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Off-the-Shelf vs. Customized eLearning Solutions - Which Works Best?


Choosing between off-the-self and customized eLearning solutions

As technology continues to advance, eLearning solutions have become an increasingly popular method of delivering education and training materials to learners. With the rise of remote work and online education, developing eLearning solutions has become essential for many organizations, educational institutions, and businesses. eLearning solutions can range from simple online courses to complex simulations, and can be delivered through a variety of platforms, such as learning management systems (LMS), mobile applications, and virtual reality environments.


Through careful planning, development, and evaluation, eLearning solutions can provide engaging, efficient, and effective learning experiences that can benefit learners and organizations alike. Now, the question here is - are off-the-shelf eLearning solutions a better choice over customized ones? The first one saves time and effort, whereas the second provides a personalized learning experience. In this blog, we will explore the choices and the results. Before that, let us look into the details about off-the-shelf and customized eLearning solutions.


Off-the-shelf eLearning Solutions

Off-the-shelf eLearning solutions refer to pre-built, ready-to-use courses and learning content that can be purchased and implemented by organizations without the need for significant customization or development. These solutions typically cover a wide range of topics and are designed to meet common training needs.This includes a variety of multimedia content, such as videos, animations, quizzes, and interactive simulations, and are usually accessible through a learning management system (LMS) or other online platforms. They offer a cost-effective and time-efficient option for organizations that require standard training content without the need for significant customization or development.


Here are some examples of off-the-shelf eLearning solutions that are commonly used in organizations for employee training:

  • LinkedIn Learning: This platform provides a range of online courses on various topics such as leadership, software development, marketing, and project management. It also offers personalized learning paths based on learners' skill levels and interests.

  • Coursera for Business: This platform provides access to thousands of online courses from top universities and industry experts. It also offers skill assessments and certifications, allowing learners to showcase their proficiency in specific areas.

  • Udemy for Business: This platform offers a wide range of courses on topics such as business, technology, and creative skills. It also provides tools for learners to track their progress and receive feedback from instructors.

  • Skillsoft: This platform offers a range of eLearning solutions, including courses, videos, and simulations on topics such as leadership, compliance, and cybersecurity. It also provides tools for learners to assess their skills and receive personalized recommendations.

  • OpenSesame: This platform offers a vast library of eLearning courses from various providers, covering topics such as compliance, software skills, and business skills. It also provides tools for learners to track their progress and receive certificates of completion.


LinkedIn eLearning

Customized eLearning Solutions

Customized eLearning solutions are tailored to the specific needs and goals of an organization or group of learners. These solutions are designed to align with the organization's branding, culture, and values and can incorporate specific training content or adapt to the unique needs of the learners. Customized eLearning solutions can include a range of multimedia content, such as videos, animations, quizzes, interactive simulations, and gamification elements, and are usually accessible through a learning management system (LMS) or other online platforms. These solutions can be developed in collaboration with subject matter experts, instructional designers, and other stakeholders to ensure that they meet the organization's training objectives and are effective in achieving the desired learning outcomes. Customized eLearning solutions offer a flexible and adaptable approach to training, enabling organizations to provide tailored and engaging learning experiences that meet the specific needs of their learners.


Here are some examples of customized eLearning solutions:

  • Interactive simulations and scenarios: Customized eLearning solutions can be designed to simulate real-world scenarios, allowing learners to apply their knowledge and skills in a safe and controlled environment. For example, a manufacturing company might create an interactive simulation to train employees on how to operate a new piece of machinery.

  • Gamification: Customized eLearning solutions can incorporate gamification elements, such as leaderboards, badges, and points systems, to increase learner engagement and motivation. For example, a sales organization might create a customized eLearning course that incorporates gamification to teach employees about new products and sales strategies.

  • Branched scenarios: Customized eLearning solutions can include branched scenarios, which allow learners to make decisions and see the consequences of those decisions. For example, a healthcare organization might create a customized eLearning course that presents different patient case scenarios, allowing learners to make treatment decisions and see the outcomes of those decisions.

  • Microlearning: Customized eLearning solutions can be designed to deliver bite-sized chunks of content, known as microlearning, which are easier for learners to digest and retain. For example, a technology company might create a customized eLearning course that delivers short modules on specific software applications.

  • Mobile learning: Customized eLearning solutions can be designed to be accessible on mobile devices, allowing learners to access training materials on-the-go. For example, a retail organization might create a customized eLearning course that can be accessed via a mobile app, allowing employees to learn about new products and sales strategies while on the sales floor.

eLearning

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Benefits and Disadvantages
Off-the-shelf eLearning Solutions

Benefits:

  • Cost-effective: Off-the-shelf solutions are generally less expensive than customized solutions because they are pre-built and require less time and effort to implement.

  • Wide range of options: Off-the-shelf solutions typically offer a wide variety of courses and modules to choose from, covering a range of topics and skill levels.

  • Quick implementation: Off-the-shelf solutions can be implemented quickly, without the need for extensive development or customization.

Disadvantages:

  • May not align with specific organizational goals: Off-the-shelf solutions may not be tailored to the specific needs and goals of an organization, which can result in a lack of relevance or effectiveness.

  • Limited customization options: Off-the-shelf solutions may not offer the degree of customization required to meet the unique needs of an organization or its learners.

  • May not be engaging: Off-the-shelf solutions may lack the level of interactivity and engagement required to keep learners interested and motivated.

Customized eLearning solutions

Benefits:

  • Tailored to organizational goals: Customized solutions can be designed specifically to meet the unique needs and goals of an organization, which can result in greater relevance and effectiveness.

  • Higher degree of customization: Customized solutions can be tailored to meet the specific needs and preferences of an organization or its learners, resulting in a higher degree of engagement and motivation.

  • Better alignment with brand and culture: Customized solutions can be designed to align with an organization's brand and culture, resulting in a more cohesive and consistent learning experience.

Disadvantages:

  • Higher cost: Customized solutions typically require more time, effort, and resources to develop and implement, which can result in higher costs.

  • Longer development time: Customized solutions may take longer to develop and implement, which can result in longer lead times for training programs.

  • May require specialized expertise: Developing customized solutions may require specialized expertise in instructional design, technology, and user experience design, which may be difficult for some organizations to access.


Which One Works Better

When it comes to choosing between off-the-shelf and customized eLearning solutions, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Both options have their own benefits and disadvantages, depending on the specific needs and goals of an organization.


Off-the-shelf solutions can be a cost-effective and quick way to provide employees with a broad range of learning options, but they may not be tailored to an organization's specific needs and may lack engagement. Customized solutions, on the other hand, can be designed to meet an organization's unique needs and goals, but may be more expensive and time-consuming to develop.


Ultimately, the decision between off-the-shelf and customized eLearning solutions should be based on a careful analysis of an organization's specific training needs, resources, and goals. A blended approach that combines off-the-shelf solutions with customized solutions can also be effective in providing a comprehensive and engaging learning experience for employees. The key is to focus on the needs of the learners and the organization, and choose the solution that best meets those needs.


If you are aiming to develop an eLearning solution for the employee training at your organization, contact us for assistance at sales@s4carlisle.com.






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