Creating a competitive advantage for your business begins with investing in your employees. Many organizations are learning to navigate a constantly changing technical environment, with new advancements introduced monthly. In order to keep up, it’s vital to ensure your employees have knowledge of the latest technologies.
Whether you are looking to provide training for a specific programming language or want to upskill your IT administrators into developers, it’s important to explore your learning program options.
The differences between off-the-shelf and custom programs
As the name suggests, off-the-shelf training programs are designed to be taken as-is. They consist of pre-built training for specific technical environments and can be an effective way for some employees to learn new skills. Keep in mind that this kind of training is fairly generic, so it is less likely to help your organization reach specific goals. Instead, off-the-shelf training is more universal in nature and covers common requirements in the industry.
This pre-made product is ready for immediate use, is pre-formatted, and is easy to consume. Because it is not tailored to the learning needs of your employees, off-the-shelf training may not engage students as deeply as other options. There is no room to modify content or change learning schedules. However, if off-the-shelf training provides everything you need, it can be an affordable option with less risk since you can see the training ahead of time.
On the other end of the spectrum is customized training and upskilling programs, which are highly tailored to the requirements of an organization. Created specifically for an organization, the curriculum is based on the company’s goals, objectives, and culture. The material is more personalized and has more relevance than off-the-shelf training. While it can take more time to create a customized program as compared to off-the-shelf training which comes out of the box, the delivery time will be shorter, thus reducing a significant number of training hours per employee.
Customized training and upskilling mirror the project requirements of the business, which means that employees learn how to apply their new knowledge and skill to their workplace. This provides additional value to the business as there is a direct correlation between learning material and workplace goals.
A less-common third option is hybrid training, which combines off-the-shelf training with custom solutions. Organizations can use existing off-the-shelf content, add in their own customized materials, and create a course that meets their technical training needs.
Benefits of custom upskilling and training programs
Custom upskilling and training programs are not as widely available as their off-the-shelf counterparts. However, taking a tailored approach provides organizations with many benefits.
- Meeting all learning requirements: Often, off-the-shelf courses don’t fully meet all the learning needs of your team. This is where a custom program can shine. Providers of custom training look at the start and endpoints of the learning path of your employees and use training courses and new material to bridge the gap. This way, the custom course meets all learning requirements and helps organizations to achieve business goals.
- Replicating workplace tasks: Add additional value to the training by ensuring that it covers tasks your employees are required to complete in the workplace. Custom learning programs include projects that replace the work environment, so the employee can test their new knowledge in a familiar scenario.
- Optimizing time spent in training: Often, off-the-shelf courses cover material that employees already know or don’t need before they get to the new learning requirements. With customized training and upskilling, you can include only what your employees need to learn. This shortens the time spent away from work considerably so employees can get back to providing value for the business.
- Delivering multiple learning environments: Custom learning opportunities are typically multi-modal, which means they are delivered to the employees in different ways. These can include e-learning, instructor-led learning, and hands-on labs. Having multiple ways to understand and digest the material leads to greater success for employees.
- Ensuring cost-effectiveness: When it comes to money, it’s not just about the dollars spent but about the value delivered. Custom training and upskilling is highly affordable for organizations. Consider the amount of time your employees need to spend away from work while in training — we minimize this by offering highly customized training that is directly applicable to your workplace, meaning employees can maximize their learning while getting back to work faster.
- Reducing time sourcing training: Finding an off-the-shelf course that meets all learning requirements is time-consuming — and sometimes impossible. With a custom option, it can be quicker to create the training you need.
- Accommodating dynamic content: When technical environments change quickly, it’s beneficial to use custom content that can be updated according to the new requirements. Off-the-shelf courses may not be updated as frequently.
- Reflecting brand identity: Custom training and upskilling materials can be developed to reflect the company’s brand, voice, language, tone, and style. This makes it more engaging and appealing for employees.
Looking for IT training and upskilling options?
Figuring out what kind of IT training and upskilling solutions your organization requires is no easy task. It depends on various factors such as your goals, budget, schedule, and number of learners.
As leaders in technical training and upskilling, we work with large-scale enterprise organizations to determine the best learning solution for their employees. Want to see custom upskilling and training in action? Check out this case study with a Fortune 500 insurance company to see how custom training reduced time away from work while meeting learning goals.