Doing things yourself is often a valuable option. However, as the eLearning space becomes more complex and learners become more sophisticated, businesses investing in eLearning are needing qualified eLearning consultants more and more. While there are many benefits for a business to hire an eLearning consultant as a way to improve employee productivity and knowledge retention, businesses should also be aware of the challenges involved in order to make the best decision for the needs of their team. In this article, we discuss the ease and difficulty of working with consultants for your next eLearning project.
For businesses trying to invest in eLearning, there is a lot to consider when setting up the whole experience. Generally speaking, there are three main parts to manage when working on an eLearning project.
- Experience. Essentially guided by the instructional design, the experience domain focuses on how the learners will navigate through the information and activities, be assessed, and work with other students and resource experts throughout the learning intervention.
- Content. This involves developing the instructional materials, assessments, activities, feedback, scenarios, and more. It also includes the visual elements covering typography, color theory, information hierarchy, user interface design, animation, imagery, iconography, to name a few.
- Technology. The technical aspects of the course include the selection and management of authoring tools, content production tools, learning management and student management systems, to name a few.
Managing and planning for all these on top of handling other day-to-day work activities can be a daunting task. This is where eLearning consultants can come in handy.
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What eLearning consultants do
To begin describing what consultants typically do, we need to discuss the things they try to avoid doing. Generally, consultants:
- Are not beholden to a particular tool or approach
- Are not in charge of actual implementation
- Are not visible in internal negotiations and securing buy-in
- Are not vested stakeholders of the project or undertaking
There are, of course, exceptions to these limitations and many consultants take some or all of the implementation themselves.
For example, Strawberry Solutions may either solely act as consultants or take the helm in developing the full eLearning projects end-to-end. Strawberry Solutions is a boutique consultancy offering education providers assistance with: eLearning development, eLearning design, instructional design, authoring of original content, LMS consulting and support, learning design and strategy. The three main offerings are: SCORM Authoring, eLearning Design and Consultation, and LMS Implementation and Training
That being said, the role of consultants is commonly described as professionals who “offer expert research, solutions, and experience to improve business performance. They are problem-solvers who go into a business to offer objective insights and help put suggested strategies into place. (Hubspot)”
Meg Prater of Hubspot lists down the key competencies of consultants as below:
Regardless of the niche the consultant works in or the specific arrangement they’ve made with the client, there are a few things a consultant must do well:
- Work with stakeholders to set goals for the relationship.
- Learn the existing processes and systems in an organization.
- Perform analysis and diagnose issues.
- Translate data into concrete action items.
- Communicate effectively to multiple stakeholders.
- Oversee and track results.
- Be able to convey impact.
Anyone looking at developing an online training course needs to remember the old saying “Time Is Money”. So it is no surprise many have begun to look into the option of an online eLearning specialist to assist their respective projects.
Potential challenges of hiring an eLearning consultant
One potential challenge of working with an eLearning consultant is that they may not have a deep understanding of your business. While they may be experts in learning and development, they may not be familiar with your company’s culture, values, and goals. This can make it difficult for them to create a learning solution that is truly tailored to your needs.
Another potential challenge is that eLearning consultants can be expensive. While they can save you money in the long run by helping you create an effective and efficient learning solution, their upfront costs can be prohibitive for some businesses.
Finally, it is important to remember that eLearning consultants are not miracle workers. Results will be dependent on multiple factors, including everyone’s ability to execute the plans, the external conditions present upon implementation, and the nature of the business itself.
Benefits of hiring an eLearning consultant
There are plenty of reasons to use an expert, but most likely, the number one reason why everyone uses eLearning specialists is to save time. However, there are more reasons to justify hiring an eLearning consultant. Let’s take a look at some.
There is no doubt you have a launch date, and you are under pressure to get this course up as soon as possible. Experts in the development of eLearning solutions are used to working with tight deadlines. However, their experience with eLearning tools, LMS and different platforms means they are fast and efficient, saving you time and therefore money.
Like all humans, your employees and customers learn in a combination of ways. Some people are more visual, others are more auditory, and some are kinesthetic learners. Many are a mixture of these. Elearning consultants and specialists understand the level of diversity you are working with and consider this when developing engaging and interactive course modules.
Transitioning your training materials to an eLearning platform is meticulous and time-consuming. Mistakes are easily made, and the reputation and integrity of your business can be affected by the quality of the final product. So it might be well worth it to simply let the professionals create accurate and truly engaging modules for your business.
Independently researching and buying software programs to help you create SCORM industry-standard eLearning modules is not easy. The fact is eLearning specialists streamline the entire process with their knowledge and experience in half the time. There is no need to ‘reinvent the wheel’ through trial and error. Instead, let the experts point you in the right direction bringing you the right tools to create what you really need.
Perhaps you would like your team to do some of the work, but you would like an eLearning specialist to look over it and advise you? Hiring an eLearning expert is not an all-or-nothing deal. eLearning design solutions companies like Strawberry Solutions understand that you are may be on a defined budget. In response, we aim to provide you with guidance when needed, which may include:
- A thorough review of materials created
- A detailed audit through your course
- An insightful perspective into your industry
- A walkthrough of the cutting-edge technologies that might be beneficial for the project
Whatever your needs, consulting with an eLearning expert to see what they can do for your online course development is always a worthy investment. This is the only way to discover where and how to save time and money when transitioning your business to the virtual learning arena. Remember to keep an open mind and shop around to find the eLearning solutions that suit you best!
We are Strawberry Solutions
Strawberry Solutions is a team of learning design experts and consultants who offer learning design and development services including:
- Learning design to create effective learning experiences and environments that start with the learners;
- Instructional design for authoring of original content and rewriting of existing content;
- eLearning design and development of online courses using native content builders, SCORM and xAPI authoring tools;
- Training and educational video production including 2D and 3D animations to add depth to characters and environments, sketching, motion graphics and live-action video;
- Visual design for the creation of engaging assets to reinforce learning and create visual interest; and
- eLearning technology strategy to optimise existing systems and create modern learning experiences, our LMS consulting team can help make the most out of existing and emerging education technology
Visit Australia’s leading content creators for the education industry. We can help your business develop innovative new learning experiences to inspire minds like never before. Book your free consultation today.