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Safeguarding: Bespoke Vs Off-the-shelf Courses

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Table of contents

  1. Making the Right Decision for Your Circumstances
  2. A Blended Approach?
    Virtual College Can
    The Pros and Cons of Bespoke Training
    The Pros and Cons of off-the-shelf Courses

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.

Virtual College 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, which we developed in partnership with the Home Office. We’re all absolutely delighted about this as it’s a powerful endorsement of our commitment to using technology to deliver quality learning solutions and supports our mission to change workforce behaviour.

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.

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 selecting the option that represents the best fit.

Making the Right Decision for Your Circumstances

For example, you might want to create a training programme that includes pre-packaged modules on industry best practice with sections that deal with how those 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.

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.

A Blended Approach?

  • Create a new, completely bespoke course from scratch – completely unique and fully branded to your organisation – underpinned by pedagogical techniques.
  • Develop a concept based on a pool of existing templates which have been created by our award winning graphic design team.
  • Make changes to our existing range of catalogue courses, tailoring them to your organisation’s policies and procedures.

Virtual College Can

However, organisations which choose to go down this route should be prepared for higher upfront costs and time spent getting the 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 potentially considerable benefits without the help of a trusted external partner.

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 content and the learning materials right through to the choice of vocabulary and the values it embodies – 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.

The Pros and Cons of Bespoke Training

However, the inevitable downside is the fact that off-the-shelf solutions will not be tailored to fit the specific needs of your workforce, meaning that the content may not necessarily meet your training goals as precisely and perfectly as a course designed in-house 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.

There are undeniable benefits 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 pre-packaged safeguarding training solutions and 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 all handled by the vendor, allowing for precision and reliability without your organisation having to lift a finger. Such solutions can be ideal when providing training on relatively general safeguarding subjects, as the courses will align with national legislation. They are also much more affordable than most Bespoke options, therefore often favoured by organisations with less to spend.

The Pros and Cons of off-the-shelf Courses

When it comes to Safeguarding, both off-the-shelf courses from a catalogue and completely bespoke options can achieve knowledge based outcomes and encourage a positive behaviour change in learners. Deciding which content path would be most suitable for your organisation can depend on a number of factors.

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Safeguarding: Bespoke vs off-the-shelf courses. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 5, 2023, from
“Safeguarding: Bespoke vs off-the-shelf courses.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019,
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