“Why should I use custom content?” Probably a thought every learning and development professional has considered. Off the Shelf content libraries provide resources with a lower initial price tag and time commitment over a massive number of subjects.
Why spend the money developing custom content for your business?
While both off the shelf and custom content have their place, custom content provides a level of agility and performance indispensable for many companies.
Here are the top 4 benefits you gain by using custom content.
1) Combats Disengagement
One of the biggest reasons employees disengage from training is because they do not feel that content applies to their job. Real world examples, industry relevant terms, learning games , and workplace simulations capture the attention of the learner by creating a more personal connection. As a result, custom content designed to fit your company generates greater engagement and makes the most of every minute devoted to training.
2) Content Optimization
Custom content gives you the ability to update and edit content to best fit your needs: while developing, after initial results, and throughout the lifetime of the content. Change the font, change the look, and change the feel to best match your company culture. In addition, custom content can be updated in response to employee feedback and changing business environments, keeping the content up to date, and strengthening the connection between company and employee.
3) Greater Return on Investment
Custom Content requires more time and money up front than off the shelf content, but over the lifetime of the content, custom content creates a higher return on the investment. When you purchase custom content, you own the content. The high initial investment pays off because updating content is often much less expensive then reoccurring fees from content libraries. For many businesses, custom content actually saves money in the long run.
4) Decrease Formal Training Time
Although custom content takes longer to develop than pre-built content, you will gain this time back in the efficiency of custom content. The 70/20/10 framework tells us that we need to shrink the amount of formal training and the best way to do that is with content that leaves out all of the fluff. This fluff shows up in pre-built content to successfully create mass appeal, but if it doesn’t relate back to your specific needs, it is a waste of time. Custom content allows your message to be hyper-targeted, which is the best use of your limited time dedicated to formal training (10%).
Custom content requires a larger initial investment, but using agile content development and management practices, you can shrink this investment and achieve a higher lifetime value. Of course, pre-built content will never go away completely, but with over 2.5 million pieces of content being produces every minute on Facebook alone, you need to be sure your content is relevant and engaging enough to maximize your investment. If you can accomplish this with pre-built content and save some money in the process, go for it!