Purchasing a Library of Online Courses: Superstore or Boutique?

Purchasing a Library of Online Courses: Superstore or Boutique?

As a long-time shopper who relishes the retail experience, I’ve resisted the trend toward online buying. I look forward to Black Friday bargains and end-of-year sales. While others stay home and click on computers, I get up early and go to my favorite haunts where I can see and touch the merchandise. Shopping – for me – is a sport. The goal is to find the BEST for the LEAST!

Recently, however, I’ve had a few experiences that dampened my shopping enthusiasm. I walked out of a retail establishment with nothing in hand, just minutes after entering. I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and eager to move on to something else. What happened? In every case, the establishment was some type of “superstore” offering everything under the sun – clothing, food, hardware, electronics, and furniture (to name just a few). I couldn’t find what I wanted, I couldn’t locate a salesperson to help me, and I didn’t want to spend hours browsing through aisles of unwanted items.

Take a lesson from my experience when you purchase online courses for your organization. Although the promise of offering thousands of courses can be tempting, think about your “shoppers.” Will they want to spend hours browsing for a relevant course, or will they want to locate information quickly at the time they need it? Will they want to be distracted by interesting titles, or will they become frustrated when they can’t find directions for a brainstorming session? Will they be intrigued by a complicated career pathway system, or would they prefer a list of required courses for their job title?

When you purchase online courses, avoid the “superstore” approach. Identify the competencies required for your job families, and select a limited number of courses that tie directly to performance. Make it easy for people to find what they need – when they need it! Customize the courses to reflect your brand, your organizational culture, and your policies and procedures. Add job aids and infographics that provide support for difficult or complicated tasks. If people don’t understand WHY course content is important to them, they’ll never put in in their “shopping cart.” They’ll be overwhelmed, frustrated, and eager to move on to something else.

Itching to read more?