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Online Courses Build vs. Buy: The Ultimate Guide

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Online Courses: Build vs. Buy

When considering online training courses, organizations typically face a decision between building the courses in-house or buying them from external providers. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on the specific needs and resources of the organization.

Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to build or buy online training courses:



  1. Customization: Building courses in-house allows for complete customization and control over the content, design, and delivery of the training.

  2. Flexibility: The organization can adapt the courses quickly to changing needs and requirements.

  3. Cost savings: Building courses in-house can be more cost-effective in the long run, especially if the organization plans to offer the courses repeatedly over time.


  1. Resource-intensive: Building online training courses requires a significant investment of time, money, and expertise. The organization needs to have the necessary skills and resources to design and develop effective courses.

  2. Risky: If the courses are not designed or delivered effectively, they may not meet the needs of the learners or achieve the desired learning outcomes.

  3. Maintenance: Building courses in-house also requires ongoing maintenance and updates, which can be time-consuming and costly.



  1. Time-saving: Buying courses from external providers can be faster than building them in-house. The courses are already designed and developed, and the organization can start using them immediately.

  2. Expertise: External providers typically have expertise in instructional design, learning technology, and content development, which can lead to high-quality courses.

  3. Variety: There is a wide variety of courses available from external providers, which can be useful for organizations that need to offer training on a range of topics.


  1. Limited customization: External providers may not be able to customize the courses to the organization's specific needs.

  2. Cost: Buying courses from external providers can be expensive, especially if the organization needs to purchase multiple courses or licenses.

  3. Dependence: The organization may become dependent on the external provider for ongoing updates and maintenance of the courses.

Course Building Resources

When building an online training course, there are various resources and tools that can be used to create engaging and effective learning experiences. Here are some examples:

Authoring tools:

Authoring tools are software applications that allow you to create, edit, and publish e-learning content. Some popular authoring tools include:

These tools offer various features and functionalities to design and develop interactive and multimedia-rich online courses.

Learning management systems (LMS):

An LMS is a software application that allows you to manage, deliver, and track online training courses. Some popular LMS platforms include:

These platforms provide features such as course management, learner tracking, assessments, and reporting.

Graphics and media tools:

Graphics and media tools can be used to create visually appealing and engaging course content. Some examples include:

  • Adobe Photoshop for image editing and design

  • Adobe Illustrator for vector graphics and illustrations

  • Canva for designing graphics and templates

  • Video editing software such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro for creating and editing videos

Content libraries:

Content libraries offer pre-built and customizable course content that can be used to enhance your own course development. Some examples include:

Learning Pool Content Library

These libraries offer templates, images, graphics, and other multimedia resources that can be used to create effective e-learning courses.

Subject matter experts:

Subject matter experts (SMEs) are individuals with deep knowledge and expertise in a particular subject area. SMEs can be consulted to provide accurate and relevant content for your online courses.

Choosing the appropriate tools and resources will depend on the specific needs and goals of the course, as well as the available resources and expertise of the development team.

Course Buying Resources

When buying online training courses, there are various resources and platforms available to help you find and purchase the courses that best meet your needs. Here are some examples:

Online marketplaces

Online marketplaces offer a wide range of online training courses from multiple providers. Some popular online marketplaces include:

These platforms offer courses on a wide range of topics, from technical skills to soft skills and leadership development.

Specialized providers:

Specialized providers offer online training courses in specific industries or topics. Some examples include:

These providers offer courses that are tailored to specific learning needs and goals.

Custom e-learning providers:

Custom e-learning providers offer tailored online training courses that are customized to the specific needs and requirements of the organization. Some examples include:

These providers work with the organization to design and develop customized e-learning solutions that are aligned with the organization's learning objectives and branding.

Content aggregators:

Content aggregators offer curated collections of online training courses from multiple providers. Some examples include:

These platforms allow the organization to select and purchase courses from multiple providers in one place.

Choosing the appropriate platform or provider will depend on the specific needs and goals of the organization, as well as the available resources and budget.

About LMS Portals

At LMS Portals, we provide our clients and partners with a SaaS-based, multi-tenant learning management system that allows you to launch a dedicated training environment (a portal) for each of your unique audiences.

The system includes an embedded SCORM-compliant course authoring tool that enables most anyone to build engaging courses quickly and easily.

We also offer a complete library of ready-made courses, covering most every aspect of corporate training and employee development.

If you choose to, you can create Learning Paths to deliver courses in a logical progression and add structure to your training program. The system also supports Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) and provides tools for online coaching and social learning.

Together, these features make LMS Portals the ideal multi-tenant, SCORM-compliant platform for your organization.

Contact us today to get started or visit our Partner Program pages

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