Hiring a Learning Consultant? Test the Waters with a Scoping Contract
Hiring a consultant you’ve never worked with before is a big commitment. You want to be confident you’re getting the right Instructional Designer or Learning Consultant for the job and the best fit for your organization. That’s why I recommend asking your contractor to complete a scoping or small prototyping project first—it’s a great way to test the waters for both parties.
Some recent scoping examples
I’ve had the chance to scope out small, medium and large-scale learning projects, ranging from a few hours of LMS administrator training for a non-profit group, to a company-wide data privacy training strategy for a national airline carrier. One all-employee eLearning program took 10 hours to scope and estimate, based on the amount of existing content available at the time. For a healthcare provider instructor-led coaching program, a few hours of scoping was adequate.
In each situation, prototyping or conducting a trial project was helpful for both me and the client to make more accurate estimates and feel confident about working together on a larger project plan.
What does a learning or training scoping project look like?
Typically, the scoping quotations I offer include the following:
Benefits of scoping projects for organizations
Not sure if your timeline and estimates are realistic or how much your complete project might cost? Engage a learning strategist or instructional design contractor for a few hours to scope it out with (or for) you. It’s easier to secure a small budget for a scoping project or a prototype or draft learning build than for the entire project at once.
Consultants are well-versed at drafting proposals and estimating hours and effort. If you’re struggling with putting this together, or simply want to confirm your estimates with the person who may execute the project, ask the consultant to provide a quote
This not only gives you a chance to see how you and the consultant work together, but it gives both parties a chance to confirm the project plan before diving in.
Benefits of scoping projects for consultants
A trial project allows me to get to know the client and their content. For example, the degree of flexibility and responsiveness about a group can say a lot, and increase the enjoyment of working together too. As much as possible I choose clients that commit to predetermined turnaround times to provide their feedback so that my work isn’t held up.
After I’ve completed a scoping project, it’s often much faster to start on the actual work, because we’ve already confirmed the finer details of the contract language, payment, and communication channels and frequency, so we can just dive in.
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Leah Chang is a learning consultant with 17+ years of experience designing online and classroom learning. In her spare time she goes on self-propelled travel adventures and tries to grow vegetables.