You wouldn’t cut your own hair or Google “How to plumb a new home,” but too often eLearning is expected to be a DIY venture. Even if you can find the instructions on a well-meaning “How To” website, your organization’s training and development should never be left to an amateur effort. By taking stock of what services and features you’ll need, you can work with a qualified instructional designer and get professional results. There’s a large spectrum of eLearning, and getting started is about way more than just a Web search.

Deciphering the eLearning Market

Chances are that if you did run a search for eLearning, your reaction would be best described as “overwhelmed… and a little scared.” The eLearning market is vast and innovative, with new ideas, concepts, theories and products being pushed and published daily. Your first order of business? Deciding which concepts and products will work best for your particular L&D situation. While some might gravitate toward the idea of a video series, another solution might involve a blended approach by combining face-to-face and mobile training.

Trying to navigate eLearning trends and concepts solo might be a lot like searching “How to sail across the Atlantic.” You might find the answer in theory, but you’d still be a lot better off with a seasoned captain when your boat hits the water.

Organizational Assets

You don’t have to outsource all of your eLearning needs. Your organization probably has assets on-hand to make the process easier. Whether it’s a script you’ve used for sales training in the past or PowerPoint presentation media that can be utilized in a new program, using what you have makes the most of your eLearning budget and allows you to save time and be a bigger part of the process. No, you don’t want to attempt building an eLearning module based on a set of instructions, but your instructional designer will be more than happy to include your current assets and materials in the process.

Implementation and Tracking

We’ve all done it: Googling a fever and self-diagnosing a rash, courtesy of forums, websites and FAQs. Obviously the Internet is no substitute for a doctor, so why would it replace an instructional designer? Even after a program has been designed, you could be missing vital metrics when the delivery and implementation is left to a DIY project.

Talk to your designer about better ways to track data such as completion rates, end-of-completion quiz results and engagement metrics or your L&D project isn’t fully finished. Like a Web health diagnosis, you don’t necessarily have the tools and information to paint an accurate picture of how you’re doing.

Keeping costs low and production in-house might seem like your first priority, but attempting to DIY eLearning could come back to haunt you. By having a plan in hand when you talk to your instructional designer, you can use what assets you have to create a partnership – and a truly stellar L&D program.