I’ve recently shared quite a number of digital *homemade materials for learners, including some games, mini-courses, graphic organizers, and more.  

But why create your own e-learning materials from scratch when there are so many tech tools and quiz makers and ready-to-use digital materials available online? [Here comes a list of 1,000,000 Top Hottest Tech Tools Teachers Can’t Live Without]

There are actually many good reasons if you are eager to learn new things, including some basics of coding, a bit of java, instructional design, and other bits.     

Here are 6 reasons why I create my own e-learning materials (in no particular order).

1. Avoid burnout – find a hobby

I have always liked creating new things – anything DIY – paper crafts, photo manipulation, or making videos. So creating digital content is a just an ideal way to unplug. You might as well earn money from this hobby by developing bespoke courses or e-learning tools/materials for particular groups of language learners.


My Sloth’s Guide to Chillaxing started as a project to explore different ways to present information/grammar rules (I had a rare moment of free time), and then it shaped into a ‘chillaxed’ review of English tenses.

2. Portability and data privacy

I do not depend on any platform/games or quiz maker and their monetization strategies or membership policies. As with any external platform offering free services, they may eventually introduce some membership fees, or in the worst case scenario the platform may cease to exist all together with your materials uploaded there (the HTTP 404 whoops and other scary stories every educator may tell). I save my materials as HTML documents to share and use them both online and offline so they are literally in my pocket. More importantly, I can keep my learners safe online as they will not have to sign up for any platform or provide their personal information to access the resources.

Technical info: I post my learning materials in the Learning Resources section of my website – myenglishdomain.com, or upload them into my Google Storage Cloud bucket to play/download the files from there.

3. My game, my rules

When you use existing online platforms/quiz makers to create your materials, you may control the content but not the way it is delivered, i.e. you have to follow certain built-in algorithms. When you create them from scratch, you control both ‘what’ and ‘how’.

                               Language Learning Checklist: Less is More

Some ‘user engagement’ methods may turn digital tools into powerful weapons of mass distraction.

A – What I thought was terrific design


B – What my learners said they’d prefer to see

4. Addressing a missing need

You can make materials that are not available online. The time I spend to find and shape existing materials for a particular purpose could be better spent on developing my own materials.

NEEDS ANALYSIS FOR LANGUAGE LEARNERS: You can be sure you will get much more accurate information when learners answer your questions/ complete a needs analysis questionnaire a second time, in a day or so. 

I’ve designed my NEEDS ANALYSIS TOOL with 7 simple questions and some examples to help understand the questions to get learners to think about their needs before we have a face-to-face needs analysis session. Unlike any survey tool (answering the question of ‘Why don’t you just use Google forms’?), learners can use it unlimited times and save their results (#takeresponsibilityforyourownlearning).

5.  Better learning and time management

Learners often need more drill and practice to perfect a specific skill/subskill until it becomes automatic. Tailor made digital materials help them practice in a self-paced manner and free up more time for more elaborated practice in class.

elaborator tool

For example, 4 SQUARES FOR BETTER SPEAKING or ELABORATOR help students practice speaking on their own so we can spend more time on polishing their skills in class.

6. Ready to go tech free

All my tools have their paper ‘prototypes’ and can be turned into paper-based materials, if necessary.

These are my six reasons. If you can think of any other good reasons, or if you would like to tell us about your experience, please share in the comments!

Other resources:

If you’re wondering how you can create your own space to make and post your elearning materials see  HOW TO CREATE A TEACHER WEBSITE IN 3 STEPS.



  1. I agree with every single point!

    The amount of time I spent looking for a perfect online game…and ended up either not finding what I wanted, finding something with errors or just not appropriate for my students. 👎

    I think another point can be crafting an activity that is personalized for your students. Either on their interests, inside jokes, their needs! I’m always way more excited when I have a special game ready. This excitement and attitude are contagious and everyone ends up having a great class.

    • That’s a good point, Joanna! Personalization is king) In some games/courses, I ask learners to type in their names, and then they appear in all instructions and at the end of the game/course. It’s a (seemingly) small thing that makes a big difference.

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