The 3 B’s of Training Content


For the longest time creating training content meant one of two things. You built the content utilizing your subject matter expertise or bought the content containing someone else’s subject matter expertise. Building content was relatively affordable while buying content was extremely expensive. More expensive than buying someone else’s content was paying someone to build your own. Today we finally have a more affordable option that combines these two common practices.

The newest concept is what we playfully call the third B of the 3 B’s. This is what we call Borrowing. You either buy/purchase content that’s been pre-built, you build it or hire someone to build your subject matter expertise into a course or what may be the most cost effective method of all you borrow it. Because of the internet Creative Commons Licensing Laws https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_license common pre-built content that is not private can be reused in your own material so long as it is not being presented as your own original thoughts.

Here’s the 3 options quickly explained. Build vs. Buy vs. Borrow

Build – This one is easy. You are creating training material from in house subject matter expertise. Whether it be from your own original thoughts, repurposing pre-built presentations and manuals, using 3rd party content editor or using the easy LearningZen pre-built editor. You are taking your own training material and hopefully creating engaging, interactive online training courses. This is the most cost effective way monetarily but it does take time to build courses so it is the most work. It’s going to be unique to just your business.

Buy –  Content can be thought of a few different ways. You can purchase an entire pre-built online training course built from a 3rd party vendor and import it into a LMS using the SCORM uploader. Vendors sell pre-built courses, subject matter experts build and sell pre-built content and stand-alone videos can be purchased to add to your original material. This is the most expensive option but it’s also the quickest. The downfall here is it is not your message, it is someone else’s. Customizing this content is harder and sometimes copyrighted making it impossible or illegal.

Borrow – This can be thought of as a combination of the first two. Pre-built content to borrow can be found in forms like YouTube videos, Vimeo video’s, Slideshow presentations found on sharing sites, images from third party vendors, Ted talks you’ve watched and infographics someone else created. There’s lots of types of pre-built shareable content. The advantage to this is you can borrow some sections and create or modify the content that doesn’t match up with your business. This is probably the quickest way to build content. If there’s a video you watched on YouTube that you wanted to train your staff on you could embed the video into a course, ask the students to answer questions about what they watched, assign it to them and track their understanding of content. Borrowing content is a lot like having access to the world’s largest content library. The possibilities are endless and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Someone built what you borrow and you still get to make tweaks to make it your own.


So, in summary we’ve outlined 3 options. Building is the most time consuming but doesn’t cost you anything other than your time. Buying is the most expensive option but the quickest. Borrowing is very inexpensive but you still need to add some of your own time to pull this information into a course. 

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