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How to decide on an E-Learning Platform approach? Decision Management with Fishbein Model explained.

Our company is considering to start an E-Learning platform to sell online certification courses beside our consulting business. We would like to achieve more Customer Engagement, Cross-selling opportunities and passive income ROI from this platform. According to the steps of Fishbein model, could you send us a suggestion if we should program and start it ourselves, engage an 3rd party IT provider to program it or if we should upload courses on platforms like Udemy?



Understanding the Fishbein Model for Decision Management

The Fishbein model (also known as the Theory of Reasoned Action) helps predict behavioral intentions based on attitudes and subjective norms.

  1. Attitudes: Your company's beliefs about the outcomes of each option (build, outsource, Udemy) and how much you value those outcomes.

  2. Subjective Norms: What you perceive others think you should do and how much you care about their opinions.


Applying the Fishbein Model to choose and E-Learning approach

Let's examine the pros and cons of each option through the lens of attitudes and subjective norms:

Option

Attitudes (Pros)

Attitudes (Cons)

Subjective Norms

Build In-House

Complete control over features, branding, customer data. Potential for long-term cost savings.

Requires significant upfront investment, technical expertise, longer development time. Risk of delays.

May be seen as innovative and forward-thinking. Could face skepticism about internal capabilities if not a tech-focused company.

Outsource to 3rd Party

Faster time to market, access to specialized expertise, reduced development risk.

Less control over customization, potential for higher ongoing costs, dependence on external provider.

May be seen as a pragmatic approach. Could raise questions about data security and long-term ownership of the platform.

Upload to Udemy

Extremely fast launch, access to a vast audience, no development costs.

Very limited control over branding and customer experience, high competition, revenue share with Udemy.

May be seen as a quick and easy solution. Could be perceived as lacking commitment to a unique e-learning brand.

Recommendations

Based on the Fishbein model analysis, it seems that outsourcing to a 3rd party IT provider may be the most balanced approach for your company:

  • Strong Attitudes: It offers a relatively fast launch, access to expertise you may not have in-house, and reduces the risks associated with building from scratch.

  • Favorable Subjective Norms: It's likely to be seen as a practical decision, though you'll need to address concerns about data security and platform ownership.


Additional Considerations

  • Customer Engagement: A custom-built or outsourced platform will generally offer more opportunities for engagement through personalized features, community building, and gamification.

  • Cross-Selling: Custom platforms allow you to integrate your consulting services seamlessly, maximizing cross-selling potential.

  • Passive Income ROI: While Udemy offers a fast start, custom or outsourced platforms have the potential for higher long-term ROI due to ownership of customer data and no revenue sharing.


Next Steps

  1. Thoroughly research potential IT providers: Look for those specializing in e-learning platforms and have experience in your industry.

  2. Define your requirements clearly: Outline the features, branding, and integrations you need to achieve your engagement and cross-selling goals.

  3. Get detailed proposals and compare: Factor in not just development costs, but also ongoing maintenance and support fees.


Measure the Outcome Evaluations and Attitude Scores

Outcome Evaluations (Importance)

Based on your stated goals of customer engagement, cross-selling, and passive income ROI, let's assign importance scores (1-10) to each attribute:

Attribute

Importance

Control

8

Time to Market

6

Development Cost

7

Customer Engagement

9

Cross-Selling

9

Passive Income ROI

10

Belief Strengths

Now, let's evaluate how well each option fulfils each attribute (1-10):

Option

Control

Time to Market

Development Cost

Customer Engagement

Cross-Selling

Passive Income ROI

Build In-House

10

3

2

9

10

9

Outsource

7

8

7

8

8

7

Udemy

1

10

10

4

1

3

 

Attitude Scores

Multiplying the belief strength by the outcome evaluation for each attribute and summing the products yields the following attitude scores:

Option

   Score

Build In-House

394

Outsource

405

Udemy

225

Decision E-Learning Platform Fishbein Model - Asia PMO
Decision E-Learning Platform Fishbein Model

Interpretation

Based on this quantitative analysis:

  • Outsource has the highest attitude score, indicating it aligns most closely with your company's priorities and beliefs. The ability to leverage external expertise while maintaining good control and engagement opportunities makes it appealing.

  • Build In-House is a close second. While it offers the most control and potential for high ROI, the concerns about time, cost, and internal expertise weigh against it.

  • Udemy falls significantly behind. It excels in time to market and cost but severely lacks control, engagement features, and cross-selling potential.


Recommendation

Based on the Fishbein model analysis, it seems that outsourcing to a 3rd party IT provider may be the most balanced approach for your company:

  • Strong Attitudes: It offers a relatively fast launch, access to expertise you may not have in-house, and reduces the risks associated with building from scratch.

