Build or buy is a particularly contentious discussion in non-IT organizations, and there are solid arguments for both. Are there really practical reasons to re-invent the wheel—or rather—the online training course?
Develop Your Own Online Courses Instead Of Choosing Pre-Built
The main argument for buying “canned” online training solutions vs. developing your own courses is time. Pre-packed online training courses are immediate. Buy, log in, train. No customization needed beyond changing to brand colors and creating user profiles. On the other side, the barrier is time. Can you afford to wait 6 months to a year while your tech team tinkers with LMS code?
Pre-built solutions may cost more, but “home-built” solutions often take longer. Outside of these low-hanging parameters, are there other pro-building benefits? Here are 7 top reasons to create online courses from scratch.
- Tailored Solutions
Shopping online usually means you get a wider range of size and color options. At the store, you’re restricted to their limited stocks, which are dictated by the sensibilities of their brand buyer. So you may have to adjust your parameters to what’s available. A similar thing happens with pre-built online courses. There are some general factors and features that every online course contains. But as a customer, you’ll probably have to tweak what’s there and adjust it to your online training needs. By building it yourself, you can leave out superfluous features and build in the exact features/functionalities you need. It could be a comprehensive translator or a mobile module, it’s all up to you.
- More Control
Product autonomy is a key factor at many different levels. If you have the right IT skillset to develop an online course in-house, you can protect your trade secrets unless you sell it to them—or unless they poach top talent and find loopholes in your non-compete clauses. Stolen intellectual property and corporate espionage are nightmares for legal departments. It’s worth spending a year to avoid the drama. Other facets of software control are copyright and ownership. You can’t stop other companies from reaping similar benefits when you all use the same commercial online courses. Building your own gives you the edge.
- Specific Reporting
Analytics is a part of any online learning enterprise. Pre-built solutions have years of experience in reporting and metrics. But they may lack the scope to be as specific as you need. It’s not practical or feasible to anticipate—and meet—the needs of every organization. If you create online courses from scratch, you can drill down as far as you need to. You could even generate eLearning templates that curate automated reports at a department level. Or get as detailed as reporting frameworks classed by job requirements. Design reports for HR, accounts, SWOT assessments, performance reviews, online training speed, overall performance, and much more.
- Easier Integration
Your compatibility requirements are closely related to the previous point. When you buy pre-built content, you may ask the vendor what systems it functions with. The smart move is to note all the digital products you’re currently using, then go down the list with your vendor. You may have to repeat this process several times before you find one that’s fully congruent. Or you may have to let go of some existing corporate software if it won’t mesh. When you create online courses, you eliminate this dilemma. You can match it to your needs from the code up. You can ensure streamlining and technical integration.
- Enhanced Scalability
Some purchased online courses are billed on a monthly or yearly schedule, with a fixed price per user. You might get a discount past a certain threshold. Or you might get a blanket charge up to X users and a per-ID fee for any new accounts above it. This makes it expensive as your staff increases. It can also feel wasteful if you have to cut down user numbers but can’t get your “group fee” slashed. This isn’t a problem with in-house online course development. It utilizes the same amount of money whether you have one employee training participant or one million. And they all have the same capabilities, access, and resources, regardless of user volume.
- Learner Personalization
A custom online course allows you to personalize every aspect of the content to suit your learners’ needs. You can pre-assess to identify gaps, then develop an online course that bridges them and aligns with their preferences. This leads to better engagement and motivation since they have access to customized online courses that address their areas for improvement, rather than pre-built solutions that cover just the basics.
- Easy To Upkeep
When you create online courses, you gain the ability to revise and update it to accommodate your online training needs. They’re easier to maintain because you already have the eLearning templates and tools. Purchasing a pre-built eLearning course means that the vendor may have to step in if additions are required. Plus, you might have to pay for them to maintain the online course and/or each round of revisions. Your team already knows the various facets of the design, thanks to the fact that they built it, thereby, expediting the maintenance process.
Developing your own eLearning course from the code up will take a while— weeks, maybe even months. But you’ll get so many benefits. You can design it for your unique organizational needs, taking complete control of content and confidentiality. What’s more, you can craft the analytics and reporting modules you require. You have full copyright and might make some side cash syndicating your product. Building from scratch means you can ensure integration and compatibility with the Learning Management Systems you’re already using. And you can scale it up or down to suit your shifting employee numbers and demographics. All without spending an extra cent.