Bespoke or off-the-shelf elearning?
Shaping the future of learning
If you’re looking for a new learning management system, you’ll want one that enables you to deliver the appropriate training to your organisation and to achieve your learning goals.
L&D professionals have the choice between creating a fully customised, bespoke solution or going with a off-the-shelf option. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options available when searching for a new system, so start by having a look at what each solution does and assess which is more suitable for you.
‘Off the shelf’ or pre-built online training courses are made for the mass market; you can buy this professionally developed software straight off the shelf. If you have an existing LMS on which to host such content, then there are several benefits to this type of elearning solution including:
Instant access – most pre-built courses will be developed according to industry standards and will be compatible with your current LMS, meaning there won’t be any delay in deploying it. Rather than having to go through a period of testing, your team can get started on their learning journeys right away.
Reduced cost – off-the-shelf elearning does not cost as much as a bespoke solution; you won’t have to enlist graphic designers or use authoring tools. The hard work has already been done for you so you will save on time and money.
Professional content – you can rest assured that pre-built elearning courses have been devised by experts who use the right techniques to deliver training as well as including up-to-date and relevant information.
Needs less resourcing – if your development team is already stretched then supplementing your content catalogue with pre-configured courses won’t require any extra time or assets, freeing up your in-house staff.
Multiple choice – there are a whole variety of online training packages for each topic, offering different styles of learning, so you can choose which one best suits your organisation, depending on the level of detail you require.
For some businesses, a simple, one-size-fits-all solution might serve exactly the right purpose for your needs. However, their basic functionality can be limiting. They are, after all, closed systems, meaning you won’t be able to add any of your own functionality.
This is why it’s worth assessing how your requirements might change; you don’t want to be tied to an inflexible platform that will cause you problems in the future and maybe even have to re-start from scratch, at great cost. After all, most off-the-shelf programmes lack the functionality to adapt to individual learners.
Create a list of learning objectives and desired outcomes and be clear about who your elearning audience is – if ready-made eLearning courses can’t accommodate your specific requests then it is probably better to develop a custom one.
Though custom-built LMS are more expensive and take longer to create, they should allow you to explore new ideas and expand and develop your platform to keep up with your business goals. They should deliver all of the target features included in a pre-built course plus allow you to craft a bespoke offering. Here are some of the key ways in which bespoke elearning may give you a competitive advantage:
Personalisation – with customized learning, your company can address particular problems and provide users with individual learning paths. You can also use real-world examples and personalised experiences that are specific to your organisation. If the course is designed with your team’s needs in mind then it should boost overall productivity and your bottom line.
Refinement – it’s important to ensure that your elearning content is up to date at all times. Creating the content yourself gives you complete freedom to edit and make changes as well as update it to meet current standards.
On-brand – off-the-shelf elearning is generic and used by many other companies, however, if you create your own content you will be able to include your own branding, tone of voice and design style, making the learning experience uniquely yours.
USP – having your own customised learning content can be a great selling point to new customers, showing that you go the extra mile to engage your learners by offering them a unique experience.
Ongoing engagement – with bespoke learning you can challenge yourself to offer ongoing performance support to your employees that they will be willing and motivated to use after they’ve taken the course.
As you can see, both pre-built and customised elearning courses have benefits; the most important thing is to have a clear sense of what you want to achieve and understand exactly what each option can offer you. No matter what your decision, the eLearning you choose should offer your audience an immersive and effective experience, allowing them to retain the knowledge you are offering and motivating them to improve their performance.
Looking for off-the-shelf content and courses? Read more about Kineo Courses here.
Want to develop a bespoke solution to a bigger challenge? Get in touch.