Written by: Our Partners at GO1
Custom content used to be favored by learning professionals as it promised organizations perfect-fit training content. But things are shifting in favor of off-the-shelf content. Why? The answer lies in cost, maintenance, and manageability. While it’s true that custom content offers an exact fit at the get-go, it can be significantly more expensive. And, as a company scales and changes over time, so do its learning needs, making the cost of custom content an increasing burden to bear. On top of that, laws, regulations, and best practices evolve, meaning it can be difficult (and costly) for companies to update learning content.
Keep in mind: When opting for OTS content, you need a firm grasp of your needs, goals, and vision. Reactively selecting content leads to a messy and unmanageable monolith of providers that is not only slow-to-scale but impossible to track. Help define and optimize your content journey by asking yourself these questions.
1. What are your current and future L&D content goals?
You may have clear, immediate needs, such as training your employees on new compliance measures coming into effect in two months’ time. But what about your long-term training goals? In the quarter and the year ahead, is your company rolling out initiatives that will require new skills? Does your workforce need a refresher on soft, technical, and/or leadership skills?
2. Who is your audience?
Your workforce is not homogenous so it’s important to target your L&D content toward specific learning audiences within your organization. Identify these target audiences by considering what employees need to learn, where their skills gaps fall, and what their goals are.
3. What types of content formats are required?
You have many more options beyond the typical 30- or 60-minute guided formats. Many employees prefer microlearning — 5- to 15-minute training modules they can easily fit into their workflows. Some may learn visually through animated content, while others prefer to have an expert deliver information live or via teleconferencing. Consider, too, whether your existing formats are engaging and effective, or whether you need a fresh approach. Knowing your audience is key to choosing the most suitable formats.
4. Are you using content for employee recruitment and retention?
L&D is an effective tool for recruiting and retaining employees: LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report states that 94% of employees would stay with a company longer if the company was investing in their career. For organizations with recruitment and retention goals, personal and professional development courses focusing on soft and managerial skills should be a go-to.
5. Do you need content and employee data tracking and reporting capabilities?
As your organization scales, your learning content will need to keep up. The ability to track and report will be important as you acquire more categories and modes of content. In order to scale effectively, you need to have a good grasp of your data and key performance indicators: What are you measuring to determine success? With multiple content providers, how will you unify that data so that you can make better decisions?
Anyone working with learning content is bound to stumble on one of these questions. One of the ways to optimize the discovery, management, and scale of your L&D efforts is to engage a content partner like GO1. Content partners help you discover your content needs, acquire the right content, customize and update as needed, and help you track critical performance indicators. Organizations like Goodwill and Delta are already purchasing OTS content in partnership with GO1 — leading to a more cost-effective, targeted, efficient, and scalable system.