️ Alignment of content with learning outcomes

One of the biggest challenges when collaborating with outsourced vendors is ensuring the content aligns with your learning goals. Even if you precisely outline the requirements for your e-learning project, there’s often a risk that the end product may not fully meet your expectations, especially if the vendor doesn’t understand the main principles of learning design.

However, this challenge can be mitigated by turning to professionals well-versed in educational techniques. Look for experts who know how to create content that closely aligns with your learning objectives and is engaging, effective, and wrapped in a format that resonates with your audience.

☑️ Minimal engagement in the production process

Outsourcing means placing your project in the hands of an external team, which, especially for companies used to keeping everything under their control, can be rather disturbing. Outsourcing allows you to unburden your internal team, enabling them to direct their attention to other important business tasks. However, there’s always a concern that with little control on your end, the production process may lack the level of engagement you’re accustomed to.

The best thing you can do in this case is to discuss the preferred model of collaboration from the get-go. Choose communication channels that are convenient for you to stay in touch with the production team and outline your must-haves beforehand. Vendor communication is vital for outsourcing success which can make or break the project.

☑️ Disparate feedback

Feedback and iteration in e-learning development go hand in hand, but there are also cases when they may interfere with each other. This usually happens when feedback comes from different stakeholders. Everyone may have their view as to what features are the most important and what needs to be done first. Under normal circumstances disparate feedback isn’t a bad thing, in video production, though, it may slow down the process, leading to significant delays.

Therefore, it’s best to address this issue from the start. For example, you may want to define the key decision-makers whose opinion will hold the most weight. Also, you could assign a dedicated project manager who’d be in charge of communication between you and the outsourcing team. This would help reduce the number of people directly involved in feedback, fostering more productive collaboration and expediting e-learning content development.

☑️ Underestimating the significance of QA

Another common issue when companies outsource e-learning content creation is underestimating the significance of QA. Some believe testing can be done in-house without requiring a professional team, while others rush through it or neglect it altogether.

QA is of significant importance. The lack of rigorous testing can lead to numerous issues, including errors, inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and poor user experience, diminishing all the effort put into work. Moreover, mistakes identified at later stages of production can require more costly revisions than if they were identified and fixed earlier in the process. Therefore, implementing a QA testing strategy at each stage of e-learning creation is vital.

☑️ Incomplete understanding of the intricacies of e-learning content production

Finally, problems may occur when a client doesn’t understand the process of creating online courses and the partner agency doesn’t educate the client properly. You’re not supposed to know everything about e-learning content development, which is why you outsourced the e-learning content development. However, you should be involved in the process to some level to keep up with the flow.

With that in mind, speak out if there’s anything you don’t understand. A good video agency won’t have any problem educating you about the e-learning content production process and ensuring you understand what happens at each step. Open communication and transparency are key to a successful outsourcing relationship. Additionally, you should receive regular updates and progress reports to stay on the same page with the production team.

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Managing Costs and Timelines Effectively

The cost of outsourcing may vary depending on several factors. The complexity of the training course, video format, length of the video, and other requirements like localization, subtitle options, or additional interactive elements all affect the costs. Similarly, the location of the video production team will affect the cost.

For example, the average hourly rate of a course producer in the USA starts around $60. An e-learning agency doing the same work in Eastern Europe starts around $30 per hour. The best thing is that the quality of work in both locations remains exceptionally high in most cases. This is why Eastern Europe has become a favorite destination for outsourcing for thousands of companies.

How Blue Carrot Can Help Your Business

With more than 10 years in the video production industry, Blue Carrot has become a trusted partner. We’re always ready to help, regardless of the complexity of the project or the available budget. Our team focuses on making great explainer videos for our clients and is proud to demonstrate examples of our work. If you’re interested in our e-learning video services, here are a few e-learning projects we’ve worked on recently.

 🔹 White Glove

animated characters, truck and ship

Learn more about White Glove 💪

The white glove certificate course was an interesting project we were tasked with. The client asked us to create and integrate animation into an existing V/O to make the course easier to follow and understand for students. They also asked that a Spanish localization, including both V/O and subtitles be added.

As we delved into the project, we quickly realized that our target audience was predominantly male. For this reason, we used 2D animation. A straightforward video technique that perfectly fits the client’s request while catering to the audience’s needs.

The 30-minute course was built around vehicles and goods delivered from warehouses to clients’ homes. A list of statements that students were required to remember was mentioned at the beginning and end of each video. For the localization task, we included translators and a Spanish proofreader in the team. Additionally, the team included an illustrator, screenwriter, producer, video editor manager, and VO artists.

 🔹 Top U.S. University

animated hospital employees and patients

Learn more about Top U.S. University 💪

Our team assisted the client in creating e-learning materials for one of the top U.S. universities. The challenge was to revive existing video shoots with 200-minute animation overlays and do it rather quickly to meet the client’s strict deadlines.

It was an uphill task, but we approached it enthusiastically and set ourselves the goal of completing the course within one month. To achieve this goal, we needed to produce and edit approximately 10 minutes of video content daily, rendering it out and transferring it straight into Full HD. We couldn’t risk breaking deadlines. At the same time, we also couldn’t physically produce more than 2-3 minutes with the existing team of one illustrator and one animator. So, we had to reinforce our team by adding more artists.

animated people and hospital buildings

The next challenge was keeping the content consistent. To speed up the process, different artists created and produced connecting parts. Thus, there was a risk that the final video would look like a quilt made of random, non-connected pieces. To mitigate this risk, we added an artist director to the team. This helped us to produce a great quality piece of content that became an immediate success once published on Coursera.

Summing Up

In this article, we’ve discussed how to outsource e-learning content development successfully and what factors to consider when looking for a partner. Hopefully, you’re now able to embark on this journey with confidence. We’ve also explained the main challenges that you may encounter. This will help you anticipate roadblocks before they interfere with your progress so you can find ways to overcome them.

👉 The future of successful e-learning content development is outsourcing, and those who can master it will succeed. However, it’s not just about offloading tasks, it’s about building a collaborative relationship. This is why a reliable outsourcing partner who can bring their expertise and deliver cost-efficient e-learning solutions that resonate with the audience and stand out from the crowd is so important. Check out Blue Carrot for your best e-learning content development partnership!

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