DIY vs. Done for You Course Creation vs. Hiring an Online Course Creation Consultant?
More and more people find value in packaging their knowledge and expertise into an online course. Not only this allows you to generate additional passive revenue, but it helps you to impact more people you otherwise couldn’t. This is, at least, our two favorite benefits of creating an online course or virtual training.
Once you’ve decided to create an online course, you may start considering your options: should you “do it yourself,” hire an online course creation consultant, or work with a course creation agency? Our answer is: it depends. We’ve outlined all of the pros and cons of each approach in this blog post.
Option #1: Do It Yourself (DIY)
For organizations and individuals on a tight budget, it can be incredibly tempting to just “do it yourself.” Given the numerous resources, online course creation tips, and even entire courses that teach you how to “do it yourself” available, this is a reasonable option.
However, it does come with a few limitations.
Advantages of the DIY Approach
#1. It’s affordable
Let’s be honest – creating a course yourself is the least expensive way if you only calculate the monetary investment. However, as we’ve discussed in the “How to Calculate eLearning Content Development Cost” blog, there’re hard and soft dollars you need to account for. Sure, you won’t have to pay for a course creation agency or consultant. However, you still have to factor in the time you spend on your course creation, some expenses related to the equipment you might need to get or the software to host your course.
#2. You are in complete control
Many people opt for the “DIY” online course creation because they want to be in complete control of the process. But as they say, with freedom comes responsibility because unless you have a step-by-step process, such as eLearning Simplified Academy, you may get lost in the sea of thousands of LMSs, and dozens of content types and lose sight of what actually matters – your Learners.
#3. You can easily change the course later
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of doing the course yourself is that you can easily go back to update it later. You don’t have to rehire the consultant or agency.
Disadvantages of the DIY Approach
Of course, there are also some disadvantages of skipping course creation services and doing it yourself.
#1. You need to invest in equipment and software
To start, you will need to purchase the necessary equipment and software. Depending on the size and scope of your course, this may be incredibly affordable (or even free). But if you’re looking for premium-quality video content and need instructional design tools, purchasing an LMS, authoring tools, and video editing software may add up to your costs.
#2. You have to learn everything yourself
It won’t come as a surprise that doing it all yourself also comes with a significant learning curve. We can’t tell you how many courses and eLearning programs never got launched because the creators got stuck figuring out how to structure their course, all of the bells and whistles of an LMS, or how to operate the camera and set up lighting.
#3. It’s the most time-consuming approach
Between the learning curve and the actual time spent creating the course, this is the most time-consuming option. Each minute you spend making the course is time you spend away from your primary responsibilities. That can interfere with running your business or other commitments.
Option #2: Hire a Course Consultant
Hiring an online course creation consultant is a great option for those who may need additional support while on the “do it yourself’ route. You can save yourself a ton of time by getting practical expertise but spend less than you would if you hired an online course creation agency. Let’s look at the pros and cons of this approach to a custom course creation.
Advantages of Hiring a Course Consultant
#1. You get professional insight
A consultant will bring their experience for an easy course creation. Most importantly, they’ll know what to focus on (your Learners!), how to design an effective program that gets Learners results, what LMS is best suited for your needs, and even provide tips on how to market your course.
#2. They bring new ideas and an outside perspective
In addition to the practical experience a consultant has, they can also bring a unique perspective to your project. It’s good to have a “second set of eyes” on your course, especially if you are working on it alone. We recommend looking for a consultant with their own course; this way, you’ll know that they possess not only theoretical but practical knowledge of the entire process of course creation, from an idea to execution and measuring results.
#3. You still have a high level of control
Compared to done-for-you courses, you will still have a great deal of control when working with a consultant. As your trusted advisor, they’ll guide you through the process of creating your program, but you can always decide whether or not to listen to their advice.
Disadvantages of Hiring a Course Consultant
Before you outsource course creation to a consultant, consider the following disadvantages.
