With the technological advancements and availability of high-speed internet and smartphones in recent decades, the learning domain has seen a drastic transformation. Overseeing the increasing demand for eLearning courses in different areas, one of the most trending and profitable businesses nowadays is starting an eLearning platform. But one of the biggest confusions for the eLearning entrepreneurs is whether to go with a ready-made eLearning solution or to pick custom eLearning development?
In this article, we will try to end the confusion for the eLearning entrepreneurs and will answer one of the most popular questions of today’s time, Which are better, ready-made or custom eLearning solutions? We will talk in detail regarding both the methodologies and will come to a conclusion as to why one is better than the other.
So let us first understand what is a ready-made and customized eLearning solution one by one.
What is a Ready-Made eLearning Solution?
A ready-made eLearning solution also called shelf eLearning software is based on the principle “one size for all”. In ready-made eLearning solutions, the software developing company invests their own money, time, and efforts to come up with an eLearning solution creating it from scratch. After the shelf eLearning software is developed by the vendors, they sell these as ready-made products to numerous clients.
Ready-made eLearning solutions are created by the vendors after researching popular business models so that the product developed is updated with the latest trends in the market. Ready-made eLearning solutions are the safest options when you have a profitable business idea in your mind.
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What is a Customized eLearning Solution?
In custom eLearning development, the software is created as per your business and project requirement to make you achieve your set goals with respect to eLearning. The major requirement of the solution here is to transform the corporate training content into high-quality, engaging, and interactive content that is easily available to all your corporate employees or learners is all you need to boost learner performance.
Customized eLearning solution is based on the fact that every business has its different sets of requirements depending upon the business model, projects, organizational culture, and finances. It is hard for some businesses and organizations to invest in a ready-made eLearning solution and therefore, custom eLearning course development is the best approach for entrepreneurs and business persons whose business requirements change with time. Custom eLearning solutions can be used to train employees, learners, and provide in-house software systems training. In short, you need custom solutions to implement corporate eLearning within an organization.
OneRead specializes in creating customized eLearning solutions to develop an impactful learning experience for the end users. OneRead creates custom eLearning content which is an effective blend of interactive eLearning courses including elements like case studies, animations, stories, quizzes, games, etc, to make the learning process interactive and engaging for the end users.
OneRead has been serving its global client base for years now and the best thing that the customers like about it is the customized approach. The professionals at OneRead are trained well to understand the client’s content development requirement and work closely with them to come up with appropriate learning solutions that can provide expected results to help them meet set goals in specific deadlines and budgets.
Which One is Better: Ready-Made or Customized eLearning Solution?
1. Cost Efficient
Customized solutions are created specifically for a customer depending upon the project and business requirement and therefore these cannot be resold. Also, it is not possible for the vendors to provide an exact estimate to the customers before creating a customized eLearning software as the vendor needs to consider numerous factors including complexity, money, time, testing, implementation, and maintenance.
Comparing the two on the basis of cost efficiency, ready-made solutions are less expensive than custom eLearning solutions to fulfil business requirements. The reason behind ready-made solutions being less expensive is that these solutions are based on the principle of “one size for all” and so can target a larger audience and can be resold. With ready-made solutions, the vendor can market the software as a commodity and can sell it to numerous customers globally.
The vendors who create ready-made solutions can provide an exact cost estimate to the client including the fixed maintenance and support costs. As a result, pre-made solutions are much less expensive than custom eLearning production.
2. Easier Implementation
Talking about which one of the two is easier to implement, there are two things that we need to consider.
One is that both the ready-made and the customized eLearning solutions are easier to implement for the business owner as nowadays vendors themselves manage development, deployment, and maintenance.
With both types of solutions, the business owner need not worry about the implementation part but yet there is one other side that makes both the solutions poles apart from each other and that factor is acquisition cost.
Customized eLearning solutions are always at the minimum risk of getting bugs and errors and the reason behind this is that the vendors already test the solutions rigorously before handing them over to the clients. Therefore, there are fewer chances of you getting bugs and issues while testing or using the solution at your workplace.
On the other hand, ready-made eLearning solutions are always at the risk of getting more bugs and errors. The reason behind this is that ready-made eLearning solutions are developed using a standard format and are unable to satisfy the requirements of the different users. Therefore, with a ready-made eLearning solution, you should get ready to test it at your workplace before using it officially, so that the solution can serve the purpose for which you have purchased it.
Therefore, we can say that ready-made eLearning solutions are more stable and bug-free and are easier to deploy or implement.
One of the features that make the software user-friendly is its easily customizable interface to fulfil the future needs of the users. By easier customization we mean that the software should allow easy modification of the codes, removing useless features, adding new features, etc. The software that is open for customization allows code access that makes the developers modify and update the software to meet the future requirements of the users.
Though a vendor can develop a customized eLearning solution depending upon the customer’s requirement, the software will be considered customizable only if it will be designed to favor easy modifications and customizations without breaking the present codes. Also, the developed software should follow a standard coding practice, this will make it easier for the developers to identify the codes and make the required changes.
