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Custom eLearning Vs Off-The-Shelf Courses: Know What’s Right for Your Organization

Published 28 days ago



custom eLearning vs off the shelf courses

Did you know that the e-learning market share is expected to sprout at a CAGR of over 21% between 2021 and 2027?

Yes, it will, and the reason for this is the number of advantages it offers. Not only do e-learning solutions bring down the cost and training time of any organization, but they also provide captivating learning. This has led to a boost in the demand for e-learning solutions. 

Many businesses have changed their approach to employee training. Modernized methods of e-learning have replaced conventional classroom techniques. Organizations that are making the shift from conventional training to eLearning solutions have two options: either they can design customized training courses according to their specific training requirements or go for ready-to-use off-the-shelf solutions.

Most of the training managers often find themselves on the horns of a dilemma. The question that bothers them the most is if they can buy a learning course that is available off-the-shelf or design personalized learning content as per their needs. There will always be this custom vs off-the-shelf e-learning comparison, as both can be very effective. 


Article insight: if you are not able to think straight and are in a fog when deciding between custom e-learning vs off-the-shelf e-learning courses, we will help you make the right choice by looking at the pros and cons of both solutions.

The Pros and Cons of Custom e-Learning Solutions:

pros and cons of elearning solutions

With custom e-learning, you can easily arrange the areas and required skills to be addressed in connection with your business without giving up on the quality of the content. Custom e-learning helps your employees attain knowledge that is eccentric to your organizational requirements by tailoring e-learning content to specific needs.

This will be satisfying for employees and increase productivity. Tailored content lays out a compatible learning experience, ensuring every employee attains equal knowledge.

Advantages of custom e-learning: 

  • Addresses specific challenges your employees face. 

  • Makes training more engaging. 

  • Allows you to alter the content. 

  • Accommodates any budget. 

advantages of elearning

Tailored content to meet specific needs: 

Custom e-learning considers both employee and organizational requirements to ensure a high level of quality. Moreover, they can be created in a most comprehensive format by incorporating advanced technology and learning methods like blended learning, microlearning, social and collaborative learning. You can use personalized training materials more effectively by designing them according to specific knowledge gaps and skill deficiencies. Custom e-learning allows you to address the specific challenges your employees face. 


Greater engagement and interactivity: 

Training programs are no longer a drudgery for learners; thanks to custom e-learning, they have become an absorbing experience that engages learners from start to finish. The one-size-fits-all approach was unsuccessful in engaging employees. Custom e-learning helps learners by designing the learning experience according to the requirements and preferences of each individual learner. This tailored approach makes training more engaging. Not only this, but these courses also include a level of interactivity in the course that makes the learner an active participant in the course rather than a passive recipient of information.

Adaptability and scalability:

Custom eLearning's adaptability allows you to alter the content to meet your organization’s evolving needs. It's possible for you to stretch or update the training materials to integrate the latest information, industry trends, or changes in policies. Because of this scalability, you're learning content always remains current and applicable. Adaptability and scalability in custom e-learning help grow the organization by making sure the training remains of a high standard.  

elearning budget

Accommodates any budget:

Most people usually think that custom eLearning costs more and breaks the bank. This is largely a myth, because custom e-learning development is for every type of business, no matter how small or big. You can always go for customization. Just tell your needs to an eLearning development company, and they can design content particularly for your industry, job roles, and learning objectives. This focused approach makes sure that you provide learners with applicable and relevant training material. Whatever your business may be, it's possible for you to customize certain parts and rely on pre-built eLearning solutions that are needed. 

Disadvantages of custom e-learning:

disadvantages of elearning

Prices can vary:

There is no fixed price for a custom e-learning course. The price can vary according to factors like the duration of the course and skilled labor. You must know that the custom e-learning course’s cost is not a one-off budget item. 

Can Consume time:

Sometimes it will take some time to develop custom content as every course is crafted and created according to your demands. But rapid eLearning development has changed this as well, as it can create absorbing learning content in an agile manner.

Needs a project plan:

it's not easy to create custom eLearning programs. The process can be a knotty affair that includes many phases involving internal and external experts. It requires an in-depth project plan as it has many potential constraints and complexities, and the most obvious one is managing time, budget, and scope. 

The pros and cons of off-the-shelf eLearning solutions:

pros and cons of off-the-shelf courses

The learning programs that have already been made for various subjects are called off-the-shelf eLearning. You just have to buy the programs as per your needs and deliver the courses to your learners by uploading them into your LMS. This one is also known as out of the box, as the content is ready-made. There are many off-the-shelf benefits. Let's have a look at some of the benefits of off-the-shelf e-learning for organizations. 

