Today there are a countless number of business and service providers in the learning industry who claim that they can do it all – but is that really provide the customer with inherent value?
Be it instructional designers, LMS providers, consulting firms, or what have you – it is always best to do business with a specialist. The old adage, “you get what for you pay for” is never more true in these instances.
For example, if you are looking for training developed for a certain piece of software, the odds of you getting a better end-product from someone who is immersed in instructional design specifically for the product (or industry) are higher than getting the generalist designer to do the same. They know the questions to ask, the quirks of the product, and less time is wasted waiting for them to come up-to-speed with the program.
The same can be said when choosing a learning management system. Look at the other products being offered by the organization. Are they directly related to the filed, or is their product-line seem to be all over the place? Is their focus on elearning and the training industry, or is it about pumping out a diverse set of products in an effort to cast their net as wide as possible?
Take a good look at who is behind the product as well. Do the founders have credibility? When it comes to a learning management system for your organization, can your training afford a part-time effort?
Think of it this way: if you have a heart condition and need open-heart surgery, do you choose the heart surgeon or the general surgeon? I think the choice here is rather clear. You would want the specialist because they come with a rather specific skill-set, and background to your situation.
Generalists have their place – but if you ask me, I choose specialists 10 out of 10 times. A jack-of-all-trades is seldom an expert at one.