With how popular Online Education is today, the eLearning Marketplace is saturated with various courses to choose from. Looking up almost any topic will give you tons of options which is great news for all of the curious learners out there.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for the Instructors because, with the abundant courses available online, it is getting harder and harder to come up with course content that can stand out against the test of competition.
Hence, on this note, we’ve brought an interesting topic of discussion to the table and that is which is the best choice for your eCourse — Creating or Buying Content? So without further ado, let’s get right into it!
What is Content
Before we get any further, it is time to define what exactly can be construed as ‘Content’. While the actual word has many meanings, according to the Oxford Dictionary, Content in this context means “Information made available by a website or any other electronic medium”.
When it comes to eLearning, Content is the materials and resources you need to teach your course. You can even say that the Content is the Course. Your teaching skills won’t matter if you don’t give students the information they’re looking for so it is imperative that you design it wisely.
And while Course Content can be in the form of written lectures, it is not limited to just that. With the help of a powerful tool like Tutor LMS, you can not only share Content in the form of lecture notes but also as videos, live classes, assignments, and more.
Creating VS Buying Content
Now, we’ve already established that good Content is essential for your course to be successful. But the million dollar question is where do you get this Content from?
Well, in this case, you have the following options: Creating VS Buying Content. Both have their merits so which is the right option for you? Well, keep on reading to find out.
Creating Content means you will have to build it from scratch based solely on your knowledge and research. When done right, this can take the form of a custom Course that is wholly unique and fresh, giving you an edge over any other courses on a similar topic.
It also means that you can fully customize your course to your desired specifics, allowing you to decide which information to include, in what sequence, and how it will be delivered. This is especially helpful if you want to tailor your eCourse for a particular target audience, teaching style, or method.
Another positive aspect of this is keeping your Course ‘On Brand’ i.e. maintaining your tone of voice, language, themes, etc to be consistent with all your other courses. You can also easily share your thoughts and opinions, giving your students your perspective on the topic.
Of course, in order to create quality Content, you would need to be well-versed in the course topic or do thorough research beforehand. You would also need enough time on your hands to ensure that you are able to put your best work forward.
Another requirement that comes to play is how generic the subject matter is — if it’s a very niche topic or you have information that only you (or a few people) know, then building your own Content may be more suitable.
Compared to Creating Content, Buying Content is a whole different procedure, and one with advantages of its own. It is the process of acquiring Pre-existing Content from a third-party vendor and using it to teach your course.
With how readily available Course Content is on the Marketplace, it may be the solution you’re looking for if you’re on a time crunch. What is more, you’ll notice that many of these resources have been created by experts in their fields so you can expect top-notch quality. Paired with good teaching skills, this can result in a Course that is highly successful.
It is also a great choice if Content on the topic is widely available and you’ve found a resource that perfectly meets your course’s requirements. Another good reason to go this route is if you’re an inexperienced teacher as it lessens the pressure and workload especially if you want to simply test the waters before you commit to the career choice.
Types of Ready-Made Course Content
If you choose to buy your content, then the following information may be helpful. Listed below are some popular types of Ready-Made Course Content that are currently available on the internet.
Massive Open Online Courses
Now, when it comes to ready-made course materials, you might be reminded of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs for short. As the name suggests, they’re free online courses available for anyone to learn. However, nowadays the openness of MOOCs has reduced as a lot of them don’t offer Content that you can use commercially to teach your own courses.
Open Educational Resources
Fortunately, another free alternative is Open Educational Resources or OER. These are materials can that you can use as it is free to own, share and modify. These can be anything — a single presentation, a podcast, or even a complete course.
Speaking of complete courses, one notable subset that falls under OER is OpenCourseWare or OCW. All resources that are labeled as such are organized as full-fledged courses usually for higher education.
For example, The University of Michigan offers an amazing collection of OCW resources under the heading Open Michigan. All you have to do is ensure that you follow the terms of the license of your selected resource.
Last but not least, we have Off-the-Shelf (OTS) Content. These are also full-fledged course materials ready-made by subject matter experts. All you need to do is purchase one for a fee from an online marketplace ready to upload it to your LMS site and start teaching the material.
How to Decide What’s Best For You
Now that we’ve gone over both creating and buying content, it’s time for you to make a decision. You might’ve already gotten a good idea based on our earlier discussion, but we’ve come up with three simple questions you can ask yourself to make the choice easier.
1. Is Your Course Topic Generic?
First and foremost, see if your topic is generic or unique. If it’s a common subject, then you will be able to easily find ready-made content should you choose to buy.
However, if your course is for a more niche topic, then buying will be difficult because of the scarcity of materials. In this case, researching and creating your own content may be the way to go.
2. Are You an Experienced Instructor?
Next, you should judge your capability as an instructor. If you’re an experienced teacher, then you may not face any trouble creating your own course content.
On the other hand, if you’re a beginner, buying your content from elsewhere would be more fitting. Not only will this leave less room for errors but it also means that the course you teach will contain content from subject matter experts.
Also, keep in mind that every instructor is a beginner initially so it’s not a bad thing at all. Instead of content creation, you can focus on building your teaching experience first and tackle this task at a later date once you’ve got a better handle on such things.
3. How Much Time Do You Have?
Finally, check how much time you have on your hands. Course content creation is a critical process and to get the best results, you would need enough time. If you’re also a knowledgeable and expert instructor, then it’s the perfect combination to create your own content successfully.
In comparison, if you have less time, coming up with quality content would be more difficult not to mention the chances of making mistakes would also be higher. Using readily available course content might be the more appropriate choice in this case and deploying it won’t take much time either.
We’ve now made it to the end of our discussion and all the facts have been laid out for you. In the end, the choice between Creating or Buying Content really comes down to what is best for you, your course, and your target audience.
All in all, we hope this article was able to give a good idea on the topic and helped you make an informed decision. Nevertheless, don’t forget to comment to us below if you have any queries or suggestions. Until next time, Adios Amigos!