  • Favorable Subjective Norms: It's likely to be seen as a practical decision, though you'll need to address concerns about data security and platform ownership.


The numerical results solidify the initial recommendation of outsourcing to a 3rd party. However, it's important to remember that this is a simplified model. Consider these additional factors before finalizing your decision:

  • Budget: Can you afford the upfront and ongoing costs of outsourcing?

  • Risk Tolerance: How comfortable are you with relying on an external provider?

  • Long-Term Vision: Do you envision the e-learning platform as a core part of your business, or more of a supplementary offering?


By carefully weighing all these factors, you can confidently choose the path that best suits your company's unique needs and goals.


Measure the expected value for all 3 Scenarios

To calculate the expected value for each scenario, we need to consider the probability of success and failure, as well as the potential financial outcomes.

Assumptions:

  • Success: We'll define success as generating $50,000 in revenue over 5 years.

  • Moderate Success: We'll define moderate success as generating $20,000 in revenue over 5 years.

  • Failure: Failure means the platform generates no revenue and incurs a loss of $20,000 over 5 years due to development and maintenance costs.

Let's estimate the probabilities of each outcome for each scenario:

Scenario

Probability of Success

Probability of Moderate Success

Probability of Failure

Build In-House

0.6

0.2

0.2

Outsource

0.7

0.2

0.1

Udemy

0.4

0.3

0.3

Now, we can calculate the expected value for each scenario using the following formula:

Expected Value = (Probability of Success  Value of Success) + (Probability of Moderate Success  Value of Moderate Success) + (Probability of Failure * Value of Failure)


Calculations:

  • Build In-House: (0.6  $50,000) + (0.2  $20,000) + (0.2 * -$20,000) = $26,000

  • Outsource: (0.7  $50,000) + (0.2  $20,000) + (0.1 * -$20,000) = $33,000

  • Udemy: (0.4  $50,000) + (0.3  $20,000) + (0.3 * -$20,000) = $14,000


Conclusion:

Based on these estimated probabilities and financial outcomes, the expected values for each scenario are:

  • Build In-House: $26,000

  • Outsource: $33,000

  • Udemy: $14,000


Interpretation:

Outsourcing to a 3rd party IT provider appears to have the highest expected value, followed by building in-house and then using Udemy. However, it's important to remember that these are just estimates. The actual outcomes could vary depending on various factors like market conditions, your execution, and the quality of the chosen provider (if you outsource).

It's crucial to weigh these expected values against other factors like your risk tolerance, desire for control, and in-house capabilities before making a final decision.


Action Plan to implement the Recommendation


Phase 1: Planning and Preparation (Weeks 1-4)

  1. Define Project Scope and Requirements:

  • Clearly outline your platform's goals, target audience, desired features (both MVP and future enhancements), and any integrations with existing systems.

  • Create a detailed project scope document that serves as a reference for potential providers.

  1. Set Budget and Timeline:

  • Determine a realistic budget for development, implementation, and ongoing maintenance.

  • Establish a timeline with milestones for key deliverables to ensure the project stays on track.

  1. Identify Potential Providers:

  • Research and compile a list of reputable IT providers specializing in e-learning platform development.

  • Look for companies with experience in your industry or similar projects.

  • Consider factors like their portfolio, client testimonials, expertise, and communication style.

  1. Create a Request for Proposal (RFP):

  • Draft a comprehensive RFP that outlines your project scope, requirements, budget, timeline, and evaluation criteria.

  • Include questions about their technical expertise, experience, project management approach, and pricing structure.


Phase 2: Provider Selection (Weeks 5-8)

  1. Distribute RFP and Collect Proposals:

  • Send your RFP to shortlisted providers and request detailed proposals.

  • Review the proposals carefully, comparing their approach, pricing, timelines, and proposed solutions.

  1. Conduct Interviews and Demos:

  • Shortlist a few promising providers and conduct interviews to assess their communication, understanding of your requirements, and overall fit.

  • Request demos of their previous work to evaluate their technical capabilities and design skills.

  1. Check References:

  • Contact the providers' references to verify their track record, experience, and professionalism.

  • Ask about their project management style, communication, responsiveness, and ability to meet deadlines.

  1. Choose the Right Provider:

  • Select the provider that best aligns with your project goals, budget, timeline, and values.

  • Consider factors like their technical expertise, experience, communication, transparency, and cultural fit.


