Very often, I am asked why organizations should opt for custom eLearning development when they can get readymade catalog courses on the same topic. Would custom eLearning development be a waste of time and resources in reality? I argue that it is not so for the following reasons.
1. Custom eLearning courses do not have licensing costs and you get to own the source files
When you sign up for catalog courses, you are bound by licensing fees or per user-based fees with a limited validity period. In other cases, you might have to pay a one-time fee for the course but you just get the end product and have no access to source files. So, in future if there are minor changes in the content, those changes cannot be executed and one has to go back to the vendor for this purpose – the vendor may or may not oblige to your request. However, when you get a course made, you are the owner of the content on a permanent basis. You just incur a one-time development fee but do not have to pay the recurring licensing fee or per-user registration fee. Best of all, you own the content, which you can re-purpose according to your future needs.
2. Custom eLearning courses are focused on the learning needs of YOUR employees
Catalog courses are produced with generic content that is broadly relevant to most organizations. Focus is on sharing some factual knowledge that is later tested through simple quizzes. Employees would not receive adequate inputs to correlate the knowledge to their job context. To what extent will they be aligned to your organization’s learning needs is a matter of doubt. On the other hand, custom eLearning courses are created after careful understanding of your learners and their requirements. Their existing knowledge is taken into consideration and content is developed that builds on that knowledge. Therefore, they are more successful in effective knowledge transfer.
3. Custom eLearning courses align learning to YOUR business objectives
What is the objective of having your employees take a course? Typically, you want your employees to learn something new – a skill or knowledge that can be applied to their jobs. This in turn will enable them to perform better and thereby achieve the business objectives. If employees are given generic information, chances are that they are unable to see how that information is relevant to their jobs. Unless, they are given specific information through scenarios and examples that are relevant to them, they will not be able to correlate the information with their jobs. However, when you develop custom eLearning courses, you could create scenarios, share examples from their day-to-day context, use images and videos that employees can identify with. As a result, learning is more impactful and employees would see value in the learning.
4. Custom eLearning courses can be modified, re-used, re-purposed as per future requirements
As mentioned before, when you get your content developed, you are its ultimate owner. You have the freedom to get it altered, changed and improved upon in future as and when there is such a need. What it means is, as your business modifies or changes, you could get the content tweaked to reflect such changes easily and remain current and up to date in your courses without incurring huge costs. Catalog courses are created keeping in mind the general trends and situations at a given point of time and may not be relevant in a couple of years, thanks to the dynamic nature of business, rules, regulations and context.
Because of these above-mentioned reasons, custom eLearning development makes a lot of business sense for organizations even if its costs are marginally higher and might demand the time and attention of a subject-matter expert or the stakeholder. Ultimately, the product that is developed will have a longer shelf-life and can be re-used, re-purposed and modified in future according to the needs of the organization.
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