When it comes to safeguarding training, both ready-made,
off-the-shelf courses and completely bespoke, tailored courses, can achieve
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.
The pros and cons of off-the-shelf courses
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 usually
more affordable than most bespoke development 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 pros and cons of bespoke training
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
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.
A blended approach?
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
Making the right decision to support your
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.
make minor, yet significant changes to
our existing range of catalogue courses, tailoring them to your organisation’s
policies and procedures.
develop a course for your organisation
based on our pool of existing templates, which have been created by our award winning
graphic design team.
create a bespoke course for you which would
be unique to your organisation and underpinned by specific pedagogical
techniques that match your training requirements perfectly
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. Please
get in touch