So — you discover that your organization needs training in a specific subject. You go to the internet and search the web for vendors that supply training on that subject. You then look at the price each vendor charges for their particular solution. And then you buy the title that comes with the cheapest price. Voilà!

Nothing to it — right?!? Just pick out an appropriate title that costs the least amount of money and order it. Piece of cake!

Not so fast!

Assumptions are being made here that can certainly cost you much bigger bucks than the money you spend to buy the training title with the least expensive price.

So, why isn’t it that easy?

Well, you wouldn’t buy yourself a car that way, would you? You’d be looking for the most value you could afford — right?

Absolutely! You wouldn’t purchase a car for yourself solely by looking at automobile-names on a website or in the newspaper Want Ads.

Wouldn’t you, first, want to test drive the car? Wouldn’t you want to look up car ratings on an appropriate website? And, you might even want to talk with other users of the model you’ve chosen before making that purchase.

So, what makes you think that buying training courses can be successfully accomplished by looking at course titles in a catalog, cutting a PO, and sending a check?

We’re not so smart, after all, if we purchase training that way. For buying a subject-title, with a course description, might just give us a “car” that doesn’t run well and ends up costing us more to maintain than it was ever worth in the first place.

Yet, Price — not, Value — is what is driving too many training courseware purchases today. And, looking at course titles with their accompanying descriptions is absolutely no way to make courseware purchases.

You need to first examine the program — be it by requesting a demo or a link to the vendor’s E-Learning portal.

When you are “test-driving” that course you need to look for the following:

• Does the content covered address my requirements?
• Are the work and safety practices correctly portrayed at all times?
• Are the proper instructional design elements present?
• Multi-sensory design rooted in full-motion video while using optional word-for-word audio for your less fluent readers?
• Short segment learning using performance objectives?
• Minimal use of written text for learning?

After that “test drive,” you should perform at least three more important checks:

• Ask the vendor for user lists of other customers in your business segment.
• Ask the vendor if they use off-shore production — for, if they do, you are going to be buying “cookie-cutter” product and not the individually-designed courses each topic-area separately requires.
• Check the response time of the vendor’s “customer service.”

We’re all looking for Value with our purchases. Buying training should be no different.

Particularly with course titles for E-Learning delivery, you must be very, very careful. PowerPoint presentations adapted to the Web, as well as adapted written procedures and text-heavy CBT are not training. At best, they give some information and, at worst, they will waste the time of your employees — which, after all, is the most expensive aspect of any training initiative.

You’re looking for Value — not, Price! And, media-rich E-Learning is where you’re going to find that value. Value will not only give your employees needed skills — well-trained employees will contribute to the efficiencies and profitability of your organization.

Value will be worth every penny! In fact, as we have seen, it will ultimately cost your organization far, far less than buying Price.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning
www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com