Published on

October 19, 2023

Should you buy or create learning content?

Stephanie Neusser

Stephanie Neusser

Marketing Lead


Learning Hub

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Learning content creation

Technological advancements like AI and e-learning are changing our world faster than ever. They play a crucial role not only in our personal lives but also in our professional ones. On one hand, technology can be very confusing, but on the other, it significantly simplifies our lives.

To thrive in the modern job market, we have to fundamentally rethink our approach to the traditional work environment and our understanding of how we bring people and work together. Today, our jobs or job descriptions are much more flexible and dynamic than before, with new skills being added daily. This demands a broader range of skills that need constant improvement and expansion. Without the required skills, be they 'hard skills' or 'soft skills,' it becomes challenging to keep up. This naturally has a significant impact on companies, which is why learning skills through effectively created e-learning content is extremely important. The question is: should you buy learning content or create it yourself?

In this blog post we help you make the right decision.

Starting Point: Skill Needs Analysis

As the title suggests, it's important not to jump into content creation right away but to first focus on the topics you want to cover. After a thorough analysis of your skill needs, you can decide which content to prioritize.

For this step, you can use our decision aid. It can assist you in prioritizing the right skills for purchasing or creating learning content.

Only after you have analyzed your skills and prioritized them based on importance, reach, and content coverage should you get started.

6 Criteria for Creating or Buying Content

In general, there are six criteria that can help in deciding whether it makes sense to buy learning content or create it yourself.

Topic: Specific vs. Universal

What topics do you want to cover? If the topic is very specific, there may be few ready-made learning materials available, and they may not precisely fit the topic or be up to date. On the other hand, if the topic is universal and applicable to multiple sectors, and therefore frequently demanded by other companies, there may be many up-to-date e-learning materials available for purchase that you might find useful.

Internal Factors: Company-Specific vs. Universal

Internal processes and needs vary from company to company. While some are universal, like using Microsoft Office, there are also industry-specific processes. In such cases, finding exact learning content can be challenging, and therefore, customized content needs to be created to effectively tailor e-learning.

Timeline: Short-Term vs. Long-Term

How urgently do you need the learning content? If you need it urgently, the quickest way is to purchase it. However, if you have time and want to create high-quality content tailored to your learners, you can set your own schedule and build your content thoroughly and as needed.

Audience: Small vs. Large

Who will see the content, and how many will have access to the learning content you want to create? If there are only a few potential learners, it may not be worth creating the learning content. Of course, you should also check if there are similar content options available in the market before making this decision. If many people could benefit from the e-learning content, it is worth creating high-quality learning content yourself and enriching it with company-specific materials.

Availability: Yes or No

To what extent do the learning materials available in the market meet your requirements? Are the desired materials available or not? If there is only a limited selection, you will likely need to create your own content. However, if suitable content is available, you can purchase it.

Budget: Small vs. Large

Budget naturally plays a significant role. The price range in the e-learning field for purchasing learning content varies from inexpensive to expensive. However, if you opt to buy learning content, you can allocate your budget as needed, as it depends on the specific content available to you.

6 Content Purchase Criteria


The quality of learning content is crucial to ensure that it is effective, informative, and aligned with the desired learning objectives. However, keep in mind that high-quality learning content is often more expensive, so you must strike the right balance between quality and your budget.


Consider your budget and the price you are willing to spend on learning content. There is a variety of content available on the market at different prices and quality levels. It's important to analyze the relationship between price and quality.


Adapt the style of learning content to the expectations and needs of your target audience. If you prefer a playful approach to make the learning process more engaging, incorporating gamification elements, such as quiz questions, is a good option. However, when dealing with a serious audience (or a serious topic), gamification elements may be inappropriate. Therefore, the style of learning content is crucial and should be considered.

Provider's Reputation

How well-known is the provider? This often plays a role in e-learning. If the provider is well-known, the learning content is generally seen as more informative and trustworthy than that of an unknown provider. However, this is not always the case. In our experience, there are now many smaller providers that produce high-quality content. Therefore, it's essential to gather customer references and/or test the learning content yourself.

Coverage of Topics

Decide whether you choose a provider that covers all topics or consider different providers for specific topics. Rarely will you find a single provider covering all topics.

Support and Customer Service

What is your ultimate goal? Do you want comprehensive support where the provider offers services from start to finish, or do you want to purchase learning content and manage it internally? It's essential to assess which tasks you can undertake and which ones you cannot.

Making Content Creation Easy - With and Without AI Assistance

Creating learning content yourself can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, from forming the learning path to creating individual content pieces and ensuring they are effectively formatted and delivered.

However, much progress has been made in recent months, as AI has evolved from a vision of the future to a reality. This is good news, especially when it comes to cost-effective content creation. AI can already help us create high-quality content in a fraction of the time.

5 Tools for (Simplified) Content Creation


Canva is an online tool for creating charts, graphics, and infographics. It features drag-and-drop functions, pre-made icons, and templates that deliver professional-looking results. Without the right tools, it can be challenging to create appealing graphics or charts that you can then use on your e-learning platform.


Descript is a web-based audio and video editing tool that allows you to edit your video content. Descript follows a completely new editing approach: video and audio files are transcribed into a document that you can edit like a text document. The tool for removing filler words identifies word repetitions and "um" words and allows you to remove them with a single click.


Synthesia is a platform that transforms text into short videos. With natural AI voices in over 120 languages and more than 140 AI avatars, it enables L&D teams to quickly and cost-effectively create engaging training materials. The easy editing feature makes it ideal for content updates.


Typeform is a well-known survey tool that simplifies the creation of surveys and quizzes. The web-based software offers interactive question techniques that boost participation. L&D teams use Typeform as a tool for creating quiz questions because it provides time-saving templates for surveys and quizzes. Moreover, seamless integration with various tools like Google Forms, Slack, and Asana is possible, making it easier to use within existing systems.


However, there are already some learning management tools that have integrated AI-based content creation, such as edyoucated. With edyoucated, you have the ability to create learning content, such as multiple-choice questions or even entire learning materials, using AI. Simply upload a document or specify a topic, knowledge level, and industry, and the AI automatically creates the appropriate learning material or quiz in seconds.

Combining Self-Created and Purchased Learning Content

The good news is that you don't have to choose one approach. You can combine the benefits of both approaches to create a customized solution that fits your individual expectations and goals. This way, you can make the most of both worlds by complementing purchased standard content with your own personal content, such as introduction videos or tips and tricks, to create an effective e-learning experience.

Conclusion: Buying or Creating Learning Content?

The decision to buy or create learning content ultimately depends on your individual needs and resources. There are many pros and cons to consider. However, three key factors should always be kept in mind when creating learning content: Firstly, always take the time to carefully analyze your actual needs, as this helps you avoid excessive content creation. Secondly, AI has a significant impact on the market and can greatly facilitate content creation and automate many processes. Thirdly, instead of making a strict decision between purchased and self-created content, you can choose a combination of both approaches. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of both approaches without compromising on quality.

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edyoucated is funded by leading research institutions such as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).

Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB)