Overcoming Common Concerns of Outsourcing Training

Overcoming Common Concerns of Outsourcing Training

One of the most pressing responsibilities of HR leaders is ensuring that the organization’s learning and development efforts are effective and aligned with the organization’s needs. If you have ever been on the administration side of employee training, you know that providing employees with a consistently positive training experience is not an easy undertaking. The organization’s investment is usually significant and driving results becomes critical for the HR department. 

As HR leaders think about creating an effective training experience, creation of quality training material is important. The average salary of an instructional designer in the USA is over $62,000. Moreover, developing one hour of eLearning content, while using templates, can take anywhere between 49 and 716 hours. This means, if you depend on just one instructional designer, they will need several months to create a week’s worth of training material.

For this reason, along with a lack of instructional design expertise, outsourcing is often the more efficient way to obtain quality training content, especially for smaller organizations in the growth stage. However, getting the buy-in to outsource training can attract apprehension and concern. Organizations hesitate to outsource their training requirements due to various reasons such as: 

  • Dependability 
  • Data Integrity 
  • Subject Matter Expertise 

Here are three objections you may face when outsourcing training and ways to overcome them. 

1. Dependability — How can we be sure they will deliver high-quality training AND meet the deadline?

This is one of the most pressing concerns when it comes to outsourcing. Since reducing turnaround time is a common claim of outsourcing companies, it makes many question the kind of quality they will receive. 

On the other hand, knowing how much time eLearning development can take, putting the development process into someone else’s hands can make leaders unsure whether their turnaround times will be accurate. However, these doubts can be verified through online reviews, customer references and case studies. 

If getting references does not satisfy these doubts, you can always give your eLearning provider a pilot project to test their abilities. Simply give them a small prototype project with a tight deadline as a test project. Any dependable eLearning provider will not have a problem with accepting or delivering such a project and if they do, your doubts around dependability will be addressed.

2. Data Integrity — How can we trust them with our sensitive data?

Trusting an external content provider with sensitive data can make anyone uncomfortable. However, establishing this trust is critical to forging a successful outsourcing partnership.

There are two ways to start building this trust. The first solution is to have your outsourcing partner sign non-disclosure agreements that legally prevent them from sharing any data or details about your company or the training material they are developing for you. While this is typically a solid way to ensure data integrity, there can be instances where it is compromised even after having a non-disclosure agreement in place.

If such concerns arise, it is smart to ask your eLearning vendor for customer references. If their previous customers are ready to testify that they are trustworthy, it becomes a little easier to trust them.

3. Subject Matter Expertise — They don’t know our product/service like we do. Can they really produce better training content than our team?

To answer the above question, it is important to understand the difference between subject matter expertise and instructional design expertise. 

Subject matter expertise is simply knowing a subject in depth and what information is important when teaching it. In the case of corporate training, it is true that a third party may not have the same level of subject matter expertise about your products or processes. 

However, it does not imply that your subject matter expert(s) also know the most efficient way to provide the knowledge to the learners. This is where instructional design capabilities come into the picture. Instructional designers are trained in principals like adult learning theory that allow them to design training material that ensures better learner engagement and retention.

To ensure your training material encompasses both kinds of expertise, you can facilitate a collaboration between the subject matter experts at your organization and the instructional design experts employed by your eLearning content vendor.


The next time you have concerns about outsourcing training, take a look at the countermeasures discussed in this post. If you still find yourself apprehensive about outsourcing training content, begin by outsourcing generalized content that could be used in soft skills or compliance training. Since much of this content is applicable to most businesses, there are fewer chances your eLearning vendor would mess up the final delivery. You can use this experience to gauge the kind of quality and dependability you can expect from a vendor and take an informed decision about the development of more sensitive training material.

Author Bio: Costa Lamprou is the head of PPC at The Elearning Industry Network, with experience from everything ranging from product development and sales to training and PPC, Costa helps eLearning businesses reach their full lead gen potential. Costa likes to expand his marketing horizons with the help of eLearning courses.

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