Advantages of off-the-shelf solutions:

advantages of off-the-shelf

Brisk execution: 

The speed of off-the-shelf eLearning, with which you can upload and dispatch the content, is truly incredible. Content is available within moments of searching for it. Sometimes LMS integration may take some time, but you just can't compare it to the weeks or months a custom eLearning solution takes to design, develop, and implement. Off-the-shelf solutions are lightning-fast in terms of implementation timelines.


The cost-effectiveness of off-the-shelf eLearning is a huge advantage that any organization can have. You don’t have to spend much to set up an off-the-shelf course. The front cost is very reasonable, as all you must do is just buy the course training materials and install them. The process is straightforward and economical.

custom elearning provider

Wider availability: 

It's easy to find off-the-shelf e-learning content in various formats. Videos, quizzes, interactive modules, and text-based materials are always available in bazaars. The best thing is that there’s a format for everyone, so you can easily get one according to the needs of your team members. Learners are more engaged when they switch between video, text, and interactive content. Learning is not drudgery when it's in a variety of formats. No doubt this one is among the best off-the-shelf benefits.

Disadvantages of off-the-shelf solutions:

  • Lacks optimization. 

  • Not adaptable. 

  • Fails to connect with personal concerns. 

  • Needs regular renewal. 

disadvantages of off-the-shelf

Lack of optimization: 

Almost all the off-the-shelf e-learning courses are designed for a wider audience, they are not particularly for you, and they may not align with your objectives either. As they are made for generic learning requirements, they may not suit your organization’s style or learning objectives. The big disadvantage of off-the-shelf learning is that it lacks customization options.


Limited adaptability:

There is no scope for alteration in the content in off-the-shelf eLearning solutions. It's not possible to integrate fresh data to meet the evolving organizational requirements. Most of the time, you aren't able to blend your own branding elements into the off-the-shelf eLearning courses. 


May not perfectly align with specific needs:

The most compelling pitfall of off-the-shelf eLearning is that it doesn't meet the requirements of your learners or address their individual learning preferences. Off-the-shelf courses are designed for wider audiences, but the developer of those courses didn’t have the data that recognizes the skill and performance gaps of your learners. There are more chances of online training content going off-target. Off-the-shelf eLearning courses focus more on regular performance issues and address the crucial takeaways but fail to connect with personal concerns that block your employee's productivity.


elearnng content developemt

Needs subscriptions:

Off-the-shelf e-learning courses usually come with special usage rights and licenses. Restricting your use of the resources for specific applications. Moreover, some of the pre-built options do have monthly or yearly subscription fees. So, you must renew your license regularly to have it in your eLearning course index. For every part of off-the-shelf eLearning content you buy, you must mention how many users will have access to the content and pay accordingly. So, the cost can add up over time when you renew the license on an annual basis.

Making the right e-learning choice for your organization is not that easy. Most need clarification on looking at the pros and cons of both eLearning solutions. Off-the-shelf eLearning seems affordable, but most organizations have their own methods to out-beat their counterparts, and you can't change that approach to fit into generalized software to save money. On the other hand, building custom e-learning solutions helps you keep your competitive advantage intact. 

If you are still in a dilemma, we will help you make that all-important decision about picking between off-the-shelf and custom e-learning courses. We have a checklist that will help you make the right decision.

Factors to Consider When Choosing E-learning Solutions

best elearning solutions

Learning objectives: 

You should know you're learning objectives first, then it will be easy for you to decide which eLearning solution to pick. Training needs analysis can also help you decide what to pick. For instance, if TNA discloses that your employees lack communication skills, which is a common challenge in many industries, then an off-the-shelf course on effective business communication will do the job for you. When your organization's training requirements are more specific, like communication with clients regarding your services, then custom e-learning is the best way to go.  


Budget and resources:

Your budget plays a big role in your decision-making. You should be aware of the overall cost associated with the training program. And it's more important if your organization is initiating the implementation of e-learning for the first time. A catalogue course is more affordable as opposed to custom e-learning, as it takes extra time and effort to develop a course. 


Timeline and urgency: 

If your training needs are urgent and you have a timeline to swiftly address the need, then off-the-shelf courses are the best. Pick the one that meets your requirements and roll it out to your team. When you have enough time to develop a training program from the start, you can go for a custom e-learning course. Rapid e-learning solutions have drastically shortened the time taken to develop e-learning courses.  

content elearning company

Summing up: 

Off-the-shelf is much quicker and easier to implement, but it is not that effective in fulfilling the specific requirements of your organization and employees. Whereas custom e-learning's purpose is to design your course as per your needs, custom content is all about the requirements of your business. When you invest in custom eLearning solutions, you get a complete training solution that features an extensive and personalized learning experience that enriches employee growth, enhances productivity, and improves overall organizational success.  


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