How to Choose the Best Third Party Content Vendor

Just like the LMS industry, when you begin looking for pre-existing content, there are multiple content vendors to choose from. Choosing between them can be time consuming and a little overwhelming as content, content packages, pricing, etc. will differ between most.

To help cut down on the process, we’ve put together these 7 recommendations when you begin your search for a third party content vendor:

1. Need

Look for content that meets your specific needs. For example, if you need to perform OSHA training for your employees, look for vendors that have that type of training.

Be careful! Content vendors will always try to upsell you on additional content. Our advice: you can always add content down the road based upon what you are hearing from the people taking the content. It’s a lot easier to add content later as opposed to paying for additional content that you may never use.

2. Testing

This is the most important part of the process.

If you can, get a sample to be downloaded or, better yet, linked into your LMS. Get two or three of the courses to test and schedule time in your day to see what they look like.

Record the test with your webinar tool or a free screen capture tool to help remind you of what you saw. Make sure to also check them out on a desktop, mobile device and really any environment where your users might use the content.

Trust us, this is not a step you want to skip or overlook!

3. Mobile

Content must be mobile-enabled. This means responsively designed and, in many cases, HTML5.

HTML5 is code that is used to design webpages. Most modern browsers and all mobile browsers support HTML5. It’s also a replacement for Adobe Flash when creating interactive content. Most modern authoring tools (like The domiKnow Platform) can create and output HTML5 and its requisite components for online learning.

Make sure the content can be supported on iOS, Android and Windows phones.

4. Metadata

Want to make your life easier in the long run? Ask the third party content vendor whether you can you add your own categories and metadata (job codes, competencies, etc.) to the content. If so, when you begin adding content to the LMS, all of this information is populated automatically.

5. Cloud-Based

Many vendors will give you the full SCORM packages to upload to the LMS. These are large files that an LMS Administrator must upload to the LMS. This may seem like a good option but it’s also time consuming and doesn’t allow content to be easily updated.

In this day and age, the packages an LMS Administrator will upload should be SCORM shells that only contain a redirect to the full application residing on a content server in the Cloud. This makes it quicker and easier to update content.

NOTE: Also look for an LMS that bulk upload SCORM packages and doesn’t require vendor services to do so. This will save you even more time and money!

6. Updates

This is a critical topic that you must absolutely discuss with any third party content vendor. The bundle you buy today may be out of date in 6 months so what happens then?

Some questions to ask:

  • If you I’m purchasing regulatory or compliance training, what happens when the rules change and how fast do you update the training.
  • How are updates to the content handled?
  • How frequently has the content been updated that I’m looking at? When was the last time it was updated? When is the next update scheduled?
  • What notifications are sent and how far out?
  • Can I preview the new version before it gets applied?
  • Can I stay on an old version? If not, what is my recourse if the content doesn’t fit my needs anymore?
  • What happens if I find errors in the content?

These important questions will help you get a bigger picture as to the amount of time, energy and possibly even additional costs will be necessary to update your content.

7. Support

One of the biggest make-or-break areas of any service provider is support.

When speaking with clients or prospective clients, we suggest they call or email the support line both in the morning and the evening. Wait to see how long it takes for them to get back to you and if they don’t then this could be a clear indication of what working with this vendor may be like.

If you’ve been dealing with a sales rep, ask him/her to help get you access to the support team. If they can’t do it, be very wary.

Finding the content that suits your training needs and will help achieve your training goals is a big undertaking both from a time standpoint and even a financial standpoint. We hope these 7 recommendations on finding a third party content vendor will be helpful.

How to Choose the Best Third Party Content Vendor

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