Are you implementing a new learning management system (LMS)? Maybe you already have an LMS, but you’re looking for strategies to enhance how it impacts your continuing education program.

To assist in any of these situations (and more), you might consider working with an eLearning consultant. Read our blog to discover how an eLearning consultant firm can take your continuing education program to the next level.

Whether they need to upgrade an existing system or launch a new program from scratch, organizations face many difficult questions. The decisions made during this process can have a profound impact on an organization’s long-term health, which only increases the pressure to get things right the first time.

What is an eLearning consultant and how can you use an eLearning consulting firm?

Have you found yourself asking any of the following questions:

  • Which learning management system (LMS) should your organization use?
  • How will you develop and deliver continuing education course content?
  • What is the best way to track and measure learning engagement?

Working with an experienced eLearning consultant can answer these questions and help organizations avoid common mistakes while identifying the best tools and processes for a successful learning strategy.

An eLearning consultant helps to solve your continuing education program problems by providing advice and guidance. The feedback could be as straightforward as providing recommendations on how to implement a new LMS, to more complex such as overseeing the creation and implementation of multiple continuing education courses.

An eLearning consultant typically comes in one of two forms:

  • Internal eLearning consultant
    These eLearning consultants are typically employed within the organization to provide ongoing guidance and strategic execution. They not only help identify specific learning needs, but also oversee the teams or external vendors building the needed solutions.
  • External eLearning consultant
    More in line with the traditional consulting model, these eLearning consultants are contracted to engage with an organization for a limited time. They evaluate existing technology and processes before providing recommendations that will enhance continuing education capabilities.

Regardless of their relationship to an organization, eLearning consultants will typically perform many of the same tasks, which could include developing new continuing education strategies, identifying appropriate technology or software tools, assessing the efficacy of existing LMS platforms, or developing new courses and content assets.

How instructional design consulting works

Instructional design is a specific service that many, but not all, eLearning consultants offer. It entails the actual creation of learning materials and the courses that utilize them. While instructional design requires a great deal of subject matter expertise and best practices for education, it also incorporates the latest trends in user experience technology and data reporting.

Far from simply designing a course, these eLearning consultants also know how to build learning systems that promote beneficial engagement. Designing a learning course that delivers basic information and then tests participants might be a good way to assess what learners have retained. However, it doesn’t mean a learner will be able to apply what they’ve learned. Good instructional design builds a learning ecosystem that reinforces specific behaviors connected to meaningful results and measurable goals.

When do you need an eLearning consultant?

While there are many reasons an organization might choose to work with an eLearning consultant, there are a few situations where eLearning consultants are particularly helpful. Here are the top three scenarios in which, you might consider working with an eLearning consultant:

  • Implementing a new learning strategy
    Launching a brand-new continuing education program can be a massive undertaking, even for smaller associations and companies. There are serious technical and methodological questions that need to be addressed, not to mention the matter of individual credentialing and regulatory requirements.

However, an eLearning consultant can help organizations select the appropriate LMS technology, formulate courses that will provide meaningful benefits to learners, and implement best practices for assessing learner engagement and performance.

  • Expanding existing continuing education programming
    Many organizations make the mistake of thinking they can expand their current continuing education program by simply delivering more of the same. But a learner’s needs change as they grow, and accommodating those demands often requires entirely new technologies and learning experiences to integrate into existing programs.

Experienced eLearning consultants can help organizations upgrade their LMS capabilities and build more complex continuing education course offerings. An eLearning consultant can also provide guidance for organizing virtual, multi-track learning events that are engaging and beneficial for learners.

  • Evaluating an underperforming continuing education program
    As with many other forms of consulting, eLearning consultants are often brought in to determine why an LMS solution isn’t meeting expectations. Perhaps the costs of training remain stubbornly high or overall engagement levels are lower than expected.

While it’s usually easy to see that an LMS solution isn’t working as intended, it’s often much more difficult to understand why. An eLearning consultant can assess the available data and evaluate learner feedback to identify problem areas impacting performance.

How to evaluate eLearning consulting firms

When assessing an external eLearning consultant, there are a few important areas to consider before making a final decision. The first step should always be determining exactly what sort of consulting service is needed. If an organization simply needs to choose new LMS technology to deliver existing learning coursework, engaging a consulting firm that specializes primarily in instructional design is probably not an ideal fit.

Another important factor to consider is the eLearning consultant firm’s area of expertise. While there are many common learning practices that will apply to all types of organizations, most industries have unique educational requirements that must be taken into consideration. For example, a legal association faces very different credentialing and compliance standards than a healthcare association. When an organization is considering an engagement with an eLearning consulting firm, it needs to make sure that the firm has relevant experience in its industry and understands the learning goals associated with it.

It’s also crucial to think about how an organization’s education and development needs will change in the future. Partnering with an eLearning consultant firm that’s capable of servicing those evolving requirements by implementing additional LMS tools and designing new coursework ensures learning technology will keep pace with demand. Growth potential and flexibility are essential for associations that need to manage member certifications and credits while also providing personalized learning paths that keep engagement high.

Enhance your learning strategy with Freestone LMS

Designed specifically for the needs of associations, Freestone LMS offers interactive live and on-demand learning course content. Featuring an intuitive interface that streamlines every aspect of the learning process, Freestone allows you to deliver live webinars, webcasts, and dynamic content that keeps learners connected and engaged.

The Freestone LMS eLearning consultants work closely with your association to build unique course material that meets the specific needs of your members.

Learn more about eLearning consultants

To learn more about Freestone’s industry-leading capabilities and our instructional design consulting services, contact our team today. Discover how Freestone can level up your continuing education program today!