Editor’s Note: This blog post has been updated in April 2022.
The competitive and demanding environment of today necessitates that we stay up to date with the most efficient and effective practices of our respective domains. For companies, this means the regular exposure of employees to the latest and most relevant training and development modules. Apart from training to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and driving growth for a business, it should also prioritize safety, precaution, and compliance associated with various roles. Organizations may choose to employ pre-built eLearning courses as a matter of convenience, or, more often, on account of low costs. While pre-built eLearning courses can be successful, it is increasingly evident that there is another option that is more effective, yields superior learning outcomes, and is exceedingly rewarding for all stakeholders. Yes, the other option is custom eLearning development.
Off-the-shelf programs usually do not prioritize the development of particular skills and learning objectives that are essential to businesses, and this usually manifests as (average) generic content. Bespoke content can be built from ground zero, providing full control over the content while addressing the specific needs and objectives of an organization. It is easier to keep such prerequisites as a cornerstone when eLearning development is customized. Apart from using the latest resources, emerging tools, and technology, custom eLearning development is targeted and is ideal to deliver specific skills and competencies consistently to a large audience.
Before we proceed to the main section of the blog, do take time to read two more related articles. Choosing the right custom eLearning content development partner, and best practices for custom content development are our recommendations.
Seven Reasons that Make Custom eLearning Development the Right Choice
In no particular order, let us look at the best reasons in favor of custom eLearning solutions in this section.
Table of Contents
1. eLearning is Tailored to the Needs of Your Organization
Every organization is unique. Even organizations operating within the same domain can face diverse and distinctive challenges. When challenges are unique, how can off-the-shelf courses and content, built with the objective of serving domains or “types,” address L&D needs?
While the ultimate goal of a business is to increase revenue, there are nuances to achieving goals that make organizations unique in their endeavors and the means employed to achieve them. Even within a domain of enterprises such as SAAS or healthcare, the strategies of companies are vastly different from one another. Customized training solutions give an edge over off-the-shelf solutions as it allows organizations to potentially inculcate precise improvements in behavior or skill sets.
2. Custom eLearning Solutions can Implement Diverse Approaches to Learning
Modern learning programs take advantage of a variety of modalities. Depending on the context, gamification, microlearning modules, nuanced assessments, and scenario-based learning solutions can be used to achieve the learning objectives. Some practical skills are better taught using innovative technologies such as Virtual Labs (vLabs), Virtual and Augmented Reality, where more than one solution can be combined to bring about the most effective approach to transfer skills and retain knowledge. Training modalities have much more to offer than that meets the eye. Do take some time to read this article on gamification and corporate responsibility.
Custom content development provides the opportunity to capitalize from a host of technologies that are available to today’s learning administrators. This level of flexibility and malleability can be just the edge that your organization needs to achieve L&D goals.
3. Custom eLearning Solutions Facilitates Multi-Dimensional Learning
In recent years there has been an enormous increase in the amount of information that needs to be assimilated, understood, and memorized by working professionals in the hi-tech and healthcare domains. Learning managers today are resorting to utilizing cognitive psychology strategies to facilitate better learning and expand how well information is retained and utilized. One such strategy is making learning content available in various formats, at the workplace and beyond. Learning can take place anywhere, and by creating accessible formats of content, they can be consumed on the go. When such a learning strategy is deployed, knowledge retention, application, and engagement with the training content improve manifold.
Further, custom content allows learning managers to test out the effectiveness of content and grants them the freedom to make changes as they see best. Sometimes, adding a minor interactive element or a visual aid can make a world of difference in user engagement (a key metric for measuring content effectiveness). User feedback is also valuable and can be incorporated into the training material when bespoke eLearning content is developed from the ground up.
4. Custom eLearning Solutions Offer Consistency and Reliability of Information
When you customize eLearning course development, one can ensure that all templates, interactions, and instructional strategies across all courses remain consistent in tone, style, message, and corporate branding. This evokes a sense of reliability and trustworthiness in the training material and can contribute positively to engagement.
Consistency and reliability are important aspects for all learning stakeholders, as it:
- Enhances the quality of the learning experience
- Provides a cohesive presentation of content
- Learning modules feel more consistent, in voice and appearance
- Enables re-usability of the content
- Helps reduce overall development time and cost of custom development
- Improves completion rates and retention of learning
5. Custom eLearning Content Development is Easy to Update, Leading to a Longer Shelf Life
For most industries, making the effort to stay abreast of the latest production tools and technologies, safety and compliance standards, and other advances in their domain can be crucial for success. In the context of Learning and Development, this is especially important because outdated content can be detrimental to the teams‘ productivity. When companies opt to use off-the-shelf training content, this can be a risky endeavor. In the high-tech domain, for example, training content may need to be updated often, several times a year, or even more frequently. This can lead to a production challenge.
For example, a client requested the team at Origin Learning to revamp an existing training module to bring it up to date. As the engagement was also below par, our goal was to add interactive elements to the training modules. In this case, our Instructional Design and Graphic Design teams put together microlearning modules that made content updating seamless while addressing the woes of poor engagement. Outdated portions of the training program were replaced or updated with ease, without affecting the overall consistency. If you were to rely on off-the-shelf content, it would be difficult to track down, update, or replace content without affecting the flow of instruction, often leading to a larger spend in the amount of time and cost.
6. Custom eLearning Solutions Encourage Sharing and Collaboration
Fostering collaboration among the workforce can be integral to the success of a learning organization. Training and development activities can be a great opportunity to encourage this attribute. When content is customized to the needs of your organization, it invariably strikes a chord with the learners as it is more attuned to the scenarios of their roles and responsibilities. This evokes an all-too-important emotional connection with the training program. When a learner is satisfied, engaged, and draws direct benefit from a training module, it encourages them to share and collaborate with peers. Creating personalized training programs that are meaningful and relevant creates an environment of learning and fosters healthy competition too.
7. Custom eLearning Content Development Offers Better Budgetary Control and Return on Investment
While custom eLearning development can seem expensive in the short term, the effectiveness of personalized training can far outweigh the risk of investment. Learning Architect Ray Jimenez, Ph.D. finds that targeted microlearning modules can reduce production costs by 30% and decrease the time taken to develop content by 300%.
When is Custom eLearning Content Development Not Ideal?
Not all training needs customization. Evaluate learning objectives and goals to be achieved, and then weigh the decision to go custom or pick off the shelf. For example, leadership training or soft-skill development is not usually as nuanced and may not require the same level of customization as production optimization, product adoption, or sales enablement. In these cases, the cost of customization is not warranted.
All things considered; it is difficult to make a case against custom content from an efficacy perspective. Even a soft skill or leadership training program that is nuanced to fit the needs of certain industries and organizations will be superior when you customize it. Training goals are better achieved as against off-the-shelf training modules.