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Contracted or In-House Development


Once planning for the distributed learning (DL) project has been completed, the next step is to determine which development option will work best for your organization. There are a number of considerations when planning either an in-house development project or a contracted effort. There are steps in each phase that need to be considered and they are discussed or linked to on this page. Once you have made your decision you can follow the correct path for Contracted or In-House.


The CAPDL (Combined Arms Products for Distributed Learning) contract is offered for use by proponent Centers and Schools for contracted development of Training and Education (T&E) products.

The process for contracted development begins with nomination and prioritization of the work and continues with the development of the Performance Work Statement (PWS).

The PWS establishes contractor performance criteria and deliverable requirements for the development of DL courseware under the CAPDL contract vehicle. These criteria and deliverable requirements also apply to sole-source contractors.

Schools use the guidelines to provide variable data that identifies the school, specific development requirements, technical requirements, unique design specifications, and GFI/GFM, when applicable.

The TCM TADLP Integrated Product Team (IPT) will assist in tailoring the PWS to meet other specific or unique development requirements, as needed.

Under the CAPDL, the contractor provides personnel, material, equipment, facilities, and services, except as specified to be furnished by the Government, necessary to fulfill the requirements.

If contracted development is your choice, then you must nominate your content for consideration. To better prepare for Nomination, see-
Before Nomination

In-House Development

A working definition of “in-house development” is the combined capacity of an organization’s personnel, skill sets, training, software tools, facilities, equipment, and other resources leveraged in order to rapidly design, develop, and deploy Army DL products to key stakeholders.

Why In-House Development?

In order to develop and maintain an in-house development effort, training and education managers must understand the scope of this undertaking and answer a basic question of why they are pursuing this path. The first decision points for in-house development should involve a reasonable examination of the goals and objectives of such a move.

The proponent school that chooses in-house development should be mindful that ALL aspects of the TRADOC 350-70 regulation still apply, and now, may become the responsibility of local DL operational staff rather than contracting staff.

Content Compliance and Configuration

Content developed in house is required to meet compliance and configuration standards provided below.

For more information regarding in-house development please visit:
In-House Development.

Some Factors Involved When Considering Development Options
In-House Development Contracted Development

You are in direct control

Your staff will enhance their skills

Development over several DL projects should be cheaper

You know the unit/agency culture

The tools are better and easier to use

Likely to produce DL products faster

New federal rules on out-sourcing (OMB  A-76)

Fewer copyright problems should arise

A fixed term commitment

No resources to re-allocate after the project

Expertise already available in project management, course design, and so on

More aware of recent industry developments

Not influenced by internal politics

May be more credible than internal DL developers

Access to the latest specialized software

Current DL financial model supports this method

Source: Lewis, R., & Whitlock, Q. (2003). Managing the e-learning development team. How to Plan and Manage an E-Learning Programme (pp. 147-158). Retrieved from

The table above is excerpted from the TADLP “Practical Considerations for In-House Development of Distributed Learning and Mobile Learning” paper. Download the paper or visit the in house development page for more information.

Page Last Updated: 10/29/2015 11:00:26 AM