When I first started working with Learning Management Systems, almost all online content was in the form of a SCORM course built with an authoring tool like Lectora or Articulate. Instructional designers would work with subject matter experts (SMEs) to create the content and develop the training materials. Those same Instructional Designers would use fairly complex software to create an interactive online course. It was a costly and time consuming multi-disciplinary process.
In the fall of 2010, The Chapman Alliance conducted a survey of 249 companies and organizations representing nearly 4,000 learning development professionals. They determined that the average cost to create a single hour of basic online training with limited interactions was $10,054. It’s easy to see why many organizations opted to purchase 3rd party content libraries.
Today, the barrier between SMEs and course creation has been greatly reduced. Course authoring tools have been simplified and the modern LMS isn’t limited to SCORM content. An SME can easily create a power point or video presentation that becomes the training content. With many organizations now creating their own custom learning content, is there any place for third party courses in today’s elearning environment?
Here are 5 reasons to consider adding third party training content to your LMS.
1. Why Re-invent the Wheel?
If some portion of your online training covers content that isn’t unique to your business, purchasing online self-paced training may save you time, frustration, and money. Why create a one hour “Excel Pivot Table Tutorial” when you can purchase a professionally developed course for less than $5.00 / user?
2. Course Quality Matters
Commercially developed third party courses benefit from having qualified instructional designers create an engaging well researched course based on established learning theory. By the time a course makes it to an online marketplace, someone has spent considerable time and effort building the best training product that they can. They’re competing with other course authors and, frankly, want to win your business. In addition, online course marketplaces generally have user ratings which will help you quickly identify popular courses with the highest learner satisfaction ratings. In general, this investment and competition will yield a better product than internal development or free online resources.
3. It Takes Time to Curate Free Content
Sure, plenty of information on the web is free these days. Searching YouTube for “Excel Pivot Table Tutorial” yeilds about 630,000 results. Some of these are going to be good. In fact, I’ve previously written about Using YouTube Videos for Learner Engagement. Unfortunately, many of them will be of mediocre quality with a self proclaimed “SME” prattling on with little regard to learner engagement or instructional design. It can take hours to find acceptable content on a free streaming service. Most of us don’t have that kind of time in the day. In addition, most free content cannot be sold due to licensing restrictions.
4. Rapid Deployment
Some organizations find themselves in a situation requiring rapid deployment of training. This can be the result of changing regulations, incident response, or urgent organizational requirement. Purchasing training content is a great way to quickly deploy new training in areas such as diversity awareness, HIPAA requirements, workplace misconduct or other imperatives. Purchased training content can be deployed to learners across the entire enterprise in less time that you would spend just to outline the course.
5. It’s Easy
The Accord LMS contains built-in integration with the Open Sesame online course Marketplace. The Marketplace contains more than 20,000 courses in categories such as Business, Compliance, Safety, Hospitality and Technology. Available courses include a wide range of topics including general business topics like Conflict Management and Developing Your Leadership Style, to very specific industry courses such as OSHA Hydrogen Sulfide Safety or Food Safety Awareness.
Accord Clients can purchase individual ad-hoc courses as well as bundles and subscriptions right from their LMS. Individual course purchases allow you to evaluate the content on a small scale or react to isolated training requirements for a modest price. With Open Sesame built right into your Accord LMS catalog, you essentially have more than 20,000 courses at your fingertips whenever you need them.
Creating a mixed model with custom online content, third party courses, and live training can be an excellent choice for many organizations. For example, a restaraunt franchisor might include their own unique online franchisee training paired with industry standard food handling courses and, of course, live onsite training. Each of these different Learning Elements can be managed within the Accord LMS as one coherent training program.
If you’d like to learn more, check out our webinar recording, Adding Open Sesame Courses to the Accord LMS. We'll look forward to seeing you there.