With roughly one quarter of U.S. employees working remotely at least occasionally, more businesses are seeing the benefits of relying on distributed teams. However, this approach comes with its fair share of challenges, including training these employees.
Learning and development departments need to figure out whether an outsourced or off-the-shelf training solution would make the most sense for their goals. Once they have chosen a solution, L&D experts need to face another challenge, namely evaluating the outsourced or off-the-shelf training solution they have implemented.
Outsourced Training vs. Off-the-shelf Training Solution
Off-the-shelf training solutions require minimal internal resources. You can implement these solutions right away, and provide employees with relevant training and support at a low cost.
It is easy to find off-the-shelf programs for a wide range of industries, and some of these solutions have a proven track record when it comes to helping employees obtain certifications and meet safety or industry quality standards.
The downside of off-the-shelf solutions is that the training material might not be an exact match for your needs. Employees might end up spending time studying material that isn’t relevant, and the learning experience might not be aligned with your company culture.
Outsourced training is an alternative you should consider if you want a flexible solution. You can decide to outsource the entire training process to a vendor, or have your internal L&D team retain control of the process and outsource tasks such as the creation of course material.
The advantages of outsourcing training include providing L&D programs that are aligned with your goals and values, offering personalized learning opportunities, and creating a process that is more flexible.
The cost of outsourced training can be a drawback. There is also a need to develop a training program from scratch and find third-party vendors that are a good match for your organization.
How to Evaluate Off-the-shelf and Outsourced Training
Evaluating a training program will help you decide if it is a good match for your needs. Perform an initial evaluation when choosing a training solution and keep assessing how well it helps you meet your goals in the long-term.
Evaluating Off-the-shelf Training
Involve learners, internal L&D experts and H&R professionals in this process. Find out what they think of the off-the-shelf solution and learning content.
Keep track of the time learners spend with the program and measure the outcome. You could use the success rate for obtaining a certification, measure the satisfaction rate of customers, or use different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) linked to productivity and quality.
Ongoing feedback from learners and managers as well as performance evaluations will help you assess the impact of the off-the-shelf solution.
Ask learners if any parts of the training program isn’t relevant to what they do, and ask them to identify any blind spots not covered by the training solution. You could also develop your own tests and quizzes to assess how well the program helps learners retain information and how the knowledge is translated into things employees can concretely apply on the job.
Evaluating Outsourced Training
If you decide to work with a third-party vendor, check their references and find out how their solutions have helped organizations similar to yours. If you only want to outsource the creation of course material, check the credentials of the instructors or industry experts who will be developing your content.
An outsourced solution that relies on an LMS to provide you with analytics is a plus when it comes to evaluating your training program. Analytics provide you with visibility over how learners engage with the program, how well they retain information, and what kind of learning content yields the best results.
You can also assess the value of an outsourced training solution by having an interdisciplinary team test the program. Have them explore personalized learning content and assess how relevant the content is.
You should give learners the opportunity to share feedback regarding their experience with the training program and talk about their perceived value of the program.
Lambda Solutions specializes in eLearning. We can help you explore a huge library of off-the-shelf courses to find the right match for your training needs and provide cloud-hosting services for LMS such as Moodle or Totara Learn. We can help with the implementation of an analytics solution like Zoola Analytics so you can evaluate the success of your training program in the long-term. Contact us to find out more about LMS and analytics.