Customized or Off the shelf courses eLearning courses?
The choice is not that difficult if you have clarity about the performance goal and the learning goals of your employees.
However, there are many factors which actually guides us to the decision.
In this article particularly, we will not talk about all those factors that influences your decision but one of those factors certainly.
We will start with a very basic decision-making parameter while buying any product and that is it’s advantages. But before we talk about the advantages perhaps it would be beneficial to point out it’s features and the advantage it provides.
Let’s get started
- Scalability: Off the shelf courses usually come in bundle. This means you will have a group of courses for a particular topic. Considering the huge range of topics that most eLearning companies offer, if you are investing in off the shelf courses you will be able to cover a huge set of employees at one go. Off the shelf courses usually covers generic topics which are not limited to a certain geography or language or a certain working condition and therefore it has a larger audience appeal.
- The attention getter: If you are launching eLearning for the first time in your organization. Off the shelf courses can really change the way people look at learning and development in your organization. It helps you create a unique identity as a team that is invested in employee development. In our experience of interacting with clients across industries we have noticed this is a trend. Launching a training program vs. Launching a learning library for all – appeals to the active learners tremendously as they know – learning is just a few clicks away.
- Flexibility: Dedicated learning hours for a particular skill or competency development cannot be ignored but sometimes the pressure of performance tends to take over. Under these circumstances pushing employees to invest in learning and development may seem really unfair for you and a burden for the employees. Having an eLearning library of quality off the shelf eLearning courses ensure that people learn the way and at the time they want to without having to compromise with their productive hours. We know a lot of us would prefer that.
- Adaptability: The off the shelf eLearning courses come in duration that are easy for the learners to follow. The duration of these courses can range from 10 minutes to about 45 minutes. They are designed for self-paced learning which means that learners can learner start, stop and continue anytime they want. In fact it can be designed for more than one attempts as well. This allows a learner to revisit the learning anytime they want to. So, the off the shelf courses are adapted to current learning style of the learners.
- Accessibility: Off the shelf courses generally do not have a shelf life in the LMS. A lot of eLearning content service providers are offering courses for lifetime, which means there is no subscription fee to it. As an employee one can avail the course as long as the course is available in the LMS. Because the whole point of having an eLearning off the shelf course library is to ensure that employees have a learning platform always.
- A learning environment: It has been statistically proved that successful organization invest in employee learning and development continuously and consistently. Having an eLearning library of off the shelf courses help you set up the learning and development culture in your organization.
- Forecasting learning and people development: The trend of use of the off the shelf courses can help you understand a lot about your people. You will be able to spot their interest areas and focus areas. Of course, you will have to take into consideration a lot of other coordinates but it will definitely give you an indicative idea about the approach that will best suit your employees
- A time saver: Creating an eLearning course may seem easy but it isn’t easy especially when even today a lot of us mistake it for video learning. It required skilled team who can storyboard, who can design and who has technical capabilities. There are many organization who have their internal team who does it but not all organizations want to take that approach and that is where off the shelf courses come handy because the basics of employee skill development are generally covered in any off the shelf course offering.
- Cost effective solution: Keeping a skilled team has a certain cost to it as well and not all organization want to perhaps that kind of money immediately but at the same time, they do want to encourage digital self-paced learning and once again this is off the shelf courses comes as a saviour.
- Getting learners ready: Off the shelf eLearning courses are great for general sensitization towards a certain topic. With the market getting competitive eLearning companies are becoming conscious about the quality of content too. This creates a win-win situation for the companies who benefit from long term association due to high delivery standards, for learning administrators as it not only helps them drive the learning hours but also learner effectiveness and of course the learners who find greater value in learning things on their own but in an interactive way in spite of the platform being digital. Once they have a basic understanding of a particular skill, the learning process can be expedited by more focused interventions in future
So well, the benefits are many when we it comes to off the shelf course.
But in spite of the larger number of benefits, the question on quality, course availability, course upgradation, course relevance etc will always be there.
The good news is that you can validate the courses, ask for demos and check any learning partners credibility before investing in off the shelf courses.
If you do not want to invest big money in it, negotiate for smaller packages.
And finally, if it still doesn’t appeal you can customize the off the shelf course or partner with experts to build a course from scratch.