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eLearning content: Make or Buy? When creating is better than purchasing

4 min. read
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At one point or another, many companies find themselves faced with a decision: buy eLearning content or create it themselves? "Make or buy?" In the article, you'll learn all the pros and cons that will help you make that decision.

Once companies have decided to use eLearning for continuing education, L&D experts are faced with the second big decision: should they produce the eLearning content themselves? Or should content be purchased from external parties?

At first glance, "make or buy" is purely a question of resources: producing content for eLearning in the company yourself costs valuable working time. Many companies opt for the seemingly easy way here: buying eLearning content is, after all, faster. But that's not always a good decision.

Why context is important for "make or buy"

In addition to time and budget, there's another factor at play: context. For eLearning to be successful in organizations, a number of aspects need to be aligned:

  • The topic must be relevant to the employees learning.
  • The content must match the learning level and learning behavior of the employees.
  • The learning objectives in the eLearning course must match the learning objective in the company.

These points not only apply to purchased eLearning content – context is just as important for self-developed eLearning done in the company. In both cases, if the content is not relevant to the learner's daily workflow, knowledge, or goals, success suffers. Therefore, you should not underestimate the "context" factor when making your decision.

With context in mind, we now come to the original question: what are the advantages and disadvantages of purchased (BUY) and self-created (MAKE) eLearning? And when to utilize which variant in your company?

BUY: eLearning for companies

Let's start with eLearning that you can buy off the shelf: Today, there are countless providers of ready-made eLearning courses on the market. The array of courses is huge.

eLearnings: make or buy? Benefits of buying

 Advantages of purchased eLearnings:

  1. Buying courses is usually faster than producing your own content.
  2. Companies save on staff development time and in-house trainers.
  3. Design and quality control are handled by the provider.

 Disadvantages of purchased eLearnings:

  1. Content may not fit the context because it is not precisely tailored to employees and company goals.
  2. Purchased courses are "rigid": individual requirements of employees or departments may not be met.
  3. There is usually no direct contact person to whom employees can turn in case of queries, problems or requests regarding the content.
  4. eLearning content cannot be updated or adapted to learners in a timely manner.

Bottom line on BUY: When should companies buy e-learning?

Buying digital content or complete courses can be worthwhile for companies in some situations. Especially if the following apply to your planned activity:

  • You're planning standard training that doesn't need to be customized to the company. For example, courses on: occupational safety, hygiene training, or basic training on common software.
  • eLearning courses must be available to large groups of learners with very little lag time, despite possible sacrifices in quality.
  • There are standard eLearnings available on the market that fit exactly the context of the employees and the goal of the company.

Free checklist

Launching eLearning successfully in companies

When launching e-learning, companies need to consider many things to avoid organizational chaos and unnecessary costs. In this free checklist you will find all the important steps. Just check off and get going.

To the free checklist for eLearning

MAKE: Develop eLearning for companies yourself

According to the latest benchmarking study by the E-Learning Journal, over 50% of companies create their eLearning content in-house. They use special authoring tools for this purpose. They distribute it via their own or purchased/rented learning platforms.

blink.it: eLearning make or buy

 Advantages of purchased eLearnings:

  1. You can perfectly adapt the e-learning content to the needs of employees and the company's goals.
  2. Learning content can be updated independently and in a timely manner.
  3. With your own eLearnings, there is no limit on the number of users, which is common with purchased e-learnings.
  4. Your company has full ownership of the e-learnings and is therefore independent of external contracts or contractual restrictions.
  5. You can determine which formats and media are used during planning: microlearning, video training or blended learning, for example.
  6. Your own eLearnings support employer branding: the design, content, approach and culture conveyed are a perfect match for your company.

 Disadvantages of purchased eLearnings:

  1. Your company must have or provide the necessary time resources.
    Content creators need knowledge about didactics, conception and creation of eLearnings.
  2. If no one in the company has this knowledge, the content creators must be trained first. Or you can use external consultants or trainers.
  3. Depending on the learning platform and authoring tool, the costs (direct and indirect) can be higher than for purchased eLearning.

Conclusion MAKE: When should companies produce eLearnings themselves?

In-house e-learnings offer companies a variety of advantages. Especially in the following cases, companies, employees and HR developers benefit from in-house production:

  • Content for e-learnings is confidential or proprietary, and may not be shared with external providers.
  • The company has sufficient resources in terms of time and knowledge for its own eLearnings.
  • Your company attaches great importance to individual offers for employees and employer branding.
  • You need eLearning for different employee groups or in different languages.
  • Your company wants to create an internal knowledge database with permanently available and always up-to-date information.
  • You can't find standard courses that fit your employees' needs and company goals.

Conclusion: Should companies buy eLearning or create it themselves?

Both options have many advantages and disadvantages that you need to weigh. There is no one-size-fits-all answer for every company, but the following applies: for short-term and isolated online learning opportunities, standard courses are often a good solution. If the goal is to switch to eLearning in the long term and train the entire workforce online, it's worth producing your own e-learning.

Tip: If you’re unsure, get an expert opinion! If you use blink.it in the Enterprise package, your Customer Success Manager is there to support you: they can help you plan and implement your own eLearnings, as well as arrange high-quality BUY offers for blink.it platforms.

Important for in-house production: The learning platform

When producing your own eLearning, you should take care to conserve existing resources. Choosing the right learning platform is especially important: the platform should be easy to use in order to save time during training and content creation. If you don't want to do without, choose a complete system that combines a learning management system and an authoring tool.

The learning platform blink.it focuses on simple operation and intuitive user interface. Make an appointment now for your free demo and launch eLearning in your company.

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