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USA, Austin

Yevhen Piotrovskyi
CTO, Co-Founder
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04 September 2020
8 min to read

Tips On Writing A Killer RFP For eLearning Projects

Yevhen Piotrovskyi
CTO and Founder at Yojji | Web and Mobile Development

Do you want to launch an eLearning project? To make that happen, you will need to look for and hire a vendor who will be well-versed in the eLearning software development. One of the best and most fruitful ways to do that is to create an eLearning development RFP (Request for Proposal). A thought-through and clear RFP for eLearning will provide you with the key information about potential vendors so that you could make an informed decision and pick the most fitting option.

eLearning in a Nutshell

The digital world couldn't pass by one of the most important industries for humans - education. While the old-school offline learning methods aren't going anywhere, the advanced approaches of education that allow people to receive knowledge without the need of leaving their houses are getting more and more sought-after. They are particularly demanded in such uncertain times as now when Covid-19 has made people look for safe ways of working, communicating, and studying. eLearning is a lifeboat in times like this.

So, what is eLearning in the first place?

The notion combines two words "electronic" and "learning". As you may have guessed from the name, this is the process of learning by the means of using various electronic technologies. It can be an educational course, program, or degree available for students online replacing a traditional classroom form.

It goes without saying that eLearning project development requires software developers and designers to have a certain base of knowledge in this field. Thus, before choosing a vendor for developing your eLearning app or program, it is advisable to create a good informative eLearning RFP. Which leads us straight to the next point.

What Is an RFP for eLearning?

An RFP (request for proposal) is a notion used to define an official business document that describes a project and gives details on its requirements, budget, and timeline. The document also inquires proposals from vendors who are interested in completing a project. From the eLearning perspective, the purpose of an RFP is pretty much the same. The document specifies the approximate scope of the eLearning project, materials, budget, and deadlines for implementing and launching a project. It also contains the response format for vendors.

The 5 WH-Questions of a Good eLearning RFP

Those of you who are familiar with writing press releases know that a good one always gives answers to 5 (well 6, to be honest) WH-questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. With a good eLearning RFP, things are no different. The document you are writing should provide answers to the following questions:

  • Who is the end-user of an eLearning project you want to create?
  • What are the goals of an eLearning project and your business? What services do you need?
  • Where do you want this project to be applied?
  • When are you planning to launch a project?
  • Why do you think your project is important?
  • How would you prefer vendors to accomplish your project?

Of course, there might be other crucial questions apart from the ones we have listed here. Nevertheless, if you give answers to at least these questions, you are halfway to success in writing an effective eLearning proposal document.

Is It Necessary to Write an RFP for eLearning Projects?

The truth is, there’s no need in creating a request for a proposal for every single eLearning project. Still, if the vendor selection process is a hard nut to crack or if the project presents a big value, you should definitely consider the RFP way of hiring vendors. This approach takes a great deal of time as well as effort for potential candidates to write a response to your RFP, so it goes without saying that your project has to be worth their upfront input. If an eLearning RFP is written correctly, it will give web development service providers all the essential project details so that they would write an accurate proposal. On top of that, an appropriately-written eLearning project request for proposal is going to grab the attention of a bigger number of vendors, proving you with more proposals to compare. So, saying that an eLearning RFP is a must would be a lie, but this document can definitely work to your advantage.

The Approximate eLearning RFP Structure

Before you even start typing “RFP” in your Word document, do some homework.

  • Conduct thorough research on the scope and needs of your custom eLearning development.
  • Think of the timeline you would like to have your eLearning project done by vendors.
  • Determine an approximate budget you are ready to spend on a project.

These three tasks will get you started and ease the further work as well. There are quite a few eLearning RFP templates on the web: they might differ slightly, but, in general, all of them consist of the following sections:

Side Note! The sections may go in a different sequence from the one we have here.

Your company description

You may like to start by describing your business and the industry you work in. This section doesn’t have to be a long read. Keep the information interesting and relevant. Also, this section is a great way to sell yourself and persuade potential vendors to reply to your RFP.

The project overview and goals

Being the heart and soul of the eLearning RFP, this section provides a complete overview of your eLearning project and why your organization wants to have it done. You should include all crucial project-related information such as the size and goals of the course, its length, the level of eLearning content, etc. Again, you don’t write a 2-page essay but just briefly describe the main points. Consider mentioning your budget and timeline in this section.

The description of your target audience

Yes, you got that right, you need to think who will be interested in your eLearning project and describe these groups of people including information about their age, gender, work environment, location and language they speak, typical education background, etc. Think of the motivational factors which will make these people interested in buying or signing up for your product. What problem does your eLearning project solve or what gap does it fill?

Available materials and content

Provide vendors with information on what content and materials are available for them as a part of the RFP process. Does content come in a written or recorded format? Will it be created or/and updated later? Also, let contractors know whether or not they will be able to use the content and materials and how.

Scope of work, specifications, and deliverables

Since the scope of work directly influences the estimates of the costs of the project, you will want to describe it as accurate with this section as it is possible. Map out a project plan and share it with vendors. Think of the deliverables you can provide. Will it be a course design document or the storyboards? Do you have templates or prototypes? As well as that, you need to allow a great deal of time to list all technical requirements for your eLearning project including the kind of platform to present your course, the name of industry-standard your eLearning product has to correspond to, etc. Describe the pages and their functionality.

Deadlines and budget

First things first, you have to be honest here. Make estimates and write a price you can pay for vendors’ services. This will save you and your potential vendor a lot of time because those who are over your budget just won’t send you a proposal.

As for the timelines, you need to be specific as well. Make sure you have included the date your RFP was issued and the date(s) vendors have to send out their responses. Also, create a schedule of work. Write down the desirable dates you expect the project to be started and the dates you want it to be ready.

The proposal format submission

If you have standardized the format of the proposal submission, include it in your eLearning RFP. What kind of information do you expect vendors to provide you with? Should they attach their portfolio? This section is actually super important because, in this way, it will be easier for you to compare vendors and make a decision.

Contact info

Last but not least, share your contact information so that vendors could reach out to you with their proposals. Always give two or more options for contacting your organization: email, phone number, website, etc.

Here’s an eLearning RFP template available for free download

Remember vendors spend quite a bit of time when they are invited to submit a proposal in response to an RFP. It is always helpful to point out the main areas of an RFP that vendors can focus on. Of course, these areas should be created in the best possible way because it will help vendors to provide the best quality responses. By following our guide and getting acquainted with the template, you can craft a good quality and attention-grabbing RFP for eLearning projects. Want to know the best part? You already have an experienced eLearning development vendor on the horizon. The Yojji team has made a few successful eLearning projects and is ready to help you out as well. Contact us to learn more about this.

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NL, Amsterdam

Ildar Kulmuhametov
CEO, Co-Founder

USA, Austin

Yevhen Piotrovskyi
CTO, Co-Founder