corporate learning
Date: April 18, 2024

When to Outsource Corporate Learning

In today's ever-evolving business landscape, learning and development are not merely advantageous—they are essential for organizational growth and adaptability, regardless of size or industry. What was once perceived as an optional expense has now become indispensable for companies navigating the profound transformations reshaping our world.

At the heart of this evolution lies the learning function, serving as the nucleus of change amidst technological advancements, evolving learner expectations, and shifting business paradigms. Corporate learning departments find themselves under mounting pressure to deliver increasingly more with often limited budgets. Phrases like 'AI', 'green skills', and 'talent and skills gap' permeate regular discussions, yet many organizations struggle to grasp their implications or know where to begin.

Amidst this backdrop, most Learning and Development (L&D) functions find themselves unequipped to navigate the complexity of this transformative era. To thrive in the face of such change, L&D practitioners must not only keep pace but also radically enhance their effectiveness and efficiency, charting a strategic roadmap for the future. Can your L&D practitioners keep up? What happens if they can’t?

Deciding When to Outsource Corporate Learning: Key Considerations

To keep up with the change, most organizations consider the option of outsourcing some or all of their corporate learning processes. While cost has traditionally been the primary reason for L&D outsourcing, capability, capacity, agility, and value have become equally important drivers for L&D outsourcing partnerships. If you are unsure about outsourcing your L&D processes, here are some key considerations:

Do you have diverse training needs?

Most companies have diverse business units and each of the units has its own unique training needs. Managing the different training requests of each business unit requires the expertise and bandwidth that your in-house L&D teams may not have. In such a scenario, outsourcing your L&D can help you gain access to capability and experience you don’t have and/or can’t afford to build.

Does your L&D team face budget constraints?

If you’re wondering how outsourcing can reduce your costs of training rather than managing in-house, you’re not alone. Outsourcing allows companies to pay for training services as needed, avoiding the overhead costs associated with maintaining a full-time learning team. In our experience, organizations can reduce overall L&D spend from 20% to 50% simply by outsourcing.

Do you have time constraints?

Rolling out learning programs on short notice, especially for critical projects is not easy. Your L&D team may not have the time to get the right resources to get it off the ground. Outsourcing can help you build the content or get the desired resources in no time. Even if you need proprietary training, learning outsourcing companies can meet the specific needs of your company by ramping up your talent.

Do you have a large-scale rollout?

If you are a large-scale global organization, training all the employees globally in a consistent fashion is impossible with an in-house team. Imagine if your company has introduced a new technology, customizing the training program to suit the needs of different roles as well as ensuring a consistent learning experience globally will mean adding extra pressure on your L&D teams. However, this doesn’t mean you have to build armies of people. L&D Outsourcing can help you increase the scale at flexible capacity without the added pressure to hire unique skillsets.

Are your learners’ needs constantly evolving?

Employees today expect learning experiences that keep them engaged, help them learn on demand in the flow of work, and help what they have learned flow to work. Keeping up with the evolving needs of the learners requires constant upgrades in learning techniques which internal L&D teams may not be able to keep pace with. An experienced outsourcing partner can help you improve learner experience from operations to content and delivery.

Corporate learning and development

Corporate Learning and Development: In-House vs. Outsourcing

One of the biggest disadvantages of outsourcing corporate learning and development is losing control in the process. However, with the right learning partner, you can gain more control over key parameters like spend, business alignment, business impact, and overall L&D strategy. 

In-house training allows your team to work directly with instructors in a familiar environment, while outsourcing gives you access to a wide range of experts, making it an efficient and time-saving solution.

With in-house training, you end up spending all or most of your time in managing administrative tasks for learning while outsourcing gives you back your time to focus on key business objectives.

Outsourcing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Exploring the different models and deciding what processes you can completely outsource, those that you can partially outsource, and the ones where you can share responsibility with your L&D outsourcing partner is the best way to approach.

Corporate learning management

The Strategic Benefits of Outsourcing Corporate Learning

Expertise and Specialization:

Outsourcing corporate learning to specialized training providers gives access to a wealth of expertise and experience in instructional design, curriculum development, and training delivery. The learning providers often employ professionals with diverse skill sets and deep knowledge of various industries and learning methodologies.


Outsourcing corporate learning can be more cost-effective for companies, particularly for one-time or specialized training needs. While there may be initial costs associated with hiring external providers, outsourcing eliminates the ongoing expenses of maintaining an in-house learning infrastructure, such as salaries, benefits, training tools, and technology.

Scalability and Flexibility:

Outsourcing corporate learning offers greater scalability and flexibility, allowing companies to quickly adapt to changing business needs, market conditions, or regulatory requirements. External providers can readily adjust the scope, scale, and focus of training programs to align with evolving organizational priorities.

Focus on Core Competencies:

Outsourcing corporate learning enables companies to focus their internal resources and efforts on core business activities, rather than diverting time and energy toward training-related tasks. By entrusting training responsibilities to external providers, organizations can streamline their operations and enhance overall productivity.

Access to Cutting-Edge Technology and Innovations:

External training providers often have access to state-of-the-art technology, tools, and learning platforms that may be prohibitively expensive for individual companies to acquire and maintain. By outsourcing corporate learning, organizations can leverage these technological advancements to deliver engaging, interactive, and impactful training experiences to their employees.

Determining the Scope for L&D Outsourcing

Once you have made the business case for L&D outsourcing, scoping outsourcing opportunities is a vital step in your journey to a successful L&D outsourcing partnership. While determining what to outsource and what to keep in-house can be challenging, a good place to start is by considering what processes you can completely outsource, those that you can partially outsource, and the ones where you can share responsibility with your L&D outsourcing partner.

A general rule of thumb to leverage an external partner is to outsource high-volume processes with low strategic value or those that you may not have the expertise to do in-house. Similarly, you could scope delivery options like onshore, offshore, hybrid, or a phased combination depending on the criticality of the process. Download our infographic to learn about the repeatedly and successfully outsourced L&D processes.

corporate learning solutions

Outsource Your Corporate Learning & Development with NIIT

At NIIT, we know that the decision to find the right outsourcing partner for your L&D function is not an easy one. That’s why we never take your trust for granted. Our goal is to help you:

  • Create an agile and adaptive ecosystem that is future-fit for readiness and responsive to disruption and change.
  • Achieve global scalability without the constraints of fluctuating capacity, skills, and volume.
  • Get access to cutting-edge capabilities and genuine learning expertise with an experienced team of learning professionals.
  • Save and optimize operational costs by moving L&D costs to variable costs as well as increasing efficiency by reducing overheads and removing redundancies.
  • Get the advantage of a true partner with the experience, expertise, and global footprint to meet every challenge your business may throw at you.
  • Get real-time data and insights along with outstanding service levels and results delivered to your business and stakeholders.

Whether you’re looking at a comprehensive or selective corporate L&D outsourcing, NIIT can help you transform your learning ecosystem. Learn more about how we help here.

If you’ve made your choice, talk to our experts.