Size of an Off-the-Shelf Content Library: Reading In Between the Lines

Have you ever sat through a presentation for corporate training content where they talk about their library of off-the-shelf content? If so, how long did it take before the presenter gave you a statistic about how large that library was?

My guess: Not very long at all. It’s become a staple in the industry. I’ll even admit that there are some content providers boasting pretty impressive numbers:

  • BizLibrary advertises “9,500+ online training courses”
  • Skillsoft boasts “165,000 tools”
  • LinkedIn Learning reports “more than 5,000 courses”

Our own sales team, too, often talks about the size of our off-the-shelf library—because, frankly, size does matter when it comes to a content library...but it is not the only thing that matters.

In fact, the more I stare at these huge numbers, the more I have to wonder:

  • Are they really staying up-to-date and current with all those thousands of titles?
  • Are they really delivering a consistent experience with all of that content?
  • Are most of these courses even being viewed? Or are they just giving the illusion of value?

A Deeper Dive Into Content Library Size

These sorts of questions prompted us here at ej4 to do our own investigation into the size of off-the-shelf content libraries, and why so many in the industry focus on size as a major selling point. The result was our whitepaper, “How Many eLearning Courses Do You Really Need?” which you can download for free.

In that whitepaper, we wanted to go beyond the question of “How large should an eLearning library be?” and instead ask the more important underlying question:

Do larger content libraries really lead to better training outcomes?

What we found is that access to content matters more than the overall size of a library by itself.

In the paper, we also discuss:

  • Why companies emphasize size so often (Hint: It has little to do with actual ROI)
  • Why you should track your cost-per-course-viewed, as opposed to just plain cost-per-course
  • The three biggest challenges faced by larger eLearning libraries
  • How larger libraries might be making one of the biggest challenges for Learning & Development departments even worse
  • The rough proportion of training courses that will be in need of updating every year
  • How and when employees prefer to access training content (and how those facts should shape your library buying process)

I fully believe that, after reading the whitepaper, you’ll never look at one of those “size of our library” stats the same way again. More importantly, you’ll have a better feel for what you should be looking for when buying an eLearning library.

Download Whitepaper

Additional Resources

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