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What is the Purpose of off the shelf elearning content?

Searching online for elearning content uncovers a seemingly endless variety of options from countless providers offering differing subject matter, accreditations and personalisation choices.

The most popular available elearning courses are those compiled of off-the-shelf content – but is it suitable for you and your organisation? 

What is off the shelf elearning content? 

There is no set definition for off-the-shelf elearning content, but it can be broadly defined as online courses that have been pre-designed and developed for use by learners. 

They are available immediately often via an Learning Management System (LMS) or Learning Experience Platform (LXP). If you don’t have an LXP or LMS you don’t need to worry you can still access off the shelf elearning content via website platforms like course source and open sesame.

These online platforms allow you to access off the shelf elearning content via their online LMS and often provide access to reports as well as content.

Courses are completed online via a provider or through the company LMS or LXP. As a pre-packaged elearning course, the content is usually not suitable for edits or amends and often has a relevant industry accreditation. Courses are often available with CPD accreditation. There are also other accreditation available like ROSPA and industry specific accreditation boards.  

Off-the-shelf elearning content is available in a range of subjects covering various industries and sectors. Courses often cover general and basic topical training, the development of soft skills, specific technical training, compliance and governance mandatory training.

Sector specific training is often available with content libraries that support niche and specialised areas. The larger providers will also cover very sector specific content but if you have a content requirement that is specific to your industry you might want to find an industry specific library.  

Why use off the shelf elearning content?

Off-the-shelf elearning content can be utilised by both individuals and businesses.

In a corporate or professional environment elearning courses are usually used as a quick, easy and flexible way to deliver consistent training to all employees.

With remote, flexible and hybrid working practices having increased in recent years, elearning presents companies with the ability to deploy online training quickly and effectively across their distributed workforce. 

Large companies and organisations have large numbers of employees and off the shelf courses provide them with the ability to deliver content regardless of what time zone they’re in.

Computer showing online courses online

Off the shelf elearning content – what are the benefits?

Immediate Availability and Time Efficiency

Off-the-shelf elearning solutions are accessible immediately, which allows organisations to deploy content quickly to their employees.

Combined with the lack of need for the development time associated with bespoke content  most courses can be rolled out as soon as they’re purchased – saving on time and resources throughout both Learning & Development and IT departments.

Cost Effectiveness

All functions within organisations require some form of training and for those who operate in many specialised sectors,  the requirements can be complex and detailed.

Organisations have traditionally put together their own learning pathway and curriculum, often at heavy financial cost. There is a considerable cost involved in creating your own bespoke development library due to the time, resources and effort required.

Off-the-shelf elearning content provides a cost-effective solution without the need for specialised talent hire, streamlining (and often extending) of overall project budgets or increasing development costs.

Specialised content development does occur at organisations, these projects usually require an in-house development team. The team will often consist of subject matter experts, relationship managers, instructional designers, animators, programmers and graphic designers.

Expertise and Quality

There are a number of off the shelf course providers offering content for most sectors. The quality continues to develop and grow with customers able to review and demo content before they select a provider.

Custom content development will always be a requirement for some company specific content off the shelf; content now provides a high quality product often delivered by the same custom development teams. 

Off the shelf elearning content – what about using a platform?

There are specialist companies who offer courses covering a specialised content as well as multi-subject platforms that combine a variety of course content into a virtual marketplace. 

The most suitable for any individual or organisation is dependent on requirements and specifications, but there is a range of options due to the sheer variety available.

OpenSesame is one of the biggest elearning platforms and currently boasts a portfolio of over 20,000 courses ready for immediate download. 

Their flexible licensing options allow for users to buy either just the courses they want or have unlimited access to the library. Organisations are able to download off-the-shelf content onto their own LMS.

One of the most popular elearning platforms for businesses is Go1, who have over 100,000 resources available at any one time.

Every course is available for immediate usage on the Go1 site or for download onto a customer’s existing LMS spanning libraries catering for topics under Business Skills, Technology Skills, Safety and Compliance, and Personal Development. 

Off the shelf elearning content – choice

Whether businesses choose to include bespoke content or off the shelf content there is a range of options available.

Within their employee training and development packages, off-the-shelf elearning courses can work brilliantly to educate, inform and empower learners.

The variety and quality of off-the-shelf elearning content developed by certain providers now presents a feasible L&D option for businesses of all shapes, sizes and types across industries. 

Those working in training departments are now trying to identify, purchase and implement the most appropriate elearning solutions for their organisations. With the vast number of courses available they are looking for off the shelf courses to engage, inform and help the employees that they are responsible for. Fortunately there are excellent options available and suppliers are looking to develop excellent off the shelf solutions. 

Elearning opens up an unrivalled amount of development opportunities to employees worldwide – and as it’s more accessible than ever, the time is now for companies to take advantage of the potential.  

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