An issue that frequently comes up with Learning Revolution subscribers as well as with clients in my consulting business: where to find help creating online courses.
It’s an important because one of the main reasons course entrepreneurs get bogged down and don’t achieve the success the could is because they just don’t have the time themselves to create courses.
And, even if they have staff or contract help, these often aren’t people who have the skills necessary for developing online courses.
So, what to do?
You can, of course, try posting contract jobs on big sites like LinkedIn. Or on more niche sites like the eLearning Guild, but my experience is that you are likely to get flooded with resumes from either over-qualified or under-qualified people, many of whom really want a permanent position.
While there is no magic button for finding the right help – finding good contractors or employees is always a challenge – here are some other possibilities that will increase your chances of finding the right fit at a reasonable price.
This is my first stop for pretty much any type of contract work, and there are plenty of individual freelancers and companies there who can develop courses. You’ll need to create a free account, and then use the “Find Freelancers” search to look for help. Use words like “elearning,” “course,” and “instructional” to see the search phrases that Upwork suggests.
You can easily save the profiles of contractors who look promising and then, if you decide to post a job, invite only that group of contractors to bid. Alternatively, you can just post your job, see who bids, and then filter down to the best choice. Again, this filtering process is quite easy in Upwork.
Some of the things I love about Upwork are that you get to see ratings and earning for all of the contractors and Upwork handles all of the communication with the contractor – including time tracking for hourly work – and payment. Basically, they have done a great job of upping the odds that you will find someone good and won’t have any fishy business when it comes to payment.
I’ll also note that while you will usually end up contracting with someone remotely on Upwork (possibly even on the other side of the world), there is also an option to narrow your candidates geographically, so you could potentially find someone in your local area, if you really want to be able to deal with a contractor face-to-face. For example, person who did the Web development for Learning Revolution – who I hired through Upwork – lives only about 20 miles from me.
Finally, Upwork happens to be my favorite source for finding freelancers, but it is certainly not the only game in town. You may also want to look at:
This is the community part of Articulate (makers of widely-used course development tools like Storyline). You’ll need to create a free account to access the discussion boards there. While there is not an official job board, it is very common for people to post about needing development help. People in the community can often recommend someone based on your needs or a good contractor may respond to your post. Also – eLearning Heroes aside – if you aren’t already taking advantage of the wealth of resources on the Articulate site, you need to get over there today!
In case you aren’t familiar with them, the Association for Talent Development, or ATD, is the big association for people in the training industry. You can post jobs on the national organization’s Web site, but what I think is probably more effective for your average course entrepreneur is to find out if you have a local chapter near you. You may be able to post a job on the chapter Web site, call them to ask for potential contractor names, or simply show up at a meeting and ask around.
ATD does have some international chapters and partners, so if you live outside of the U.S., you may want to check those out to see if they have any potential.
Local colleges and universities
If you have a college, university, or technical school anywhere near you, check to see if they have programs in education, information technology, media production, library science, or similar areas. Then figure out of there is a student employment office or some similar department that connects students with part-time and contract opportunities. In most cases, you don’t need someone who has completed a degree in instructional design or some similar education specialty, you just need someone with a good head on their shoulders and who is comfortable with Web technologies and multimedia.
I’ll admit I know the least about this one. It’s a bit of a wildcard until I find out more, but I think it has potential – and, besides, it looks well worth spreading the word about. Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development. The organization now has chapters in 56 cities across the U.S. and while the program does not focus on course development, it seems logical that this is a group of women who could likely wrap their heads around online course creation.
A while back, course platform maker Thinkific started an expert market place to connect course entrepreneurs with people who could help them with all aspects of their course business. I’m not sure the effort has gotten much love since it started, but there are a number of people listed there who can provide course development help (using any tools – not just Thinkific). There are also a number of people who can help you with effectively marketing and selling your courses.
So, those are half a dozen options. I’ll note, too, that many of these apply as well for classroom-based courses and seminars as for online.
Now, I’d love to hear from you: have you had success (or not!) with any of the options above? Where have you been able to find help with creating online courses? Are you a course developer who can offer help creating online courses? Please comment and share.