What’s the Difference Between Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom E-Learning Software

Feb 3
2021
Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom E-Learning Software

When it comes to e-learning software, companies generally have two choices: off-the-shelf e-learning software and custom e-learning software. Depending on the needs of your company, either one might be the right solution. In this article, learn more about the differences between off-the-shelf and custom e-learning software so you can figure out which one is best for your company.

What is Off-the-Shelf E-Learning Software?

Off-the-shelf e-learning software is a platform that you buy to implement, as-is, as your company’s e-learning platform. It is not customized for your company. One reason corporations use e-learning software is for informational or training purposes, which many of these programs can be used for. The e-learning development process is particularly helpful for small businesses that do not have the budget to hire a full-time trainer or to purchase educational materials for the employees. 

Off-the-shelf is actually an application that can be used as is or modified for various reasons and purposes. Because the development process is modular and customizable, companies can simply add videos, podcasts, games, and other tools that will help train their employees in new areas or enhance what they already know. However, off-the-shelf e-learning software is limited in its functionality. You can only do what’s allowable and enabled within the program.

What is Custom E-Learning Software?

Custom e-learning software is like off-the-shelf software, in that your company can use it as a tool to upload and disseminate training to employees. Instead of having to comply or use the format that the off-the-shelf program demands, you can have a custom e-learning software program built that reflects your company’s exact needs, in terms of content, format, and functionality. Instead of paying a licensing fee to use the off-the-shelf program, your company owns the custom e-learning platform that it creates.

Implementation Speed

There are many factors that companies will need to consider when choosing from the variety of off-the-shelf e-learning software options available to them. Implementation speed is one of the more important considerations to think about. Depending on how quickly you need to implement the program, this might have a significant impact on your decision. It takes time for a professional software development company to create your custom software. You will need to schedule a consultation and work through the development process. While there are many benefits to going this route, it is more time consuming. If you need e-learning software next week, it might be better to choose something that’s available off-the-shelf.

Initial Cost

The initial cost of investing in custom e-learning software will be more expensive than an off-the-shelf solutions. Many off-the-shelf e-learning software platforms charge a fee each month or per user. With a custom e-learning software, you pay more upfront for it to be developed, but then your company owns it. You will not have to pay monthly fees to continue to use it or pay per user as your company grows. This can make custom e-learning software the cheaper option over the long term.

Generic Content

One of the benefits of custom e-learning software for companies is that the lessons can be easily tailored according to the individual company. You do not need to use information that came with the e-learning platform that may or may not have anything to do with your company. Instead of using generic content, you can have 100% original content that is perfectly tailored to your company’s needs. 

In some instances, it may not be necessary to invest in custom e-learning software to have original content, as generic content might be enough. For instance, if your company only needs an online platform to teach out proper lifting techniques in a warehouse environment or sexual harassment, you might be able to find an off-the-shelf solution that provides them with the content they need. However, there isn’t generic content available for onboarding, specific operations-related training, or anything that is only covering the information relevant to your company.

Another benefit of custom e-learning software for companies is that they allow the company to revise the modules. If there are parts of the lessons which they aren’t quite sure of, supervisors can take the time to go back and review the section that needs further clarification. They can add content and make it even more relevant for their teams. This means that they can refresh and revise the material whenever they want to, which greatly reduces the amount of training needed from employees. 

As a general rule, companies can benefit from the long-term investment of custom e-learning software, particularly for teaching about topics that are specific to their teams. At KitelyTech, we can help you build and manage custom e-learning software programs that meet your company’s exact specifications and needs. Call us at (312) 254-8248 to learn more.

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