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Custom vs Off-The-Shelf eLearning Courses: Navigating the Best Fit for Corporate Training

Professional writing notes beside a laptop, planning customized eLearning content for corporate training programs.
Crafting tailored eLearning solutions: Where expertise meets innovation in corporate training.

The landscape of corporate employee development and training has undergone a significant transformation. Traditional, uninspiring classroom-based training models are being replaced by dynamic and interactive eLearning solutions, offering a more engaging and personalized learning experience through custom eLearning content creation.

With the surge in demand for digital learning solutions, Learning and Development (L&D) managers often find themselves at a crossroads, choosing between bespoke content tailored specifically for their organization or generic, off-the-shelf training content. This choice is far from straightforward, given the complexities involved in weighing the pros and cons of each option.

The key to making an informed decision lies in focusing on eLearning content that effectively and efficiently meets your organization's unique learning objectives. Consider the following critical factors in your decision-making process:

  • Cost implications

  • Effort and resources required

  • Level of tool proficiency needed

  • Depth of subject matter expertise

  • Accessibility of content

In this blog, we'll explore the advantages and disadvantages of both bespoke and off-the-shelf eLearning content options, guiding you towards making the optimal choice for your business needs.

Off-The-Shelf Training Courses: Pros and Cons


  • Convenience for foundational training: Off-the-shelf training is an ideal solution for essential skills training, like Microsoft Office, soft skills, and cybersecurity, offering a broad selection of topics and saving time for other strategic activities.

  • Cost-effectiveness: Generally, off-the-shelf content is more budget-friendly, reducing the need for a dedicated internal L&D team or external vendors for content creation.

  • Expertly designed: Created by industry professionals, ensuring quality and relevance.

  • Immediate deployment: With on-demand access, learners can start their training right away, easily integrating with existing Learning Management Systems (LMS).

  • Included support: Off-the-shelf courses come with support options, often extendable through maintenance contracts, alongside self-help via online user communities.


  • Generic content: May not fully meet specific training needs, containing irrelevant topics or lacking depth.

  • Limited customization: Little to no flexibility for tailoring content to fit precise organizational requirements, potentially leading to lower content engagement and retention.

Custom Content: Tailoring Learning to Your Needs


  • Control over content: Allows for customization to align with specific learning objectives and branding, enhancing relevance and engagement.

  • Addresses unique challenges: Tailored to tackle specific organizational issues, improving effectiveness and outcomes.

  • Ownership of content: Full licensing rights, avoiding long-term management issues associated with generic content.

  • Technical and specialized: Can cater to high-level technical skills and knowledge beyond basic employee training.

  • Performance improvement: Targets specific employee performance gaps, offering a direct path to enhancing capabilities.

  • Enhanced ROI: Focused training increases learner engagement and retention, maximizing training investment returns.


  • Higher costs: Customization comes at a premium, potentially stretching beyond allocated budgets.

  • Longer development time: Tailored courses require more time for development, impacting immediate training initiatives.

Choosing the Right eLearning Content for Your Organization

The choice between off-the-shelf and custom eLearning content depends on several factors, including budget constraints, specific training needs, and organizational size. Off-the-shelf solutions offer a quick and cost-effective way to address general training needs, especially for smaller organizations or for compliance-related topics. However, larger organizations or those with unique training requirements might find more value in custom solutions, which allow for a more tailored approach to learning, branding integration, and addressing specific organizational challenges.

Ultimately, selecting the right type of eLearning content hinges on understanding your organization's unique needs and goals. Opting for a flexible LMS will provide you with the freedom to choose the most suitable content type, ensuring your training initiatives are both effective and aligned with your strategic objectives.

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