On the other hand, things are on the easier end for the ready-made eLearning solutions when it comes to customization as you can check whether a ready-made software is customizable or not just by checking whether it offers open-source code access and follows modular coding practices. Always keep in mind that the market is full of various SaaS-based, open-source code and self-hosted ready-made eLearning solutions out of which SaaS-based ready-made solutions are not customizable, and neither do they offer source code access, and only open-source code and self-hosted eLearning solutions are customizable.
Therefore, we can say that both the type of solutions including ready-made and custom eLearning solutions are customizable depending upon whether the vendors are offering source code access to modify the codebase.
4. Third-party Integrations
There is a deep philosophy behind the third-party integrations of the solutions and the purpose of the integrations is to avoid “reinventing the wheel.” To be clear, this means that you should develop or create a new solution from scratch when a similar or same solution is already available in the market.
Therefore, you can use application programming Interface Integration (API Integration) to incorporate a ready-made third-party solution in your project. Suppose, if you need LMS for your eLearning platform, then you do not need to develop a new LMS from scratch and can rather use Moodle or any other LMS already available in the market. You should only create a new LMS if you have a very unique requirement that can be fulfilled by creating a customized LMS.
Talking about the customized eLearning solutions, these can be made friendlier to third-party integrations. But this has to be specifically taken care of in the initial stages of developing the software specifically while preparing its blueprint. Anybody can easily make the custom eLearning solutions integrable with third-party solutions using standard code practice.
Even this can be done for the ready-made solutions too while developing them from the scratch. A vendor can make a ready-made eLearning solution friendlier to third-party integrations and the user can test them before purchasing them. Users can even go with other alternatives if they find that a specific ready-made eLearning solution fails to offer third-party integrations.
Therefore, we can say that both the ready-made and the customized eLearning solutions are friendlier to third-party integrations. The only difference is that most of the ready-made eLearning software is made friendly to API integrations by default while you can ask your vendor to make the customized eLearning solution third-party integrations friendly as per your requirement. When it comes to third-party integrations, both the options have different alternatives and you just need to pick a suitable vendor for yourself.
5. Easier Upgrades
One of the important elements that make software user-friendly is easy upgrades. But the point is what kind of upgrade feature do you want your software to have? Is it the ease of access to the source code to perform upgrades by yourself, or the ease of receiving upgrades through OTA from your vendor?
If your priority is the ease of access to the source code, then definitely custom eLearning development will be your best bet. Also, self-hosted turnkey solutions offer a similar level of ease of access to the source code for the ready-made solutions. But if your priority is the ease of receiving upgrades through OTA from your vendor, then SaaS-based ready-made solutions will be your best bet and you can choose the above-customized eLearning solutions to fulfill business requirements. The fact is that the customized eLearning solutions offer you the flexibility to upgrade the software and make the required modifications in the source code by yourself.
On the other hand, ready-made solutions offer vendor-originated upgrades and you cannot manually upgrade the software and make the required modifications in the source code by yourself.
The important thing to note here is that if you will try to upgrade or install updates in the ready-made software, it can be quite challenging if you have customized the software on your end. In such a scenario, you must ask your vendor to assist you in installing the upgrades on a customized readymade eLearning solution.
If your priority is the ease of access to the source code, then definitely custom eLearning development will be your best bet.
6. Competitive Advantage
With customized software, that is specifically designed as per your business requirements, you can take the competitive advantage of the features that won’t be available for others as customized software are not generic and serve the requirements of specific business professionals. Therefore, with customized eLearning solutions, you can get unique features that you can use for your business activities and can take a competitive edge over your competitors, who do not use your customized solution.
On the other hand, ready-made solutions do not offer such a competitive advantage to business owners. As ready-made eLearning solutions are generic software that is used by a vast audience, therefore, there will not be any unique feature that you can use which is not available with your competitors in your domain. So, you can not take any competitive advantage by using ready-made eLearning solutions.
The most important point here is that in recent years ready-made eLearning solutions have gained good flexibility when it comes to customizing the software and including specific features apart from the standard features that the software comes pre-loaded with. With such flexibility in hand and access to the source code, you can yourself add exclusive features to the ready-made software.
Comparing both in terms of the competitive advantages that they offer, and coming to the results, customized eLearning solutions are capable of providing the best competitive advantages if you have eLearning platform functionality in mind along with a specific business concept. On the other hand, if you are using ready-made eLearning solutions for your business needs, then you can include limited flexibility of adding the exclusive features if the vendor provides the source code.
We are Experts in Creating Customized eLearning Experiences
Depending upon the requirement we can create customized online training courses that can capture the learner’s attention as we use interactive elements including good narratives, dynamic design, and job-relevant storylines.
We have expertise in recreating or converting your existing PDFs, PPTs, or paper-based training content into effective and interactive eLearning content.
One of the biggest confusions for the eLearning entrepreneurs is whether to pick a customized or a ready-made eLearning solution to serve their business requirements. In this article, we tried to end the confusion for the eLearning entrepreneurs and discussed in detail different aspects of each type of solution. Also, we highlighted the points where customized eLearning solutions can take the edge and the one where ready-made solutions can be a good fit.
You can definitely go through each point discussed in this article and can decide which ones are your priority and which one of the customized or ready-made eLearning solutions will be a better pick for you.