In a world of digitalization, when every industry has accepted the power of technology, educational institutions are fulfilling their online learning and teaching requirements by leveraging the expertise of instructional designers. Instructional design companies play a crucial role in the successful implementation of online learning strategies in the education sector. An online learning program can be successful only when they are interesting, engaging, and provide value to learners. Therefore, for academic institutions, it is important to have the right kind of teaching material in the first place.
In order to get good quality, well-targeted, technically sound eLearning material for your educational institution, you need to choose the right instructional design company.
Also Read: Difference Between Instructional Design & Learning Experience Design
This blog explores the key factors to consider while selecting an instructional design company for your institution’s needs.
1. Conduct needs analysis
To zero in on the right instructional design company, first, you need to do a thorough analysis to understand your exact requirements, depending on:
- Types of learners
- Mode of learning
- The desired outcome of the program
- Kind of interactivities that need to be incorporated
- Whether your program needs to enable accessibility features and so on
The list of well-researched findings will help you to convey your exact requirement to the company. A clear outline about your eLearning courses and their outcomes will not only help you to get the right partner, but also provide them a clear understanding of your requirements.
2. Background check
You need to do proper homework before selecting the right instructional design company for your online programs. There might be a plethora of options available to you when choosing such a partner and every one of them might have a lot to offer. But, it’s essential to do a thorough background check of the company regarding their quality of services, reliability, and efficiency to meet deadlines, and so on. Every instructional design company might claim to provide you with the best of services and high-quality eLearning content. But it’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach; every institution has its own unique requirements. Therefore, it is crucial to confirm whether the company can fulfill what you need for your online program development.
If developing any specific kind of programs like CBTs, WBTs, ILT, or mobile learning courses is on your mind, it is good to hire an instructional design company with a specialization in those categories. As different types of courses require different software/tools and professional expertise, companies with relevant experience will be able to serve you in better ways.
3. Capability check
The efficiency of instructional designers, visual designers, programmers, and quality assurance determines to a large extent whether your online programs will be engaging and suitable for your learners. Therefore, you should check the availability of resources before choosing an instructional design company.
The programs also need to be technically sound and accessible from anywhere. Therefore, the technical team of the company you pick must have access to the latest technologies and trained professionals to make the courses successful.
A lot of instructional designing tools and software are in use these days, to make online programs attractive, engaging, and widely accessible. However, you should make sure that your partner company has the latest version of the software and tools required and an efficient team to use them. Otherwise, there is a chance of facing technical challenges during your course development cycle.
4. Quality assurance
Quality Assurance (QA) is a vital aspect of selecting an instructional design company. QA is not just proofreading or language checking or grammar correction; for online learning programs, QA comprises many other aspects like functionality checking, accessibility testing, system integration testing, and go-live testing.
Before choosing an instructional design company, make sure that they have a proper infrastructure in place, the necessary devices, a trained testing team, and the right testing tools and software to offer you technically sound learning material that can be accessed from different devices. Availability and efficiency of the testing team should be a decision-making factor, so that you get nothing but great quality eLearning materials.
5. Availability and quality of resources
The availability of professional instructional designers, visual designers, programmers, and testers is one of the most important criteria. The quality of the learning material depends on the capability of the developer team members. The development of online learning courses involve teamwork, and the professional expertise of everyone plays a key role in making the course successful.
Therefore, make sure that the instructional design company has quality resources and a large enough team to serve you. It is essential to know how many dedicated resources the company can allocate for your projects and if they can provide additional resources on demand.
6. Data management and security measures
Cyber-attacks, data-phishing, malware attacks, etc., occur quite frequently in today’s times. Therefore, data security and management is an essential feature to keep your eLearning content safe. Make sure the instructional design company you choose has access to modern data security measures like end-to-end encryption, controlled data access facility, cloud infrastructure, and so on. Furthermore, any data recovery plan or backup strategy is also essential to save your important data from any kind of data loss.
Also Read: Top 8 Cloud Security Best Practices
7. Measures to handle unfavorable situations:
Since unfavorable situations and unexpected changes can arise at any time, make sure the instructional design company has the ability to handle them. Whether it is a crucial project change or a valuable team member suddenly drops out, your partner company should have backup plans to deliver your project on time.
Today, it is easy to come across several instructional design companies that can transform your simple content into efficient and engaging eLearning material. So, before choosing one such company as your partner, conduct thorough research about the reputation of the company in the market, review their existing works, and carry out background checks. Consider the above-mentioned criteria before selecting the right company, and create top-quality interactive eBooks and engaging eLearning courses.
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