If you are implementing an elearning program at your organization, you will ultimately be faced with the decision to custom create your courses, or to purchase some pre-packaged solution.
The answer to this question is very much dependent on your intent for the training program.
For example, if you are in the food industry and want to have training for your employees on food health & safety standards, it’s probably best to find a provider where you can purchase the course (or perhaps a license). There are training organizations out there that specialize in this area – no need to reinvent the wheel.
It also makes sense to do this with regulatory training in topic areas like sexual harassment and workplace ethics. These relatively universal topics don’t need to be customized that much, if at all.
When To Go With Custom ELearning
In my opinion, custom elearning solutions are the best way forward when the training has to do with something specific to your organizational processes or culture.
For example, there are many companies out there today that run SAP for their enterprise resource planning. This is one of the most robust pieces of software that exists today, and it can become complex quite quickly.
As you would expect, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of training providers who have created interactive, pre-packaged elearning for SAP. On the surface this seems great! This training even comes with practice modules so users can try completing tasks in a safe environment.
However, not all that glitters is gold.
Rarely does any one organization run SAP out-of-the-box without any modifications that are unique to their business needs (this is how major consulting firms make a large portion of their revenue, simply by modifying and implementing the SAP).
As such, generic videos on standard SAP processes just won’t cut it. Sure, they could be 90% correct, but that 10% difference is enough to negatively impact employee productivity since they’ll be essentially learning the incorrect process.
On a smaller scale, the color scheme in the videos could be different. While seemingly insignificant, instructional design best practice emphasizes the importance of a consistent delivery. This is just one more distraction.
In the end there isn’t one best answer for when to use pre-packaged elearning versus custom. In some cases it could be a mix. In general though, the more the training is vital to your organizations day-to-day operations, the more important custom training becomes.