Knowing When To Outsource Product Training

Elena Cutri, Director, Education Services, LexisNexis:

Most large law firms have learning & development teams that include learning professionals working side-by-side with former assistants who displayed talent and interest in training their peers. These teams tend to handle the firm’s training projects on their own, rather than partner with a vendor. This approach of ‘Inside Only’ can be advantageous, primarily around familiarity with the organization’s culture and its players. However, there may be inherent benefits of partnering with a vendor to train new products and processes.

Perspective on Learning Trends and Technology

A valuable learning vendor should bring insight into the latest trends on learning. Learning vendors make it their business to know best-in-class practices, explore trends and invest in new technologies. A good learning partner should be prepared to talk about methods that drive engaging and effective education.

Internal L&D staff may be strapped for time or funding to acquire skills on new technology needed for delivery or development. It can be challenging to meet the demands of a full training delivery schedule and keep up with emerging trends like gamification or the needs of a millennial learner.

Comprehensive Learning Development Strategy

Learning vendors invest time in developing an inclusive learning strategy when working with clients. Each project typically includes these operational components:

  • Training project intake
  • Business-oriented process and learning discussion
  • Training deliverables review and approval
  • Methodology, toolkits, and templates

A vendor often has a project manager that can keep team members, SMEs, and project sponsors on task for their roles in the project.

Internal L&D staff can benefit by partnering with a learning vendor to model this development approach for other training projects. They can also utilize the approach to map and develop their own statement on the high value of services they provide to the firm.

Breadth and Depth of Product Knowledge

A law firm’s training department has to be Master Jugglers at developing and delivering a wide range of classes to an even wider range of users. They may be delivering training on a new product or process to new users one day and delivering refresher training in another office the next day. Finding time to learn about a new software in-depth, and then developing training for it can be challenging at best.

The vendor’s training team can help develop an overall strategy for your training. They can shorten the development cycle by producing custom outlines or providing generic ones. They can also model training for a pilot group, so that the internal team can move forward with training the rest of the firm. They can also recommend a variety of learning approaches including blended learning and social learning.

Partner with a Vendor

The firm’s training team is best positioned to succeed with its relationships and skills. But the challenges of delivering product training in a compressed timeframe are real. Partnering with a vendor can bring exposure to new learning trends, operational efficiencies and new skills.