When To Use Custom eLearning Versus Off-The-Shelf Courses

When To Use Custom eLearning Versus Off-The-Shelf Courses
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Summary: Custom eLearning courses address the specific needs of your employees and the business needs of your organization. Whereas off-the-shelf courses offer ready-made learning solutions for immediate use. This article explains the various benefits of custom eLearning and off-the-shelf courses.

Why Custom eLearning Best Suits Training Needs

eLearning content refers to the learning or training materials that are offered to your employees using online learning platforms. eLearning content can be accessed via digital devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. You can deliver eLearning content through a variety of channels, including Learning Management Systems (LMSs), online courses, and virtual classrooms.

You can design your own eLearning courses in-house with your team of L&D professionals using themes specific to your organization and offer them to your employees. These are called custom eLearning courses. Or else, you can purchase ready-made eLearning courses from outside eLearning vendors and providers and offer them to your employees. These are known as off-the-shelf courses. This article explains when to use custom eLearning courses and off-the-shelf courses.

Custom eLearning Courses

Training industry experts often state that adult learners learn new knowledge when they see its relevance to the job and when they know how to apply the information to their job. The learning and training should be relevant to achieving success in their present job roles. Since most of the corporate employees are adult learners, designing the relevant learning content becomes a challenge. This is where custom eLearning comes into the picture. Custom eLearning refers to tailor-made eLearning content, which is designed as per the requirement of your employees. It helps to enhance employee engagement and improves the overall business process in your organization.

Custom eLearning courses are specifically designed for your employees based on their training needs, job roles, and business needs and strategies of your organization. Custom eLearning courses help to improve overall productivity and create a positive ROI by enabling your employees to develop new skills and competencies.

Benefits Of Custom eLearning Courses

You can use custom eLearning solutions to deliver key concepts and important information to your employees in real time. This is especially useful for frontline staff, sales, and marketing teams who are at the forefront and present the information on products and services to customers and talk to the final consumers directly.

Custom eLearning content developed using modern Instructional Design and visual design principles will certainly create an impactful learning experience for the learners. You can use a variety of learning design formats like scenarios, interactivities, gamification, animations, and videos in your custom eLearning courses to keep learners engaged and involved.

When To Use Custom eLearning Courses

When you want to provide eLearning training to your employees on internal policies, processes, standard operating procedures (SOPs), company-specific initiatives or strategies, job-specific skills or competencies, employee orientation programs, training on in-house business expertise, etc., you can use custom eLearning solutions.

When you want to specifically design courses using content, colors, themes, and images that are unique to your organization, then you can implement custom eLearning design. When you want to design training modules for your employees with practical knowledge on how to perform various operations, workstreams, etc., in your business or organization, then custom eLearning solutions are a suitable choice for you.

Off-The-Shelf Courses

Off-the-shelf courses are ready-made learning solutions that are ready for immediate purchase and use. They usually cover all the topics of generic nature in a corporate setting. For example, they cover topics like compliance training, specific industry knowledge, soft skills development, employee onboarding, health and safety, etc. You can also include a wide variety of multimedia resources like videos, interactivities, animations, games, simulations, knowledge checks, PDFs, etc., in off-the-shelf courses.

The courses provide access to learning and training materials which have been developed by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), industry experts, and experienced Instructional Designers. The courses are generally preformatted to deploy in most Learning Management Systems. It allows the learners to start learning right away. These courses can be purchased as a single license, bundled package, or through a subscription.

Benefits Of Off-The-Shelf Courses

The benefits of off-the-shelf eLearning courses are that they save time and resources for the organization. The organization need not develop the courses from scratch. Since these courses typically address common training needs across industries and job roles, organizations can easily implement the training programs without any modification or customization. Cost savings are another benefit of off-the-shelf eLearning courses. Building custom eLearning courses takes time and expertise, and thus may demand comparatively more revenue. Off-the-shelf eLearning courses can save time, resources, and revenue for the organization. These courses can be easily uploaded into the organization's LMS, website, or other content hosting solution. Learners can download and learn the courses whenever they want.

When To Use Off-The-Shelf Courses

When you want to provide training to your employees on work-related technologies (like Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Office), IT-related topics (like cybersecurity, phishing, and password security), general business skills (like negotiations, presentations, managing stress, and leadership), HR-related topics (like general onboarding, code of conduct, diversity and inclusion, conflict resolution, compliance), you can use off-the-shelf eLearning courses.


Both custom eLearning courses and off-the-shelf courses have their own advantages and disadvantages. The selection of the courses mainly depends on the purpose, duration, and budget allocation. In custom eLearning, the learning content is organized to minimize the cognitive load on the learners. Thus, it increases the learners' understanding and results in better retention. Custom eLearning courses are a better choice for corporate training when compared to off-the-shelf courses.

We, at Tesseract Learning, offer a plethora of training solutions, including custom eLearning courses and off-the-shelf courses, for various industry verticals. Author your courses on the agile KREDO learning platform or have our L&D team craft amazing learning experiences for your employees. You can also create your own courses on our authoring tool, Prodient.

Leverage the services of the SmartChoice Preferred Solution Provider by Brandon Hall Group for the second year in a row. We provide end-to-end execution of the complete Learning and Development cycle and learning consultation.

Contact me or leave a comment below to learn more about our services and how we can help you.

eBook Release: Tesseract Learning Pvt Ltd
Tesseract Learning Pvt Ltd
Tesseract Learning works with global organizations improve employee performance through spectrum of digital learning solutions. Solutions include eLearning, mobile learning, Microlearning, game based learning, AR/VR, Adaptive learning amongst others.