Blog entry by Michael Finney
What are the types of online courses available?Basically there are three types of online course packages one can purchase:
- Off the shelf courses. These are great, because you have a large selection to choose from. Often these come in a wide variety of topics and programs. In many cases, they are very cost effective and easy to set up and manage. A drawback is that they are often very generic and do not have the specifics for your company. Overall, off the shelf courses are a quick start to online training.
- White labelled courses. These are very similar to the off the shelf ones, with the some minor modifications. The biggest is that the course theme and designed is tailored more to your company. It carries the look and feel of your logo and colors. In some cases, it might even carry some minor specifics to your company. While still cost effective, white labelled courses will carry a higher price tag than your standard off the shelf courses. While a quick start like off the shelf, some time will be needed to provide the changes.
- Customized courses. Customized courses are the premium of online courses. They are designed to your specific needs and are highly detailed around your company's content. Often they built from the ground up and provide limited generic material. These courses tend to be more costly from a development standpoint. Allow time for custom courses to be deployed, as it can take between 20-90 hrs per course hour for development (depending on content).
Which is the best for you?There are three basic factors when considering which approach is the best for your company or organization.
- Content. Content is definitely king in this situation. What are you trying to accomplish with the online course? What are the needs of the organization? Can it be accomplished with with generic content, or does it require a lot of company specific material?
- Time. As with any project, time is a factor. How quickly do you need to deliver the class? How quickly with the material become stale? What other pressing issues need to be factored in? Are there internal resources one can utilize?
- Costs. I posted this last because it should never be your first consideration. However, what are the budgetary constraints? How does this compare with the other factors? What alternatives can be used to stay within budget?
Think of the three as a triangle, with each on a corner. As you move from one corner to another, you sacrifice one of the components. For example, if you have a very limited budget, are you going to sacrifice the content or the time factors. As well, if you have limited time, are you going to sacrifice the content or the cost factors. Each plays a part in the process, it simply comes down to what carries the greatest priority for your situation.