Should you develop custom eLearning content in-house? Here are 5 questions to help you decide.

So you’ve made the excellent decision to invest in creating custom eLearning content. Congratulations!

Now comes the tricky part: deciding whether you should complete eLearning module development yourself or use a specialist eLearning development company.

Make this decision easier by answering these five questions:

the eLearning design and development skills

1. Do we have – or can we secure – the eLearning design and development skills needed?


There are now many online tools available to create custom eLearning content. However, it’s important to remember that it takes much more than good software to create enjoyable, memorable and effective eLearning experiences.

To produce effective eLearning content, it’s essential to have expertise in many areas, including the ability to identify training needs and audience understanding, script and content development capabilities, as well as the skills required to build, test and launch eLearning modules.

Within eLearning development companies, content is developed by a large and diverse team of expert eLearning consultants who bring together the language and numeracy literacy, storytelling and technical skills needed to create eLearning modules that people genuinely engage with, making sure knowledge is transferred and retained.

We know organisations often struggle to identify and attract the talent needed for in-house eLearning teams, preferring to rely on existing staff. While this approach helps assemble in-house teams quickly, it’s only effective if your staff can support developing custom eLearning content alongside their business-as-usual activities. 

We may be biased, but we also believe you must be passionate about eLearning to create amazing eLearning modules! Along with making sure current staff have the necessary skills to develop custom eLearning content, it’s essential they have the right mindset. Unfortunately, it’s often easier to default to whoever’s available instead of engaging people who are the right fit.

While you can certainly recruit staff with the required skills for your in-house team, it’s important to factor in ample time and costs for recruitment and onboarding in your decision-making. However your team is created, you should also consider the ongoing effort and cost involved in providing everyone with access to the latest tools, technology and training.

project management resources

2. Do we have the project management resources required?


Businesses often underestimate the resources involved in delivering eLearning development services. Many companies have learned the hard way that it requires more than learning and development expertise.

Custom eLearning module development is complex and involves multiple stages and moving parts. Yet, projects completed in-house are often managed by a team member who doesn’t have project management experience, making things far more daunting and complex than they need to be.

We know from experience that strong project management and following a structured and well-defined production process is the secret to delivering eLearning design and development projects smoothly and successfully. This is why we always appoint a dedicated project manager to keep projects on track.

dedicate eLearning design and development

3. Do we really have the time needed to dedicate eLearning design and development?


On the surface, managing custom eLearning module development in-house can seem like a faster option than using an eLearning development company. The reality is this common assumption often turns into a costly mistake.

Because eLearning module development is frequently allocated to team members as an extra task in addition to their usual workload, it’s not uncommon for work to be put off, resulting in projects running late.

Many organisations underestimate the time involved in custom eLearning module development, too. While every project is different, completing a project generally takes four to 12 weeks. 

The reality is that an experienced eLearning development company will likely turn your project around faster than an in-house team because they’ll have expert eLearning consultants at the ready and fully focused on your project.

custom eLearning module development

4. Is this the best use of the budget we have available for eLearning module development?


Let’s be honest – establishing an in-house eLearning design and development team is not going to be an inexpensive exercise. Staff employment costs, and ensuring your team has the space, equipment, tools, technology and training needed, quickly adds up and sits permanently on your balance sheet.

It’s critical to review your current and future eLearning needs and honestly assess whether allocating budget to establish an in-house capability will generate the best return.

Building an internal team may make good business sense if you require eLearning development services year-round, but if you produce eLearning content less frequently, you may find yourself with a specialist but underutilised team that costs you far more than engaging an eLearning development company on an as-needed basis.

custom elearning content in Australia

5. Are we confident we can consistently deliver the learning outcomes needed?


We’ll cut to the chase – ineffective eLearning content will undermine any cost and time savings you may have achieved by bringing its creation in-house. 

None of us ever deliver training for training’s sake. We develop and deliver training to improve knowledge, change behaviour and produce better business outcomes.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, producing effective eLearning modules requires specialist skills and know-how.

Not hitting the mark with content produced in-house is not just a poor investment decision. It can also have massive business implications if your training is not supporting your staff in performing their roles safely and productively.

It’s entirely possible for organisations to develop effective custom eLearning content in-house and save time and budget.

It’s also possible teaming up with an eLearning development company will deliver a better return on your investment and free up your valuable time and resources so you can focus on what you do best: your core business.

If you’d like help deciding whether you should develop your custom eLearning content in-house or seek outside expertise, book a call with the friendly Poncho team for an honest discussion of your options.

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