When it comes to delivering the best possible training to employees, not every solution can be DIY. There will be a point at which you assess the internal skills within your training department and determine that the best course of action evident, is to contract outside talent to create online training.
You wouldn’t trust your mission critical training project to just anyone. It isn’t as simple as placing an “Elearning Wanted” ad in the classifieds. You need to make sure anyone who is brought in for custom elearning development not only has the knowledge and skills to do so but also has a clear vision of the scope of your project.
Enter The RFP
Within organizations, Request For Proposals (RFPs) are nothing new. They’re often used in order to get outside individuals or companies to bid on a project. From an organizational perspective, it’s a good way to vet qualified proposals and distinguish them from unqualified proposals.
However from a training perspective, there are some factors specific to writing an RFP for online training that need to be considered before it’s ever published.
The goal of any successful training program needs to be to increase the performance of the employees who are taking it. Consequently, any RFP that is written for online training needs to reflect that very quality. Below are some tips that not only help you write a good RFP but allow you to compose a great one.
Quick Elearning RFP Tips
Do Your Research
This is a critical first step, as it informs the rest of your document. What do you really need? Is what you’re asking for the best solution to your training problem? The key point in this step is to determine what exactly — and in what quantity or type — would help to solve your problem?
Determine Your Want Vs. Needs
Everyone wants something better. For instance my car while reliable, is fairly common, although it is a good fit for my personal needs. Would I turn away a 2014 Dodge Charger if someone were to give one to me? Probably not. When it comes to writing an RFP for an online training project, you need to walk the fine line between asking for what you need versus what you want. There will be some custom elearning developers who can give you exactly what you want within your timeframe and budget. While the E Learning delivered may fit your needs, you also want to leave enough space for exceptional custom elearning developers to exceed your expectations while still staying within your timeframe and budget.
Be clear to what exactly the deliverable to be from a high-level perspective. Go into detail further on in the RFP to minimize the amount of questions that the writer of the proposal will have. The more detail you go into, the more accurate the bids you will receive.
The Structure Of An Elearning RFP
While every RFP can vary (We’ve seen ones as short as 7 pages and as long as 70), they should all have within them the following elements in order to provide clarity for both the author of the RFP itself and the recipient.
Who is the organization? What is their mission and what are their current projects and focus? This provides helpful context for any of the authors of a proposal.
This gives further context to the elearning developer to see how the project they are bidding on will help to solve company goals. Additionally, it will let them know upon reading whether they are a good fit for the project.
Who is the end-user of the training? Be as specific as you can. Let the vender know the age ranges, job position, average reading level and computer literacy of the typical end-user.
Project Deliverable and Specs
This is the main portion of the proposal. It helps to identify the major components of the training program or courses. It also helps to describe the features that you’re looking for. This could be anything from whether or not you need a SCORM-compatible course, whether the training can be accessed from a smartphone or tablet, or the amount of interactivity involved. The more details you can determine, the more accurate the cost estimate will be from the vendor that responds.
What are the the budget and cost breakdown per deliverable? Also, what is the timeline from start to completion? What are the tasks involved in completing the project? The vendor should also include a company profile as well as information on the team responsible for completing the training project.
This section in the RFP should include information on completion dates. Additionally, it should include information on project testing expectations, intellectual property rights and billing requirements. Also incorporated within should be administrative requirements and guidelines for the project. Lastly, it should include the maximum price range vendors should bid within.
References / Samples
This section will help you to qualify leads based on vendor’s experience delivering online training to clients in the past. You should make inquiry about how recent or long-term the clients were, the kind of contact information you need and whether they are current or past clients. Additionally, ask to see samples of their work.
Proposal Delivery Instructions and Contact Information
When the vendor has completed their proposal, they will need to know to whom it’s addressed and how it should be sent (email or mail). Additionally, they will need to know the point of contact if they have further questions about the RFP.
Proposal Evaluation Timeline
The final section of the RFP should include a timeline concerning the final completion date, estimated time of arrival for the proposals, as well as a specific time the vendor can be expected to be contacted if they are successful.
As mentioned earlier, every elearning RFP can vary in terms of content. By being as clear as possible regarding your expectations, you will find yourself in position to generate more quality responses from vendors.