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 what you are giving up by buying off-the-shelf is worth the cost, short and long-term.
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 so that buying off-the-shelf doesn't put you and your learners at a disadvantage (yes! We have off the shelf compliance and safety for available for purchase, check it out here).
However, there are some topics where custom eLearning makes more sense, like onboarding, specific processes and procedures, and new product training. Even if it 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. 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? You're on a strict budget and you want custom development. We have had that very same conversation with many of our partners, which is why we identified the reasons our clients love working with us to develop custom content (things like attention to detail, great design, reliable team, etc.) and further streamlined our process to deliver beautifully designed content and give our clients the ability to boost bandwidth and turn around affordable projects on a tight timeline with our new offering Zip Course. More about the differences between our custom content and Zip Course here.
My advice is to 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 (Zip Course) or do you need help developing out the story and getting the learning to come to life (custom)? Custom eLearning is worth the cost, the key is to determine the type of attention your module needs to be a success!
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