As L&D professionals, we sure are living in an interesting time right now. Gone are the days when elaborate plotting was needed to convince, cajole, or coerce stakeholders about online training. Now, most stakeholders are eagerly waiting to jump on the online training bandwagon. But while this is much appreciated, there’s another knot we have to untangle before long. Off-the-shelf or custom eLearning solutions?
5 Reasons Why Custom eLearning Solutions are Better than Off-the-shelf Courses
- Aligned to Business Goals
- Customized to Learners’ Needs and Requirements
- Focus on Experiential Learning
- Targeted Assessments to Measure Learners’ Ability to Perform
- Support Organizational Branding
If you Google “eLearning solutions”, you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of off-the-shelf courses available online. And the sales pitch for all of them is quite simple – buy the course, plug it in your Learning Management System, and get the training. Understandably, that’s very tempting at first glance, especially for organizations that are just getting started with eLearning or those who need immediate training solutions. But here’s the thing – not all learners are alike and not all organizations have the same training needs. So, can the one-size-fits-all solution of off-the-shelf eLearning courses be the training solution you’re looking for?
Of course not! That is why you are here looking for a custom eLearning solution and insights on how to get it right. Custom eLearning is the best way to make sure your organizational training remains effective, impactful, and focused on your organizations’ specific training needs. Here are a few key strong-points no custom eLearning solution should miss out on.
5 Must-have Characteristics of Custom eLearning Solutions
1. Aligned to Business Goals
All too often we forget that custom eLearning for organizational training is not the same as eLearning for school students. Training in corporate organizations is not just aimed at improving knowledge. It is much more utilitarian than that. Corporate training always has an end goal, to improve learners’ performance and productivity and in turn, help the organization achieve its goal. So, it can’t be stressed enough how important it is to align all aspects of an eLearning course, be it content, instructional design, or duration, to the business goals.
This surely can’t be achieved with off-the-shelf courses where the information is more or less generic. But with custom eLearning, you get an opportunity to create a training solution that is aligned to your organization’s unique business goals. And the thing that keeps every aspect of an eLearning solution aligned with the ultimate business goals is the performance-based learning objectives.
Learning objectives convey what specific tasks/skills the learner will be able to do by end of that course, thereby setting the framework around which the entire custom eLearning solution can be created to bring coherence and specificity to the training. Without specific learning objectives aligned to business goals, a custom eLearning solution is no better than any random off-the-shelf course.
2. Customized for Target Learners’ Needs and Requirements
In the whirlwind of designing and developing eLearning solutions (which certainly is an extensive process), it is easy to forget that the most important stakeholders are the learners and the goal is effective knowledge transfer. And the only way any training solution can achieve that impact is if learners get the exact information that will help them do their job tasks and also keep them engaged during the training. So, as the name suggests, custom eLearning solutions should be customized for your organization’s learners and their needs and requirements.
How can you do that? It’s quite simple.
- Only you have the information on the kind of talent your organization attracts and recruits. Only you know how these employees can become a part of your organization’s culture. So use that information to develop a custom eLearning solution that can help them fit-in better.
- When you don’t know where to start, a Training Need Analysis always works. Scratch that, a TNA always works, and is necessary to understand the needs and requirements for any training. You can use that information to create training solutions custom-made for your learners.
- A direct survey-feedback process involving employees can help get direct insights into the problems employees face in their day-to-day job roles and what kind of training can help solve them.
- Always consider your learners’ demographics. A multigenerational workforce training has a better success rate if your custom eLearning solution includes multi-modal or blended learning approaches. A predominantly millennial or Gen Z workforce will want a flexible and edutaining eLearning solution. A global, linguistically and culturally diverse learner demographic will need eLearning translation to become a success.
3. Focused on Experiential Learning
One of the major complaints that stakeholders have had about eLearning over the years is that it distances learners from real life. And it is understandable how it can seem that way. In classroom training or on-the-job training, learners could get a glimpse of the reality of their work environment and even hands-on experience in some cases. With eLearning, the learning experience is individual and limited to virtual interaction with a screen. And off-the-shelf courses often make this problem worse with their generic information and examples.
But does that mean there can be no experiential learning with online training? Of course not! In fact, with custom eLearning, the problem can be solved at multiple levels.
- With a custom eLearning solution, you can use scenarios and case-studies from your own organizational experience to help learners get a more concrete idea of the kind of problems they might face and possible solutions to resolve them.
- You can use branching scenarios, simulations, AR/VR within eLearning courses to give learners a more hands-on experiential learning in a safe environment. This can be done even for training areas where hands-on training is expensive or risky, for example fire safety training.
4. Targeted Assessments to Measure Learners’ Ability to Perform
When we talk about custom eLearning solutions, it’s not just the training content but the assessments also that have to be aligned to organizational goals. E-learning assessments have always been about testing learners’ knowledge, but it should go beyond that. With corporate eLearning courses, the goal of assessments shouldn’t just be about testing learners’ ability to recall information but focus on its application in their job tasks.
And custom eLearning solutions give you the perfect opportunity to break the monotony of fill-the-blanks and match-the columns and replace them with assessments that test your learners’ ability to perform.
5. Organizational Branding
Corporate training has evolved a lot over the years and today it presents a unique opportunity for you not just to promote a learning culture but to also reflect your organization’s values that your employees need to understand and embody. And since no two organizations are alike, nor are their values, goals, achievements, and challenges (even your closest competitors are ever so slightly different than you), with a custom eLearning solution you can truly be able to promote your organization’s brand.
I hope this blog on the key strengths of custom eLearning solutions has given you some food for thought. Are you now convinced that a custom eLearning solution can be a far better investment in terms of long-term L&D goals than off-the-shelf courses? And if all this hassle seems too much for your in-house team, you can also take the route towards outsourcing custom eLearning development.
If you want some more information or need to consult with us regarding a custom eLearning solution, you can always contact us. In the meantime, you can download this eBook on eLearning trends for 2021 and see how you can implement them in your upcoming training plan.