eLearning Solutions: What custom eLearning vendors wish their clients would do…
Developing high quality custom eLearning (or any level for that matter) should be a highly collaborative process between client and vendor. As an eLearning vendors, you know that most of your clients are not full time experienced professional eLearning developers – otherwise they would not need your services. They are busy running their business and doing their “regular jobs”. For many, eLearning projects are simply added to their regular duties and take time and focus away from their core areas of responsibility. This is your opportunity, eLearning vendor, to post your constructive feedback on ways your clients can improve how they perform their role in the eLearning development process.
Some of the eLearning Network’s client recommendations:
- Organize complete and accurate source content: Prepare as much content as you can in an organized fashion. This includes any PowerPoint files, Word documents, quizzes, handouts, web pages, etc. Work with your vendor as needed to map the source content to your learning objectives. Then, identify and fill any content gaps that may exist.
- Assign a knowledgeable subject matter expert (if applicable): The more complete and organized your content, the less reliant upon a SME your vendor will be. However, do assign someone who can quickly answer any questions the eLearning vendor may have.
- Assign an experienced project manager if available: If you anticipate a large amount of work being performed by your company in conjunction with an outside vendor, then please assign an experienced project manager who will ensure that client-side duties are performed on time. The job of the eLearning vendor is to support whatever roles you do not have the time, desire, or capability to perform. In some cases, you may simply want a vendor to take your existing graphics, audio, and content and assemble it for you as an eLearning course. This puts a greater workload on your company, so that workload should be managed by someone who can get the job done.
- Keep final decision makers to a minimum: Too many “cooks in the kitchen can spoil the broth”. To keep projects on time and budget, assign one person to ultimately review and approve work as it is submitted.
- Trust your artists: Graphic design can be very subjective. A problem can arise when a non graphic artist provides design direction and changes to screens that are perfectly fine as as and that 99% of the population would thing was just great. If you are not a graphic designer and feel strongly that a graphic change is needed, seek out the advice of a neutral 3rd party graphic artist before making wholesale changes.
- Move the project along: If you run into an internal snag, contact your vendor and ask for ideas on how to overcome obstacles. They are there to help you! Do whatever it takes within your organization to get the necessary direction at the project start and to provide prompt feedback throughout the project life cycle. We’ve seen projects take over a year that could have been completed in six weeks or less – all due to client-side delays and project mismanagement.
- Pay invoices in a timely fashion: If you must delay a project, please ensure your down payment and any other installments are paid so that your vendor is not left holding the bill for work performed and subsequently delayed through no fault of theirs. Consider offering the vendor another installment as a way to offset their costs to continue managing a project that is languishing. Additionally, for projects temporarily delayed, give the client a 2-week or more advance notice to resume the project as they will likely assign resources to other projects while you work out whatever internal issues you are facing.
What other recommendations does the eLearning community have to offer? Sign-in and comment!