Custom Content

In a prior post, we asked, “what comes first, the LMS or the content? Today we ask, “which is better, off the shelf vs custom content?” Determining the best option for your organization is not an easy task. Certainly, there are pros and cons to both choices. Questions of budget and staff weigh into this decision heavily. Although having content tailored to your organization specifically is ideal, it may not always be practical. So how do you choose?

Off the Shelf Pros:

  • Less expensive than custom courses
  • Available immediately
  • Requires less staff, since courses aren’t being built, a senior staff member can simply choose from a course catalog and make them available to your learners.

Off the Shelf Cons:

  • Not organization specific
  • Courses are owned by course provider and cannot be altered

Custom Content Pros:

  • Organization specific, so an organization gets exactly what they need.
  • Custom courses can be role-specific and highly personalized to your organization’s processes and procedures.
  • You own a custom course. It is yours to alter, update, etc.

Custom Content Cons:

  • Can be expensive
  • Requires significant development resources and staff
  • It takes time to create a custom course, and tight scheduling to meet deadlines
  • If outsourcing course content, internal resources including subject matter experts are still necessary to work with the course provider

When making the decision of off the shelf vs custom content, cost and resources will likely have the greatest impact in making your choice. You’ll need to evaluate whether you need a high degree of specialization/customization to justify the cost.  Some topic areas, such as employee soft skill development and management development, might not require that level of customization. As providers of both off the shelf content and custom course developers, we recognize the benefits of both, and suggest that a combination of approaches is likely necessary for an organization.

If you’d like to discuss your organization’s specific needs and the approach that is right for you, contact us for a consultation.

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