eLearning Design

eLearning content: Off-the-shelf or do it yourself?


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To build a course, or outsource, that is the question.

It’s a dilemma faced by many learning teams, with pros and cons to both off-the-shelf content and designing your courses in-house.

Creating everything in-house can be a challenging, yet rewarding process, whilst using off-the-shelf content could save you time and hassle.

In this blog, we’ve weighed up 5 of the key ‘make or buy’ decisions to help you make the right call for your organisation.


  1. Do you have the in-house expertise?

One of the main reasons why you aren’t creating in-house content could be because of a lack of in-house expertise.

Hiring the right people or upskilling your existing team takes time and budget – and it can seem easier to make use of off-the-shelf content instead.

Many assume that off-the-shelf content is too basic or generic, but that isn’t true. It can still offer engaging learning experiences and be tailored to your brand requirements.

However, doing it yourself gives your organisation full control over your learning programmes, with less reliance on external sources.

And if you don’t have the skills in-house right now, there are plenty of courses available to help you out. From instructional design training to the basics of accessibility, it’s easy to give your designers the skills they need to succeed.


  1. Off-the-shelf content can save you time and capacity

Not having enough time or capacity are two other factors that affect how your content is made.

There’s no getting around it. Creating eLearning courses takes time. Especially if you need to create lots of it in a short amount of time.

Using off-the-shelf content can often save you time and might allow more time to be allocated to other key projects. Even the large, well-oiled, L&D teams may need to use this mix and match strategy to achieve their goals.

By balancing bespoke content with templated courses, you might find your organisation has more time and attention to put towards more complex and innovative learning experiences.


  1. How innovative does your learning need to be?

Not every course needs to reinvent the wheel to be engaging and informative.

For some courses, templated off-the-shelf content may be exactly what’s needed.

If time and capacity are tight, be smart with your strategy to decide which learning could be executed through off-the-shelf content, and which ones need more in-house input.

There is, of course, a third option here. By working with an external content development team, you get the best of both worlds. Not only does it take some of the burden away from your own team, but you get the expertise of external content to help you design great learning experiences.

The studio team at Omniplex Learning, for example, can provide you with branded off-the-shelf content, but also work hand-in-hand with your team on bespoke learning designs.


  1. Balancing long and short-term learning strategy

The decision to build content in-house shouldn’t be taken lightly. It requires vision and patience, and the time it takes to put the right people, the right training, and the right learning tools into place.

But it can be a richly rewarding journey. At the end of it, you’ll have full control over your learning programmes and a skilled team that make it happen.

For teams that need to deliver lots of consistent content, to lots of learners, this is likely to be a key aspiration.

However, for smaller teams, who create less content, a more short-term approach might be preferred. For these teams, it might not be worth the time it takes to create and maintain a dedicated in-house strategy.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to learning strategy, but it may be important to remain open-minded and flexible. Even if a team is capable of producing everything in-house, it can still be invaluable to have access to strong content templates, or an external team, if you ever do need an extra layer of support.


  1. Using your budget wisely

As much as any team would love a blank cheque… they’re not likely to get it.

As ever, balancing priorities when it comes to content creation is key. The benefit here with outsourcing content or off-the-shelf templates is that it gives you a more flexible approach, allowing you to spend your budget when you need to.

An in-house strategy requires more commitment, whether it’s to train your team, invest in eLearning tools or hire new members of staff.

Similarly, it may not be worth spending big on a course that could be delivered through off-the-shelf content – leaving you with more budget to use on projects that do require extra innovation.

If you work with Omniplex Learning to deliver your content, you have a choice of bronze, silver and gold template packs, as well as bespoke content, allowing you to choose the package that best suits your needs.


The best of both worlds? Working with an eLearning content specialist

As we touched upon above, there is a third option.

Working with an external eLearning content developer can give you the best of both worlds.

You can save time and capacity, but also know that your courses will be bespoke, rather than generic as they might be with off-the-shelf content. There’s also a greater sense of collaboration, with a content specialist likely to add innovative ideas to your courses, helping you to create truly great learning experiences.

Find out more about our design and content services by talking to our team today.


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