When you’re on a budget, buying eLearning off-the-shelf is pretty appealing, especially to your wallet. But, as with anything, you have to weigh the pros and cons to decide if off-the-shelf or custom eLearning is worth the cost—both short and long-term.

Great off-the-self eLearning topics

For eLearning, there are certain topics that lend themselves well to an off-the-shelf purchase—topics that are relatively standard across companies, such as compliance and safety. And there are eLearning partners that have taken the time to get the right information, modern learning strategies, and device friendly development. This keeps buying off-the-shelf from putting you and your learners at a disadvantage (you can check some out here).

Good custom eLearning topics

However, there are some topics where custom eLearning makes more sense, like:

  • Onboarding
  • Specific processes
  • Procedures
  • New product training.

Even if custom comes with a bigger price tag, the return on investment for developing a module that is specific to what your company desires and your learners need to know is much higher.

Finding the right eLearning partner

In addition, as long as you’re working with the right partners, custom development gets you the attention to detail that you and your learners need to be successful, which are things like well-timed and written assessments, impactful interactions, and even experiential scenarios that take you to the point of need or action in real life.

When the topic is right, the learning benefits of custom development are real and the cost is worth it, but what if you want the best of both worlds?

Getting the best of off-the-shelf eLearning and custom eLearning

You’re on a strict budget and you want custom development. You’re not alone here—this is what eLearning partners are used to handling.

To prep, dig into the topic that you are creating learning for and determine if the content is unique enough to need custom development. If it is, do you have all of the materials and content setup or do you need help developing out the story and getting the learning to come to life?

With some software such as Rise, you can get that custom look and content, while also working quickly and staying on-budget with a componant-type build.


Custom eLearning is worth the cost. The key is to determine the type of attention your module needs to be a success.

Ready to see some custom?

Check out our work for Royal Caribbean.

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