To buy or to build: Choosing the best eLearning development route for your organisation

Hannah Waddams | 07/03/2018

One of the biggest decisions organisations face when embarking on their eLearning journey is whether to outsource their eLearning development, or develop it themselves. There are a number of benefits for all methods of eLearning content development, so I thought I would go through the benefits of the four main options, to aid you in your decision-making process.

  1. Off-the-shelf courses

    It’s not cheating…. Buying a ready-made course is usually cheaper (and faster) than any other method of eLearning content development. Off-the-shelf courses cover a huge range of topics, from communication to human resources and much more. These courses have been developed by experts in the field, so as well as receiving a beautifully designed eLearning course, you will also benefit from the knowledge of subject matter experts. For example, off-the-shelf courses about ‘ethics in the workplace’ are likely to have been created by a HR expert, who might have skills and experience you do not have in-house. Plus, the best off-the-shelf courses allow you to ‘buy the course and get the source’ meaning you have complete freedom to change the branding and wording to suit your organisation.

    However, if you’re creating an eLearning course about a very specific topic, for example how to complete your organisation’s order processing procedure, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find a course to suit your needs. In this case, it’s better to either outsource your eLearning development, or do it yourself. 
  1. Outsource your eLearning content development

    Finding the right eLearning partner can be tricky and you should make sure you consider the account management style, support options and their approach to eLearning – before jumping in head first with any company.

    Across an outsourced team there will be a range of skills and experience working for you. This means your eLearning courses will benefit from a wealth of experience that you might not have in-house. Professional content development companies are likely to have an instructional designer, eLearning developer and graphic designer all working on your course. These eLearning professionals will be able to take your content and create it into an eLearning course that engages, inspires and delights your learners.

    In addition, an experienced team would have worked with other companies like yourself, so their approach to eLearning is tried and tested – they know what works, and what doesn’t! So, this means that a) your course is more likely to resonate with your learners and b) you save time by not completing as many reworks (which might be needed if you go it alone).
  1. DIY: Develop it yourself

    Developing eLearning in-house can be daunting. However, if you have the skills and experience needed, it might be the best choice you could make. After all, you know your objectives and brand better than anybody else.

    If you’re going to create your own eLearning courses, you need to make sure you have the right authoring tool for your needs. For example, if your learners will primarily access courses on a mobile device, a truly responsive authoring tool is paramount. It’s also worthwhile checking out the training options for your authoring tool; learning time-saving tips from the experts is a sure-fire way to make sure you speed up your development process. If there isn’t a training course that suits your needs – you’re in luck! We work in an extremely generous industry, who are happy to share their thoughts, ideas and examples on a range of forums – so make sure you make the most out of the abundance of free resources in the industry. Use these resources as inspiration to ensure you’re creating a truly engaging eLearning course.
  2. The best of both worlds

    If you’ve got the right skill-set to develop an eLearning course in-house, but think you need a little bit of help refining the look and feel of your course – why not deploy the best of both worlds with eLearning templates? Custom branded eLearning templates, built by an expert eLearning development company, have some of the key benefits of outsourcing (such as expert design, instructional design and development), whilst giving you complete freedom, and acting as a basis for you to design an infinite number of courses. (We recently wrote a blog about eLearning templates - make sure you read it before jumping in head-first with any template!)

So, as you can see, there are many routes to take when it comes to eLearning development – so no matter how much of an eLearning expert you are (or aren’t), there is definitely a path for you to take. However, if you still need a little bit of help with your decision-making process, our eLearning solutions consultants are on hand to help – get in touch!

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Hannah Waddams

Hannah is a marketing executive here at Omniplex

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