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Why Use Off-the-Shelf Elearning Content?

If you are looking for elearning solutions you’ll quickly find that there are multiple options available online. 

It is critical for those in Learning and Development to make well informed decisions on which work best for them and the business. Through navigating all the options, decision makers should be sure they understand the varying content types in order to decide the most appropriate. 

One of the most common is off-the-shelf elearning content, and here we explain some of the basics.

Who Creates Off-the-Shelf Content?

Off-the-shelf content is readily available elearning materials created by relevant industry professionals and specialist elearning providers. 

Created and curated around a particular subject matter, off-the-shelf elearning content is usually available for immediate purchase by an individual or organisation. You could be looking for a specific course title or a library of titles. The likelihood is that an elearning company will be available to meet your requirements.

Off-the-shelf elearning content is currently the most prevalent type of online learning available. Its appeal is so broad and it can be applied across most professional learning requirements that there are thousands of providers providing content in multiple languages.

The elearning sector now has courses covering most sectors and industries and it makes up a significant number of resources within the elearning industry.

Learning and Development departments can be purchased for completion by employees on the elearning provider’s site/servers. Content is often deployed via their own online course catalogue or on their own Learning Management System (LMS) or Learning Experience Platform (LXP).

Off the shelf content is available for immediate completion unless any specific customisation to the content is required which may add a short delay while changes are enacted.

Types of Off-the-Shelf Elearning Content

The developments in technology over the last few years has resulted in the types of off-the-shelf content growing and varying hugely. 

Today, there’s a vast variety of such content widely available – making the solutions diverse and flexible enough to meet an assortment of both organisational and individual learning requirements.

These pre-designed courses usually split learning into relevant modules to help improve the comprehension experienced by the user. The course content itself may include:

·         Passages of text for reading

·         Video content

·         Audio content and tracks

·         Interactive assessments and quizzes for on-the-spot learning checks

·         Immersive learning incorporating new tech such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

·         Gamified content to encourage interaction and boosted engagement through play

·         Downloadable apps and resources such as revision cards

·         Microlearning that splits content into small, easy digestible chunks

·         Social learning resources such as file-sharing sites, discussion forums and chat rooms.

The Advantage Of Using Off-the-Shelf Content

Financial, Time and Resource Savings

Off-the-shelf elearning content is considered the most cost-effective method of online course delivery as it’s tested and typically available for immediate usage.

This saves on not just financial resources but also time – both commodities that businesses value. Yet these benefits of such content aren’t all that make it so appealing.

As off-the-shelf learning is pre-packaged, there’s no need for businesses to allocate resources into the curation or customisation of content. Custom development content is expensive and time consuming, if this is a requirement it can be allocated to business critical projects.

Flexible Learning

The sheer variety of formats and topics available through off-the-shelf elearning content makes it an excellent option for both businesses and individuals. Organisations that provide their employees access to a full library may also find that their employees complete other non-compliant titles in their own time. 

Online learning allows courses to be completed as and when, without enforcing specific times or dates as an in-person course would.

This allows employees to manage their own learning pathway, especially valuable in a remote or hybrid working environment. Online learning is easy and suitable for employees whenever they’re free, wherever they may be.

Thorough Learning Analytics

Analytics can be provided and compared by Learning and Development Leads to gain insights on their employees’ development journeys.

Off the shelf courses are often available in formats like SCORM 1.2 or xAPI to allow integration into LMS and LXP platforms. This integration allows for learner analytics. 

The scope of elearning analytics varies through both course and provider, but it is common to be able to access data such as completion rates, retention rates and engagement statistics. 

This allows for organisations to review the effectiveness of the courses and to analyse completion levels and other metrics if required. 

Used in conjunction with feedback from the elearning users themselves, learner engagement programmes can be implemented and can improve online development programmes.

Customisation and Localisation

Off the shelf courses require no customisation, a major advantage is that you can be up and running straight away. 

However if you do requirement customisation or localisation there are options available. Certain suppliers will allow you to customise the content and if you have a specific language requirement may be able to support you. At Real Projects we’ve supported a number of clients with specific language requirements for our off the shelf courses. 

If you are looking for customisation, remember it does take time and you’ll need to budget for the development time, testing and publishing time that is involved in the creation of the course. 

Off-the-Shelf eLearning – What’s Next?

Off-the-shelf elearning has developed a great deal in the last few years, course content has improved and the number of providers continues to develop. We’ve also seen an increase in industry specific providers. 

The quality of content continues to improve with award winning content forming the basis of many content libraries, flexible learning solutions and interactive courses. 

Organisations have much to benefit from the use of off-the-shelf learning with it offering solutions accessible anywhere, at any time and for anyone.

With guaranteed content quality high and a vast number of topics easily available for learners to dive straight into, the possibilities are endless. There are specialist providers on-hand to help to guide, advise and educate on how best to curate such content to meet your business’ needs. 

If you need help with you latest elearning library get in touch at hello@realprojects.co.uk 

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