When identifying what courses are best for your organization’s online learning program, it’s critical to find an option best suited for the specific needs of your team. It is important to ensure that the course is comprehensive and meets all of the industry standards in order for your team members to find it useful.

Before you invest in a course, it’s important to know if it checks all your organizational boxes. An incomplete program may lead to your team receiving inadequate training that could leave them unable to perform their responsibilities.

That’s why it may make sense to look into building a custom course for your online training program. This article will outline:

  • The advantages of building a custom course
  • When to build instead of buy
  • Questions to ask before building a custom course

Taking a deeper dive into the three aforementioned topics will help you make a more informed decision on whether to opt for a pre-existing course or to maximize your course’s effectiveness by designing it yourself.

Advantages of Custom Courses

1. Aligns with Company Values 

Building a custom course allows you to craft a learning experience which aligns with your company’s values. It will be 100% tonally consistent with your brand because it enables you to incorporate your company’s logos and color scheme while also including specific company policies and procedures. An externally designed course may have materials that are defined prior to purchase and that you are unable to adapt to fit your organization.  

2. Target Audience Needs  

While staying brand consistent through custom courses, you are also able to target your audience’s needs better than a third party. You know what your team members are likely to respond to and how they learn which makes it easier to build a course that optimizes how you communicate the relevant information your team needs to hear. Building a custom course also allows you to employ examples relevant to your business or industry. This will engage your users rather than non-specific examples that won’t apply to your market.  

3. Continually Update  

One final advantage of a custom course: the ability to update it as changes occur within your industry. You can update a custom course whenever you need to. Buying a course can be a more static experience, without the versatility and flexibility your learning program may require. If you work in an industry with ever-changing requirements, this could be a major challenge.


When to Build Instead of Buy

Buying courses and building custom courses each have their advantages. To decide on which one to use, it ultimately depends on the objective of the training you are providing your employees. There are two key indicators where building a custom course may help train your employees more.  

1. Specific Company Needs 

Each company communicates, operates, and executes results differently. There are some areas that an off the shelf course can not teach your employees. This may include:

  • New product releases
  • Company-specific certifications
  • Organizational culture
  • Company-specific examples
  • Industry-specific compliance laws
  • Special accomplishments

Buying off the shelf content is best for when companies need employees to learn generic skills such as Leadership Development or Microsoft Excel Training. This is because buying these pre-designed courses are cheaper and not time intensive to select. However, when you need to train employees on specific areas related to your business, building custom courses will produce a greater impact on learning objectives. This is especially true if you need to train your team members on the uses or benefits of a product, specifically one created by your company. No external training course is going to be able to capture the knowledge your organization has about a product that company designed from scratch.



2. Increase Management Engagement 

It is also best to build a course if you want to increase management’s engagement with the training program. Leadership will be more likely to support and buy-in to a training program they had a hand in creating. Allowing them to provide input into the training also ensures your organization is reinforcing the goals and objectives of your management team. Incorporating management into the training development process is a great way to make sure the training is consistent with their values.


Questions to Ask Before Building a Custom Course

Before you embark on your course-building journey, there are a few questions your organization should ask itself.  

What content do you already own? 

When you identify the need for online training, you should first determine what content you have at your disposal. If you have the requisite information and materials to inform a comprehensive training program, it may be redundant to seek an external option.  

What type of content do you need? 

What is it that you want your users to get out of the training experience specifically?

  • Do you need them to learn specific policies or perform a certain task?
  • Do they need to know how to operate a specific product?
  • Do they need to be made aware of laws or other regulations that impact their ability to do their jobs?

Consider what type of content you need when deciding the best way to communicate it to your audience. 

What audience are you targeting? 

Are they your internal employees and staff? External stakeholders such as contractors or consultants? This will impact the amount of company information you share within the course as well as how the course is designed. 

What are your expectations for the content? 

When the training program is complete, will you need your users to perform a function? Will they need to possess knowledge about a specific rule or set of guidelines? Before you begin the course-building process, you should be able to visualize the finish line. Know the end goal of where you want your users to be so you can appropriately define your expectations for them as you develop the content.


Start Building Custom Courses

Building a custom course allows you to have much more flexibility in implementing an online training program. This will lead to a much more effective course sure to leave your users with a better understanding of the course content and, in turn, a better ability to do their job.

If you start creating new training content plans and realize that you could use some help creating those modules, feel free to contact us at Knowledge Anywhere and inquire about our Course Development.


Knowledge Anywhere specializes in providing organizations with a variety of elearning solutions, such as their Learning Management System, Virtual Reality Training solutions, course creation offerings. They have also created elearning tools such as QuickQuiz, an elearning Slack App, and SCORMify, an app that turns videos and documents into SCORM compliant courses.

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