E-learning represents the future of corporate training. Online courses come in all forms to accommodate various topics relating to specific job roles.

Adopting e-learning in the workplace is a great way to streamline training practices. But how do you know which type of e-learning content is right for your business?

Unsure whether to choose an off-the-shelf course or a bespoke e-learning solution, this article will help clarify.

Custom vs off-the-shelf e-learning content

Off-the-shelf e-learning is a generic training solution that is purchased and ready to go, straight out of the box. In most cases, off-the-shelf training companies require little to no input from the organisations purchasing their material. Some e-learning companies offer minor customisation options, like the addition of logos and other branding material.

Custom E-Learning

Bespoke e-learning content is typically created entirely from scratch. Custom e-learning companies work closely with clients to develop a unique training solution tailored to their specific needs. E-learning type that is custom is designed around your brand and your organisation.

When to use off-the-shelf training material?

Off-the-shelf content is not as exciting, but there are some instances in which ready-made training is a better option. E-learning content is well-suited to training outcomes that are the same across all industries, for example.

  • Health and safety
  • Anti-bullying
  • Cultural awareness
  • Data protection

There are still always plenty of opportunities to enhance the learning and interaction of the generic type.

It may also make more sense to purchase an industry-specific off-the-shelf course if such solutions are available. It tends to be the case with highly regulated industries, like pharmaceuticals, where the “rules” are the same.

The main advantage to using off-the-shelf content is that it is invariably faster to roll out than tailor-made training material. If it does everything you need it to do, why pay more?

When to use a tailor-made course?

Tailor-made content is either built from scratch or heavily customised. Unsurprisingly, custom-built courses generally require a larger initial investment than off-the-shelf content. However, this is often a smarter investment as you will own the resulting content forever.

As your organisation evolves, you will only have to pay for updates to your training instead of purchasing an entirely new course.

Bespoke e-learning content development is right for your business if one or more of the following apply:

    • You have training outcomes that are unique to your organisation (e.g. products and procedures.)
    • You have a strong brand identity that you wish to promote in your training material
    • Your training outcomes are complex
    • You want your e-learning material to be as engaging as possible

It’s worth knowing that feedback provided via custom e-learning content is usually far superior to that offered with off-the-shelf material. If you want to give your learners the best training experience possible, custom e-learning is undoubtedly the way forward.

Though custom-built courses tend to be more expensive than off-the-shelf options, they do not have to break the bank. Why not talk to the RealFruit team to get a free project estimate?


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