5 Tips For Writing A Stellar RFP for Your Custom Learning Program

Ardent Learning

Whether you’re ready to start a learning program or want to improve upon your existing learning and development resources, your team will likely use the services of a managed learning organization to help you develop and launch to your learners. 

Although some companies are equipped to handle instructional design, planning, and videos internally, many others need outsourced partners to implement the product. A request for proposal, or RFP, is the best way to start the process of finding a vendor who can meet your needs and stay within your budget. 

There’s more to an RFP than the standard W’s – who, what, why, when – especially if you’re new to building learning programs. Here are our five tips for creating an outstanding RFP that will help you hire the best outsourced managed learning team for your company.

Prepare With Your Customers In Mind

RFPs can quickly morph into a much larger plan than you anticipated. When additions from stakeholders in every area sneak into an RFP, the project may move away from the ultimate goals you have for customer, client, and staff learning. While you’re writing, consider your audience with every step to ensure the final project can meet the goals you’ve set for the program. 

Clarify Your “Must Haves” and “Nice to Haves” 

Starting an eLearning program from scratch is exciting, and although you may see limitless potential for the future project, your accounting staff will see a limited budget. Bells and whistles are fun and can increase learner engagement, but you shouldn’t include them in place of essential features to meet your goals. Create a list of non-negotiable elements that align with your learners’ needs and a second wish list of features to include if the budget allows.

Include All The Details

RFPs keep vendors who submit proposals on the same page and let you compare quotes equally. Your RFP should include: 

  • Executive summary and company intro 
  • Project overview, with details like business need, objective, performance goals
  • Assumptions and constraints
  • Proposed project schedule and key dates
  • Must Have List or details of the functions you are outsourcing
  • Instructions for submission
  • Deadline for submission

Your RFP should read as a story of your decision to start the project, which will help vendors understand your business needs for the project. Additionally, outlining specific responsibilities for your team and a vendor’s team will keep surprises and extra costs from popping up during the project.

Be Open to New Ideas

Technology changes quickly, and even if you’ve been there, done that with an existing learning program, you could be surprised what new technology is available to meet your needs. If managing learning is new to you, you could discover a new way of presenting content you didn’t consider. In either case, you don’t know what you don’t know; be open to suggestions from potential vendors, as they may present a better solution than you provided in your RFP!

Set Submission and Evaluation Guidelines

Collecting submissions is the final piece of the RFP process before selecting a vendor but can be chaotic without clear guidelines for submitting and evaluating. Include the submission process in the initial RFP, as well as the evaluation metrics and timeline. Evaluate incoming proposals according to a pre-determined system to give your vendors a fair assessment. 

An RFP gives your next managed learning design and development project a successful start and helps you find the perfect vendor for your company. Learn more from our experts about outsourcing your L&D strategy.

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