In relating to my dept Education Technology Dept, we are outsourcing staff training on technologies tools e.g. Adobe Flash, Dreamweaver, Blackboard LMS and CampusPack that comprises of Blogs, Wiki, Podcast and Journal; however there is need to reflect whether we are doing the right thing. In most cases, we made decision because there were some funds that we need to spend by the financial year, and we didn’t notice the impact it will bring to the organization.
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In my organization which is a school has about 70% are teaching staff and 30% are non-teaching staff and our core business is to educate students from the age of 13 to 18 to prepare them for their “A” level exam, the KPI for each subjects’ dept that they aim to have more students getting more As grade in their GCE “A” Levels result.
In school context, teachers will not want to attend any training that falls on their holiday and term breaks, however during the term time; they are extremely busy with teaching, additional school roles and other extra-curricular activities with their students.
My dept is functioning as a supporting role to the schools, which is to provide support in the use of the technologies that will assist the teaching staff to be able to engage their student in a teaching and learning environment. Currently, the dept only provides training on the technologies’ tools, but not the teaching pedagogy course, as these courses related to teaching are provided by the Teachers’ Academy Dept. To the teachers, the use of the technology may not be their core needs; to them, the tools help to enhance their teaching topic to be created online creatively that helps the students to be able to understand the topic more effectively that can’t be explain clearly in class, hence it is indirectly improving students’ GCE “A” Levels’ results with more As.
In training context, and at our current status of only providing outsourcing training, we have to identify the different between In-house and outsource training, then we will be able to reflect if we are doing the right thing now, if not it will not be easy to revert to in-house training.
Outsource training has many good advantages as compared to in-house training if the organization was able to outsource training to the right vendor that can provide the best training, such that the organization will be able to concentrate on other core competencies. These are the advantages:
Outsource training vendors are able to always bring in new expertise area with new training packages, as these are their core business towards training.
Outsource training vendors are able to obtain good quality training within a short period of time at lower cost, as they should already have a full list training course.
It helps the organization to focus on their core business, and assist HR executive to focus on strategic curriculum design, that is able to define Training Need Assessment that will then ask the outsource training vendor to create training courses to meet those Needs.
Organisation do not need to worry about space (training room, IT Labs), as the training can be at the vendors’ training room.
Save costs on getting in-house trainers, setting up a Training Room or IT Training Center.
In longer term partnership with outsource training vendor should be able to continuing access to the training resources.
In-house training will have advantages that are:
The training contents can be customised to the staff’s training needs, In-house trainers also able to show case studies relevant to their workplace.
Staff able to their doubts cleared during in-house training if the topics are related to the business need.
Cost will be cheaper even for lesser staff to attend a course.
Training date can be scheduled to suit the staff.
In-house trainer will know the staff and the organisation’s core competencies better, and staff is able to get help internally with the in-house trainer.
Staff is willing to share internally rather than openly with other employees from other companies due to confidential issue or the other employees are their competitors in the same industry sector.
If getting a vendors that cannot provide the requirement will be added headache to the organization, it will be worse it there is yearly agreement contract signed between both parties where the organization cannot break the agreement contract to re-hire a new vendor.
It is also possible to outsourcing to more than one training vendor, then there will be lack of consistency in training quality and might lost track of staff development training plan with too many choices with the same courses provided by more than one training vendor.
Also, organization are worried of external trainers may not know or fast enough to know the culture well, and external trainer has disadvantages over in-house trainer as organization may not share with outsiders on their organization’s operation, hence external trainer may lost grasp of understanding and not able to relate well with the staff that came for the training.
As for in-house training, the in-house trainers must always keep out to update of the technologies and trends, else their only resources are very limited, and not able to provide good training.
There are always risks involved with regards to in-house or outsource training. For in-house training, organization may afraid to employ in-house trainers and to pay them highly in training certification to be competent in providing training to internal staff, there is risk that the in-house trainer will tender his/her resignation and organization has to quickly get a new replacement to conduct training, there may be a time gap delay as new in-house trainer will need time to adapt to new culture too.
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As for outsource training, the risk is whether the training vendors are able to meet all the organisation’s requirement, and they may be cases where the training vendors may not be doing well in their business, and not able to get sufficient and competent trainers to provide training to your staff, or maybe the training vendors decided to close their training business due to capitals issues.
Therefore, these are just example of risks that might happen, that the organization should get dedicate training committee to prepare risks if such thing happens. There should be a alternate plan such that their core business will not be affected by it. E.g. of where marketing training or customer training course will be more critical as indirectly will affect the sales business.
Hence, whatever it will be in-house or outsource training, it will be good to source and adopt an outsourcing engagement model that can help the training committee in risk planning, it is necessary else the organization will be ended up paying more for any kind of scenarios that might happen.
There should be a guideline for an organization to make such a critical decision as to implement in-house or outsource training within the organization; these are the factors that we use it for reconsideration:
Cost, performing cost-benefit analysis will help you to decide, that is to compare the cost for in-house and outsource training for short-term as well as long-term cost. For In-house, the cost will the cost of the internal trainer, e.g. the salary, insurance, etc that we have to be incurred in. As for outsource, we only need to pay the training vendor a one lump sum for training the staff.
Time, do we have time to build content for training?
Skills, do we have expertise that has the skills to execute in-house?
Resources, do we have the resources, or the in-house expertise to meet the objectives as the organization grows?
Instructor’s experience that is confident to teach?
How about combination of the training course? Not necessary to outsource everything? Some training course maybe suitable for in-house than outsource?
The challenge to organization is to be to able deliver high-quality training at a lower cost, less risky and faster ways to implement training course and still able to keep in par with the training department.
Based on the above discussion, outsource training is indeed excellent for big organizations that have limited time to build training content and limited resources and equipment, outsourcing indeed help them to save costs on getting additional headcount for trainers and getting spaces (training room or computer labs) and new equipments to conduct in-house training.
However in my organization in a school context, we have resources and equipments and Specialists to build training content for teachers, in addition, the training contents can be customize that suite to the teachers’ needs, e.g. they can bring along a project based on their teaching topics.
The dept itself have the equipments and Specialist, it will be cheaper to conduct in-house training, it gave us more flexibility to schedule the training at the teachers’ free slots, also the teachers can attend as often as they want, and Specialist should be given the opportunity to see their training skills in delivering courses. However, if for outsource training, we are actually paying the trainer for the class size of 20 with training date planned 2 month earlier, and then for some reasons, some teachers are not able to attend and only a few registered for it, it is not cost effective then.
If there are specific areas that we are lacking in, outsource training no doubt is good, however if we think for our Specialists to upgrade their expertise, there are two ways that I can recommend:
We can outsource by paying trainers to train in the campus, or
Specialist to attend external training and then re-build contents more suitable for our teachers, this will bring a win-win case, as Specialist will get to learn (maybe even get certified) and teach new skills then re-design the training course to suit to teachers’ need.
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