#1. More expensive than a DIY
Professional online course creation services, whether it’s a consultant or an agency, will always cost more than doing it yourself because you pay for experience and knowledge. Of course, that extra cost is frequently worth it.
#2. Still takes a lot of your time
Although a consultant can significantly decrease the amount of time you spend on research and learning the ins and outs of the course creation process, they are still not going to be there to create a course for you. You’ll have to put in the time to script your course, create content, edit videos (if you want them to look professional), and upload them to an LMS.
#3. You have to choose the right consultant
When we first created an online course, we hired an instructional design consultant. Well, it didn’t go well. Unfortunately, the consultant was getting paid hourly and had no interest in moving the project closer to the launch date. They also did not have experience selling their own course, so their knowledge of the subject was limited. As a result, the course flopped.
Option #3: Done For You Course Creation
“Done for you” course creation is the opposite of the DIY method – your involvement in the process is very minimal. The deliverables may depend on the online course creation agency that offers this service, but most often than not, it means that you are acting as a Subject Matter Expert, preparing the content, recording it with the help of the agency, and approving the final results.
Advantages of a Done-for-You Course
Some advantages of “done for you” courses overlap with those of hiring a consultant. That being said, there are some additional benefits as well.
#1. You can take advantage of professional experience
One of the biggest pros of working with an online course creation agency is that you’re tapping into a talent pool that can ensure that your program is top-notch. For example, when we work with clients who are looking to create Premium eLearning Videos, we record all of the footage in our studio in Englewood, CO, and then our team of editors takes care of the rest. With that being said, our clients still have to prepare the material, approve content and upload it to their LMS (which we can advise them on).
#2. You can develop content that requires specialized knowledge
There’re many types of content you can create for your eLearning program, and many of them come with an extremely high learning curve, such as animated videos. Hiring a company that specializes in online course creation services means that you can develop content you otherwise could not (unless you are a professional editor or animator!)
#3. It saves you time
“Done for you” course creation is the least time-consuming option because after you prep the material, all of the heavy lifting of content creation is done for you. You’d have to provide feedback and approve the content in the end, but it requires a fraction of the time you’d spend learning the software and editing content yourself. Additionally, your course will be ready a lot faster.
Disadvantages of a Done-for-You Course
#1. It’s the most expensive option
Hiring an agency is the most expensive option because it is done entirely by professionals. You may also have to pay to book studio time. However, this approach allows you to focus on other tasks that generate revenue for your business and get a better result in the end.
#2. You have to choose the right agency
As with hiring a consultant, you’ll need to choose an agency for a “done-for-you” course carefully. We suggest hiring an agency that has its own course; this way, you know that they are practicing what they are preaching. Additionally, look at the samples of work because not every video production company specializes in creating online course content.
Important Considerations When Making a Decision
As you look at the pros and cons of each option, you’ll notice a few common considerations. Keep these in mind as you decide which option to choose.
Your budget will be a primary concern. DIY courses are the most affordable, and “done-for-you” courses require considerable investment. But consultants and done-for-you courses may justify their higher cost by:
- Giving you more time to focus on other tasks
- Bringing you a professional experience
- Delivering a higher-quality course, which may improve results
Personal Time and Skillset
Think about how much free time you have and your skill set. Are you a fast learner and already know how to edit videos or use authoring tools? Or are you incredibly busy and would rather work with a team of professionals to create a premium product?
If you are on a tight deadline, a “done-for-you” course can be quicker. Agencies have larger teams to work on the course, and their experience lets them work more efficiently.
Professionals will usually deliver courses that are much higher in quality. This can improve the impression you make on learners and improve engagement. That, in turn, will help you reach your goals, whether they are improving training or selling more courses.
Different people and businesses will do best with a “do it yourself” course, hiring an online course consultant, or outsourcing online course creation entirely to an agency. It depends on many factors. Evaluate the pros and cons and consider your budget, deadlines, and desired course quality to decide.
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