There has been a paradigm shift in how companies handle employee development and training. The traditional and dull classroom approaches have given way to the new and current ways of eLearning, which are now utilised to provide a more conducive learning environment with custom elearning content production.
Due to the rising demand for online learning courses, Learning and Development managers are frequently presented with a quandary. They have two options: original content created specifically for their company or off-the-shelf training content. Making a decision may not be as simple as it appears, especially if the benefits and drawbacks of each form of learning content are not clear.
Your primary focus should be on creating or procuring elearning content that will efficiently and successfully fulfil your company’s specific learning objectives. Consider the following factors when you make your decision:
- Effort level
- Tool skill level
- Subject matter expertise
- Content accessibility
In this blog post, you’ll learn about the benefits and drawbacks of each content option to help you make the right decision for your business.
Off-the-shelf training is a ‘straight out of the box’ solution that provides easy, on-demand training activities provided by industry professionals. Off-the-shelf content represents pre-made courses and eLearning resources that are immediately available for sale and use by your teams and employees. This course content is pre-formatted and includes general training and information for each topic. For convenient training and sharing, off-the-shelf learning content can be purchased as a single product, in bundled packages, or as subscriptions.
What Are The Advantages Of Off-The-Shelf Training Content?
- Practical alternative for foundational training – For firms wishing to train their staff on core topics such as Microsoft Office, interpersonal skills, and cybersecurity, off-the-shelf training is a convenient option. Choose from a variety of topics from a content library, freeing up time for other value-added activities.
- Off-the-shelf material is typically less expensive than custom content – Off-the-shelf content is considered a cost-effective choice that demands less out of your budget upfront. Organisations that use off-the-shelf training don’t have to worry about hiring an internal L&D team or a vendor to build the program or investing in course writing tools.
- Designed by industry professionals – Organisations that purchase off-the-shelf material receive access to courses created by subject-matter experts (SMEs). For example, a vendor may specialise in off-the-shelf leadership training courses, allowing firms to be confident that the courses are correct and up to date on the most relevant learning principles.
- On-demand access that is immediately deployable – Learners can access their training immediately after receiving off-the-shelf training and integrating it with an organisation’s existing learning management system (LMS).
- Support is included in off-the-shelf courses and can potentially be added as part of a maintenance contract. Self-help support is also provided through online communities of users in various forums.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Off-The-Shelf Training Content?
- Off-the-shelf content may not suit all of your individual training and staff learning requirements.
- Topics may be overly generic or lack information.
- Topics that may be irrelevant – Because it is more general in nature, certain topics that are unrelated may be included, which may be a waste of time.
- There are little to no customisation and modification possibilities to fit the information to your specific needs. There may be a number of superfluous characteristics that complicate what should have been a simple task. Requests for specific features are unlikely to be heard, and future additions may be irrelevant to your business.
- Because the content is not tailored to your specific industry, retention may be low.
Custom content is an umbrella phrase for any eLearning content that has been generated and changed specifically for your company’s needs. In this scenario, it is generally considered an outsourced unique content for individualised learning and training. Custom content development or customised courses allow for the adaptation, addition, deletion, or modification of any course outline material to better match the needs of an organisation.
What Are The Advantages Of Custom Content?
- More control over content and context – With specific learning objectives and a well-defined framework, organisational leaders may exert control over both the content and the context in which it is provided. You can design your material to your organisation and promote your brand through personalised courses by using customised concept images, colours, and a corporate logo.
- Addresses specific issues unique to your organisation – Custom training content is tailored to your organisation’s specific challenges (for example, reducing workers’ compensation claims, increasing efficiencies, and so on).
- When you commission custom content, you often own the entire licence. You can avoid the long-term content management that comes with off-the-shelf content this way.
- Custom material can be highly technical and demand skills beyond that of the employees.
- A quick way to close performance discrepancies – Custom training content enables firms to identify their employees’ difficulties and generate content tailored to their individual requirements, effectively enhancing employee performance.
- Increases ROI by increasing information retention – Custom content can help build focused training that will interest learners and maximise an organisation’s training ROI.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Custom Content?
- Custom content is costly and may not be within your content budget.
- Turnaround time is longer because each course must be authored and designed according to your standards. This diminishes immediate efficiency and necessitates additional resources and effort.
How To Choose The Right Type Of eLearning Content
When it comes to LMS material, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Custom and off-the-shelf e-learning content is used by organisations of all sizes and across all industries. Each firm has unique learning and training objectives that must be examined before deciding on off-the-shelf, or custom content. Pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and life sciences may find value in certain off-the-shelf courses to ensure that they are receiving the exact information they require from SMEs who have already created a course, and retailers frequently use off-the-shelf health and safety training for their shop floor staff.
Off-the-shelf instructional content may be your best bet if you’re seeking for general or regulation and compliance-related educational information. This form of eLearning content provides a variety of pre-made courses that can provide much-needed training (e.g. sexual harassment, diversity or security training or soft skills such as cultural awareness).
Off-the-shelf e-learning may be more cost-effective for smaller organisations unless they can generate bespoke content in-house, but larger organisations with higher training budgets may choose custom solutions because they can be tailored more closely to their needs.
However, it is ultimately up to the unique organisation to determine which is best for them, thus choosing a flexible LMS is critical to giving you the most freedom to select.
Custom e-learning content is likely to be the best answer if you have a specialised approach to a topic, training concentrating on your own products, onboarding about your organisation and how it runs, or the requirement for considerable branding and customisations to the look and feel.