PART FOUR — “The Design & Vendor Review”

  December 21, 2015

Six years ago, I posted a series of blogs designed to aid the buyer in navigating the purchasing process.  With new edits, and some rewriting, to bring them up-to-date, here they are again —- written from your point of view.  This final one is Part Four, “the design and vendor review.”

Here are some essential design elements you should expect to find when previewing your e-Learning possibilities:

1)   Navigation through the course is simple, consistent and intuitive.  In other words, are the screens user-friendly and obvious to the learner?

2)   The instruction is both meaningful and interactive.  In other words, are the individual units of instruction performance-based and require meaningful responses from the learner.  Knowledgeable instructional design will also segment the course into very small units of instruction, each tied directly to a performance objective.

3)   Adult learning characteristics are accommodated.  In other words, are the designed communication techniques consistent with the learning culture of the individuals to be trained.

4)   Administrative management requirements are satisfied.  In other words, the test results, time spent, etc. are readily incorporated into your LMS.

5)   The media used is appropriately integrated into the learning experience.  In other words, the graphics, stills and animations are directly appropriate to the subject being taught.

The final review-subject involves an activity that many of you may not realize is even possible.  After all, customer support doesn’t show its pretty, or ugly, head until sometime after the sale.

And, in many ways, that’s true.  Some vendors regard their customer support activities only from a cost control standpoint.  They believe that a customer support function is nothing but an expense item.  So, they try to put roadblocks between themselves and the customer in order to delay the inevitable as long as possible in the hope that it will “just go away.”

Unfortunately, far too many training vendors put a “Contact Us” on their website, BUT only provide an e-Mail method of contact — no phone number!

Other vendors place the caller into a voice mail activity, bypassing the customer’s need to get immediate service even though that customer may have a class of trainees waiting.

What can you do during your review process in order to minimize your chances of ending up with one of those non-customer oriented vendors?

Well, you should ask your salesperson for a “number to call” in the event of a problem and an e-Mail address to contact whenever you’re experiencing problems.

Now, run a test.  Call the number provided and time how long it takes for them to get back with you.  Ditto with the e-Mail address.  The answer to those two tests will tell you a lot about the future problems you are going to encounter with that particular vendor.

We all know that technology is not perfect.  There will always be hiccups.  And, most of us know enough not to expect perfection.  But, it is not too much to expect vendors to treat those imperfections with the care and concern you, their customer, deserve.  Some vendors are truly customer oriented.  Find one of those.  It will save you a lot of grief.

And, so, we have now completed our four-part review process, designed to help you in making your training purchases.  Enjoy the holidays.  More on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 –  –  –

    — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning  (Mondays & Wednesdays)


(This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)