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When it comes to safeguarding training, both ready-made, off-the-shelf courses and completely bespoke, tailoredcourses, canachieve training objectives and encourage positive behavioural changes in learners. Deciding which learning path is most suitable for your organisation depends on a number of factors.
There are undeniable benefits of off-the-shelf e-learning solutions. If they are designed well, this form of training can support your organisation and workforce in a variety of ways. As ready-made e-learning courses are ready to buy, organisations are able to get up and running with the bare minimum of setup time. The design and testing process is handled by the vendor, allowing for precision and reliability. Such solutions can be ideal when providing training on relatively general safeguarding subjects, as the courses will align with national legislation and guidance. They are also usuallymore affordable than most bespokedevelopment projects , therefore often favoured by organisations with less to spend.
However, the inevitable downside is the fact that off-the-shelf solutions will not be tailored to fit the specific needs of your organisation and workforce, meaning that the content within the courses may not necessarily meet your training goals as precisely and perfectly as a bespoke course would. If you anticipate that your safeguarding training requirements are too specific for an off-the-shelf option to address, then a bespoke approach may be preferable for you.
The single biggest benefit of a custom-built training programme is relevance to your organisation. With a bespoke option, you’ll be able to tailor every single aspect of the course – from the look and feel of the content and the learning materials, right through to the choice of vocabulary and the values it embodies. A bespoke course allows the training to be mapped to your individual organisational needs. Because your organisation will have full ownership of a bespoke course, it will be possible to make changes, updates and revisions to your policies and procedures as and when necessary.
However, organisations which choose to go down this route should be prepared for investing time spent in getting this form of training solution up and running. Since bespoke training needs to be carefully designed to address specific learning outcomes, it can be challenging for companies that lack experience in e-learning development to realise the considerable benefits without the help of a trusted external partner.
It’s also worth remembering that the off-the-shelf vs bespoke training dichotomy is far from a binary choice, as many organisations instead opt to mix and match aspects of both approaches to create a blend that works best for them.
For example, you might want to create a training programme that includes pre-packaged modules on sector best practice with sections that deal with how legislation and guidelines apply to your organisation; alternatively, you might be happy to pair a mostly off-the-shelf programme with bespoke refresher resources specific to your organisation and its processes. It is also worth considering how each form of e-learning, off-the-shelf or bespoke, could support any face to face training events that you may offer. By adopting this blended approach, it should be possible to get the best of both worlds, combining the universality of off-the-shelf solutions with elements designed by Virtual College to meet your individual business needs.
Ultimately, the question of whether you should choose an off-the-shelf or a bespoke e-learning approach doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer – it’s about considering the specific training needs of your organisation and workforce and selecting the option that represents the best fit.
At Virtual College, we provide both off-the-shelf and bespoke courses depending on your requirements, so it’s simply a matter of assessing your training objectives, your intended timescale, your budget and your resourcing availability, and we’ll be able to consult with you to identify the best possible package to meet those criteria.
We recently won gold for “Excellence in the Design of Learning Content in the Public and Non-Profit Sector” at the Learning Technologies Awards 2017 for our Recognising and Preventing FGM course (insert link?), which we developed in partnership with the Home Office.
A Home Office official commented: “Virtual College’s passion for the project and their understanding for the sensitivity of the subject, together with their experience of developing products for our target audience meant that the end product was innovative and tailored to the needs of the learners”
Whether you’re interested in exploring off-the-shelf options or bespoke themes to support your training and save valuable time; we’d love to hear from you and discuss how we can help.
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