Sign in / Register
CONTACT US:(801) 537-7800

Custom Training vs Off-the-Shelf Training [Infographic]

More than $160 billion is spent on training every year and companies also provide each employee with an average of 54 training hours per year. With so much time and money being spent on training, it’s no secret that every company wants to pick the training option that’s the best return on investment in meeting project goals.

So how do you decide if you need something branded, custom and tailor-made for your company, or if you can go with an off-the-shelf solution with content you don’t need to own? We’ve put together this custom training vs OTS infographic to help you determine what fits your needs. Want to learn more about what custom training can look like?

Custom Training vs Off-the-Shelf Training -- AllenComm

To help choose the right option for your company, we’ve provided a breakdown of what to consider or expect from custom training versus off-the-shelf training options. Take a look. We hope it helps you find the right choice (or blend of choices) for your next project!

Off-The-Shelf Training vs Custom Training

Off-the-shelf training solutions are built around common business needs. Off-the-shelf training programs deliver the same content to every user with minimal or no tailoring to the business. Custom training solutions that are built around a specific company need. Training may have unique or diverse business objectives.  


Off-the-shelf training content is broader and won’t be an exact match to business objectives.

Custom training has learning objectives that are 100% aligned with your business goals.

Performance Objective

OTS typically has strong content, but it’s centered around a simple business objective.

Custom training allows you to target more complex and higher-level objectives around a company’s unique business context.

Type of Initiative 

OTS is best for routine, low stakes, and low- to mid-level business initiatives.

Custom training works for strategic, high stakes, and/or mid – to high-priority initiatives that require more contextualization for the business.

Deadlines or Time to Develop

OTS is easier to turnaround. Can be purchased and implemented without reliance on subject matter experts.

The need for internal subject matter expertise or coordination can create longer development times with custom training. The development time depends on content readiness. 


OTS makes more sense for larger audiences with common needs.

Custom training can address more diverse audience needs across large or small audiences. 


The best choice for rigid budgets is OTS. Costs can increase based on subscription costs or increased users.

Custom training costs vary depending on project size. Typically higher in initial cost, with reduced long-term costs depending on content shelf life. 

Scope of Project

OTS fits best with shorter-term projects or simple compliance needs. 

Custom training is better for long-term or multi-stage rollout projects or projects with changing business needs.

Instruction Type 

OTS is generic and broad. Works well with universal skills or when learners are all roughly at the same skill level. 

Custom training has personalized content and learning specific to the company. Best for critical company processes, diverse audiences, or multi-layered content.

Content Expertise 

OTS is less dependent on internal subject matter experts. Less vendor choice, as vendors tend to be subject focused.

With custom training, internal SMEs consult with the training department or vendors. More vendor choice, as content expertise, resides with the company.


(1) Training Mag Industry Report 2015 

(2) ATD

(3) Chief Learning Officers