Phase 3: Project Initiation and Development (Weeks 9-24)

  1. Sign the Contract:

  • Finalize and sign a detailed contract that outlines project scope, deliverables, timelines, payment terms, ownership of intellectual property, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

  1. Establish Communication Channels:

  • Set up regular meetings and communication channels (email, project management tools) to ensure smooth collaboration and progress tracking.

  1. Collaborate on Design and Development:

  • Provide feedback on design concepts, wireframes, and prototypes.

  • Actively participate in the development process, reviewing progress, providing feedback, and testing the platform.

  1. Ensure Quality Assurance (QA):

  • Conduct thorough testing throughout the development process to identify and resolve any bugs or issues.

  • Involve your team in testing to ensure the platform meets your expectations and requirements.


Phase 4: Deployment and Launch (Weeks 25-28)

  1. Prepare for Launch:

  • Finalize the platform's content, ensure all features are working seamlessly, and prepare marketing materials.

  • Plan your launch strategy, including announcements, promotional activities, and customer onboarding.

  1. Go Live:

  • Deploy the platform to a production environment and ensure it's accessible to your target audience.

  • Monitor performance closely during the initial launch phase and address any technical issues promptly.

  1. Gather Feedback and Iterate:

  • Collect feedback from users to identify areas for improvement and enhancement.

  • Work with the provider to implement necessary changes and updates to optimize the platform's performance and user experience.


Phase 5: Ongoing Maintenance and Support (Ongoing)

  1. Establish a Support Agreement:

  • Define the scope of ongoing support, including bug fixes, updates, security patches, and feature enhancements.

  • Agree on response times and escalation procedures for any issues that arise.

  1. Regularly Review Performance:

  • Monitor the platform's performance, user engagement, and course completion rates.

  • Use analytics to gain insights into user behavior and identify opportunities for improvement.

  1. Maintain a Strong Relationship:

  • Keep communication channels open with the provider and foster a collaborative relationship.

  • Regularly review the contract terms and renegotiate as needed to ensure ongoing alignment with your business goals.


By following this action plan and maintaining open communication with your chosen provider, you can successfully outsource your e-learning platform development and launch a high-quality, engaging platform that meets your business needs.

 

 

Alternative solution for prioritizing in-house development over cost concerns


Revised Outcome Evaluations

Given your emphasis on building in-house and reduced concern about development costs, let's update the importance scores:

Attribute

Importance

Control

10

Time to Market

6

Development Cost

4

Customer Engagement

9

Cross-Selling

9

Passive Income ROI

10

Attitude Scores (Recalculated)

Using the revised importance scores and the same belief strengths as before, we recalculate the attitude scores:

Option

Attitude Score

Build In-House

466

Outsource

374

Udemy

214

Interpretation (Revised)

With the change in priorities, the landscape shifts significantly:

  • Build In-House now emerges as the clear leader, driven by your high value placed on control and the reduced emphasis on development costs.

  • Outsource falls to second place, as the benefit of cost-effectiveness diminishes in importance.

  • Udemy remains the least favorable option, as its strengths don't align with your revised priorities.


Revised Recommendation

Based on this adjusted model, building the e-learning platform in-house becomes the more compelling choice. It aligns best with your desire for complete control and long-term ownership, even if it might require a larger upfront investment.


Caveats and Considerations

While the numbers now favor in-house development, it's crucial to acknowledge the potential challenges:

  • Technical Expertise: Do you have the necessary skills and resources in-house to build a robust platform? If not, you may need to invest in hiring or training.

  • Time to Market: In-house development can take longer than outsourcing, potentially delaying your revenue generation.

  • Risk Management: Are you prepared to manage the risks associated with building a complex platform from scratch?


If you're confident in your ability to address these challenges, then proceeding with in-house development is a viable and potentially rewarding path. However, if any of these concerns raise red flags, revisiting the outsourcing option or even exploring a hybrid approach (e.g., building core features in-house and outsourcing others) might be worth considering.

Ultimately, the best decision depends on a thorough assessment of your company's unique capabilities, resources, and risk tolerance.


If you would like to develop and implement a great E-Learning or online learning experience at your organization feel free to contact us here or on transform@asiapmo.com


This blog was written by Carsten Ley, Entrepreneur, Enabler & Project Lead in Customer Experience, Project & Business Transformation leading large scale project implementations in Retail, E-commerce, Banking, Consulting & Experience Management for companies like Deloitte Germany, VW Mexico, Rolls-Royce UK, Lazada Vietnam and H&M South East Asia. He founded 2018 Asia PMO, a consulting firm focussing on getting clients fast and efficient into implementation of company objectives, customer & employee experience improvements to foster a result- and team-oriented environment.



 

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