Development partnerships work best when the development firm operates as an extension of the same organization, with the quality in understanding, extend of trust, and sense of urgency. Yes, it is not easy to identify with whom to partner. Here are a few aspects that worked best as a development partner in my 20 years of career in eLearning.
- The number of years of existence in the field and related areas of service – the proposed partners’ extensive experience in the field and associated areas would translate to the effectiveness and quality of solutions they offer. Another advantage is that you could approach them for consultancy to help you make decisions. Generally, any organization with a team of 10+ years of experience in proposing solutions and managing the execution of projects would deliver results more than customers’/end learners’ expectations.
- Variety in solutions for the problems – look at their show-reel or portfolio. Check if their works demonstrate consistency, expertise, quality, and variety. You can also make out from the solutions visible in the show-reel/portfolio if those are the best for the respective problems.
- Tools expertise – most companies these days have a team to support their L & D who are capable of executing minor edits. Check if the proposed partner has expertise in the tools that you prefer. At the same time, if the partner has expertise on exceptionally competent tools, your courses would stand ahead of any other of your competitions as well as ensure a better ROI. [for example, course authoring programs produces truly responsive, accessibility compliant output with some quality animations, but not many eLearning development companies have expertise on the tool].
- Technical Capabilities – many outsource vendors available online offer high end technically challenging output verbally; however, once the project is awarded, they tend to hunt for the right talent causing extreme delays and uncertainties. If the proposed outsource partner has software solutions apart from their eLearning solutions, there is an assurance of receiving quality technical output.
- Animation proficiency – Usually, corporate learning is said to be using fewer animations, and so most eLearning development companies use some templatized tools and approaches, ending up delivering sub-standard animations. Animations play a crucial role in effective communication for learning, and the aesthetics, smoothness, and application of traditional animation techniques in the animations create an impact and produce a world-class output. Do check for the quality of animations before deciding on short-listing your development partner.
- Stability with multiple businesses and offices – a development partner with various companies and offices can be assumed to have better stability as compared to small scale development units. An evaluation of their stability could be considered if you are looking for a long term association.
- There is a general myth that companies with a vibrant website are reliable. The quality of the website need not necessarily indicate the team’s capability. A good PR and web development associate could give that make-over to the company and may not guarantee quality output for you.
- Getting listed in a top ten companies list on any web platform is considered a quality parameter. Most of these are paid web platforms who take subscription fees to list these companies, and there is no such a system to measure their capabilities or quality and don’t fall prey for such companies who would charge you to pay for sustaining their status in the listing.