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Why off the shelf content should be a key ingredient in your blend
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Why off the shelf content should be a key ingredient in your blend

Tried and tested off-the-shelf (OTS) eLearning content can help your organisation to achieve learning results quickly. In this article we’ll look at the benefits of OTS content and some of the key reasons for making it the bread and butter of your digital learning blend.

Filling critical skills gaps

Having the right learning content available to fill critical skills gaps at the point of need and to support a variety of different learning styles can be challenging. The careful selection of best-in-class learning packages can deliver the results you need.

From compliance training, IT essentials and core business skills to management and leadership development skills, today’s leading OTS courses have come a long way over the past few years and now offer first-class video, animation and other interactive eLearning elements to inspire, immerse and engages today’s learners effectively.

It’s not surprising then that the worldwide market for generic eLearning is growing and with more online training titles available than ever, organisations are turning to trusted learning providers to help them develop curated eLearning solutions, expertly blended to support key learning needs.

Five reasons for using OTS content

OTS content offers a whole host of benefits. Here are five keys reasons to make it part of your learning mix:

1. Convenient and economical

The cost of licensing an OTS package in most cases will be cheaper than bespoke content. For the same price of a few bespoke courses you can have a whole library of knowledge at your fingertips, ready to support employees at the drop of a hat. And you won’t have to worry about maintenance and updates which is especially important for compliance training where updates driven by regulatory changes will be managed swiftly by the vendor.

2. It’s consistent

The right OTS content offers the promise of a tried and tested solution. When you buy into a library of eLearning, each course is presented in a consistent manner which means the learner doesn’t have to relearn how to navigate and work their way through the content – instead they can complete it quickly and get back to their real job.

3. It’s proven

Every OTS learning content provider has its reputation to live up to. The publisher’s reputation is laid bare when their name is on the box. They must maintain their standards and ensure they deliver products fitting to their reputation.

4. It's ready to go now

One of the greatest benefits of OTS eLearning content is that you can have it tomorrow, not in two or three months time if everything goes well. This makes it particularly attractive for the urgent learning requirements that many organisations face today.

5. It’s better than ever

Modern OTS content has transformed from the all too familiar ‘click-next’ eLearning thanks to better development techniques, improved technology and the skills of today’s instructional designers. Many courses now contain a lot of the ‘bells and whistles’ you might expect in bespoke learning including simple gamification, storytelling, top-class videos, animation and interactive learning scenarios.

Why build when you can buy?

The new generation of OTS eLearning packages really are a world away from their ugly predecessors. With video increasingly being used to create an emotional connection with the learner and simple gamification techniques boosting motivation and engagement levels, the best solutions in the marketplace are delivering greatly improved results. Some are even customisable, offering a more individual experience without the cost and other challenges associated with full bespoke packages.

This leaves the all important question of when to build and when to buy? The beauty of bespoke eLearning is that you get exactly what you want – a solution that meets the personal needs of your learners and business and that can be designed to reflect your brand values. And because you own the course you can roll it out whenever and to anybody you want without any licensing issues which can be more cost-efficient if you have a very large audience.

Bespoke learning provides an opportunity for L&D to really innovate, excite learners and drive transformational change by combining the latest trends and emerging technologies to build a more interactive and immersive learning experience that learners will want to return to time and again.

But for those opportunities where the content is more general and with less of a need to have it customised, OTS remains a good option. Some experienced users of OTS say that if 80 per cent or more of the OTS content is relevant, then OTS is still an attractive choice. Any nuances in the remaining 20 per cent can be addressed by adding some complementary content in another format.

Whether you are looking for show stopping bespoke content that will transform your business or convenient and affordable OTS packages to support specific skills development at the point of need, there is a very valid place for both solutions side by side in today’s modern learning strategies.