Pros & Cons of Custom eLearning Solutions

Posted by

Simon Truckle

on 26 Feb 2021

Have you considered custom eLearning solutions for your compliance training needs? We provide the pros and cons as well as suggest other possible solutions.

Pros & Cons of Custom eLearning Solutions

Compliance e-learning is no longer seen as a sheep dip solution for staff compliance. Companies want to use every training intervention as an opportunity to engage with employees.  They want the content to reflect the real world in which their employees operate and the real risks and dilemmas they face. This is sometimes just not possible with off-the-shelf courses.

Depending on your aims and individual circumstances, you can opt for off-the-shelf (OTS) courses, ask a provider to come up with custom eLearning solutions for your business, or a combination of the two. 

Off-the-shelf digital training content

Some e-learning courses can be bought ready to use with little need for customisation. Perhaps they only need your company logo adding and not much else.

Advantages of off-the-shelf digital training content

  1. If an OTS course provides everything you need, why not - it will be cheaper and less risk since you can see the end product
  2. Courses can be rolled out immediately with little or no setup time
  3. Usually able to customise with company branding
  4. Ideal for topics that are fairly universal, such as health and safety training, GDPR etc.

Disadvantages of off-the-shelf digital training content

  1. Will not be tailored to the specific needs of your business
  2. Your employees may fail to connect to content that isn't specific to your business operations

Custom eLearning content

Custom e-learning courses are either heavily customised or built from scratch. This process can take as little as a few days preparation or as much as a several months before they are ready for roll out.

Advantages of custom eLearning training content

  1. Ability to tailor every aspect of the course means you can create truly personalised and relevant content for staff, which they may find more engaging
  2. Can be aligned to the unique training objectives and training needs of your business
  3. Just like that tasty gourmet meal, it's a richer experience providing an opportunity to select rarities and focus on the detail that really matters to your company or business area - hopefully delighting and tempting lucky recipients (learners) to try something new (whether that be ideas, initiatives, best practice, etc.)
  4. Usually easy to adapt, update, and revise when necessary
  5. Ideal if you have a specialised approach to a topic, want to share internal knowledge or best practice firm-wide, or want to tackle myths or preconceptions that are common in your business or organisation - i.e. situations where OTS just won't cut it

Disadvantages of custom eLearning training content

  1. Usually involves higher upfront costs
  2. Takes longer to get setup and running
  3. Requires you to invest time to find internal experts and an external partner to create the most effective solution for your needs
  4. Inherently more risky - because you don't know what you could end up with

Hybrid eLearning training solutions

Want a solution that offers more personalised and relevant content for your staff, but don’t want to invest in a completely custom solution? Well, there is a middle ground.

Some e-learning providers will allow you to tailor OTS modules which can give you a head start. You'll be able add your brand logo and colours so that it blends in with the rest of your compliance training, but there may also be more scope to incorporate your content.

For instance, you might add a custom module to it, tailor the content to reflect regulations where you are, or adapt scenarios to fit your own working practices.

How to choose your eLearning training solution

There's no right or wrong option. It all depends on your aims, individual circumstances and - to a lesser extent - personal choice. In reality, most organisations use a combination of OTS and custom types for different things.

Factors to consider

  • Budget
  • Timescale - how soon do you need it?
  • Learning objectives
  • Topic - generic or firm-specific
  • Availability of internal subject matter experts

If you do invest in an off-the-shelf training course, it’s important to choose one that allows you to tailor certain elements of it, such as matching it to the look, feel, and tone of your company, as well as being able to add in examples that make it more relevant to your staff.

Key questions to ask your solution provider

If you decide to opt for a truly custom solution, there are some important questions (besides costs) to bear in mind when finding the right partner:

  • How long does it take to deliver a custom solution?
  • What does the process involve?
  • Do they have the relevant subject matter expertise?
  • Have they worked on similar projects with other clients? If so, ask to see examples.
  • What is their track record - what are their clients saying about them? 
  • Will features like diagnostic reporting be built in as standard?

Sketch out your ideas and consider your own intentions and needs.

Shop around. Reach out to likely partners and arrange a demo. It's an important decision so you need to take some time to find the best fit for you.

Intelligent Learning

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