Pre-built vs Fully Customised eLearning Course
When rolling out a new program, for example, new compliance guidelines, organisational development and project management offices understand that online training is critical to a major project’s success. eLearning has evolved to provide advanced options such as simulators and gamification to make education more engaging, less expensive and even less intrusive than traditional face-to-face training methods. There are a variety of off-the-shelf eLearning options available in the marketplace. However, in some situations, prebuilt courseware is not available or cannot fully meet the educational needs of the project at hand. How do you decide whether a customised eLearning course or, off-the-shelf or some combination of the two are most appropriate for your needs? To answer this question, organisations need to evaluate their requirements related to cost, time and the appropriateness of prebuilt course content when compared to the program objectives. eLearning Buy vs. Build –
When deciding between customised eLearning course or prebuilt, a key factor is always cost. A customised eLearning course sounds expensive compared to off-the-shelf, but this is often not the case. If you purchase bundled eLearning library licenses, the cost associated with certain unused parts of a prebuilt course library may add up to wasted license fees. In addition, the packaged courses may not include your organisation’s specific policies or may fall short of supporting key project topics and goals.
It’s true that if you have a well-developed customised eLearning course, you can use this same material many times over for different learners. Even more so, Individual components can be used in multiple projects, such as selected modules, media elements, questions and animations, for different contexts. By using pre-built eLearning courses, you can save a lot of money that we would otherwise need to create a customised eLearning course. You are also saving a great deal of time, since part of the material is already made and the only thing you have to do is some fine tuning and tweaking.
Of course, when we talk about pre-existing material, we are essentially talking about eLearning material, since we can’t transform conventional training materials and documents into customisedeLearning courses, without first making sure that the eLearning conversion will be successful. Customised eLearning course differs and requires different structures and formats but it is possible and can be cost effective to transform instructor-led training ILT into eLearning. In the event that you wish to have conventional material, we need to make sure that the following 4 steps are taking place:
- Perform a review making sure that the content is complete and ready to be converted
- Determine the content that needs to be added and the media that needs to be incorporated
- Convert the existing content and then develop the Customised eLearning course format
- Ensure compliance to the appropriate standards, such as SCORM 1.2, 2004, AICC and 508
With highly specialised teams creating customised eLearning course today, the speed to delivery
has improved greatly over the years, spurred by advances in technology and the evolution of the customised eLearning course market as a whole.
When examining the time aspect of the, it’s important to consider a just-in-time courseware delivery model, which allows courses to become available to learners as each phase of the program is rolled out. With a just-in-time approach, the learners could get the content they needed in an appropriate time frame but still could enjoy the benefits of a customised eLearning course.
Another buy-vs.-build factor is determining how different your learners’ roles and content needs are from the prebuilt courses’ target audience and content.
Another option that has become more common is a hybrid approach, utilising a combination of prebuilt courseware and Customised eLearning Course. The prebuilt courses provide a solid basis of general education, and the customised Learning course fills in the gaps where the off-the-shelf content falls short. For example, if the prebuilt courses provide you with 60% of your learners’ requirements, and you only need to have 40% custom built, the hybrid approach probably makes sense. Some organisations may just need three or four courses.