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Bespoke elearning vs off-the-shelf

4 minute read

Will Brown
By William Brown

Head of Learning Consultancy


In the world of corporate training, one size doesn’t fit all. Bespoke elearning offers personalized and impactful learning experiences tailored to your team’s unique needs and business objectives. But when should you opt for custom solutions over a ready-made one? This article will help you make an informed, cost-effective choice for your employee’s elearning needs.

A tailor creating bespoke elearning course using Elucidat platform

What is bespoke elearning & off-the-shelf elearning? 

Broadly speaking, there are two main types of elearning courses available for you:

  • Off-the-shelf: These are ready-made courses, often purchased from a third party. While they cover standard topics such as compliance, soft skills, and general business practices, they often miss the mark when you have specific training needs.
  • Bespoke: Say hello to personalized elearning. Bespoke courses are designed around your exact requirements and objectives, giving you the freedom to tailor the learner experience from start to finish. Bespoke content is mainly created in-house by learning teams. 

Types of custom elearning

The beauty of bespoke elearning lies in its endless possibilities. Here are some types to consider:

Gamification: Imagine your colleagues having fun while learning. Gamified modules can lead to increased engagement and retention.

Immersive scenarios: Transport your employees to real-world settings where they can practice skills in a safe, controlled environment.

Interactive tools: Think drag-and-drop exercises, clickable flowcharts, or interactive video content that keeps your team active during learning.

Simulations: These provide opportunities for practice without any real-world risks, ideal for complex tasks or compliance training.

Your best bet for creating this type of content is with an elearning authoring platform. 

Choosing the right customized corporate elearning solution will determine what your goals are, as well as what your content development team need. Learn more about choosing the best elearning software to use with these resources:

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Benefits of bespoke elearning

Why go bespoke? Here’s why:

Increased productivity: Skill-building happens more naturally when your courses speak directly to your employees’ everyday experiences and challenges. This leads to higher productivity levels.

Easy updates: A bespoke elearning course that’s created in-house is easily editable. New regulations? Updated processes? Your course can be adapted without having to go back to square one.

Personalized content: Bespoke courses can include real examples, case studies, and scenarios relevant to your business. This makes the content more relatable and compelling.

Cost-effectiveness: Although the initial investment might be higher than ready made solutions, the long-term ROI of a bespoke course more than justifies the cost.

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When to choose bespoke elearning over off-the-shelf

Off-the-shelf courses are like fast food—convenient but not always satisfying. Sure, they serve a purpose and do it quickly. However, these courses often lack the nuances that make learning memorable and relevant for your specific team and business objectives.

Bespoke elearning, on the other hand, is the gourmet meal prepared specifically for you. It aligns closely with your business goals and addresses your organization’s unique challenges. What you get is a tool for knowledge retention and skills development, honed to your specific requirements.

gourmet meal bespoke elearning

Feeling torn between ready-made and custom courses? Let’s break down when bespoke elearning shines:

Complex training needs

You’ve got a complex business, so a cookie-cutter approach just won’t cut it. Maybe you’re tackling industry-specific compliance or teaching intricate software—whatever it is, bespoke elearning is your best bet.

​​Business-centric objectives

Off-the-shelf solutions focus on broad topics. But what if you need to zoom in on, say, boosting your team’s performance metrics? Custom courses allow you to set business-centric objectives tied to tangible outcomes.

Branding and culture

Want your training to breathe your brand? Bespoke elearning can incorporate your company’s branding, values, and culture, making the learning experience resonate more with your employees. Explore why branded training is essential here. 

Specialized skills

If you’re in a niche sector, finding an off-the-shelf course that perfectly matches your needs can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Bespoke elearning can cover any specialized skills or knowledge your team requires.

Examples of bespoke elearning

Curious to see bespoke elearning in action? We have two shining examples that bring innovation and engagement to the forefront.

Game-like quiz: product knowledge

Ready to make learning fun and engaging? This interactive quiz spices up product learning with a game-like twist. 

bespoke elearning example

Simple branching scenario
Immerse yourself in this branching scenario. This simple branching scenario course places learners in decision-making situations.

bespoke branching example

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In summary

In a world brimming with elearning solutions, bespoke elearning stands out as a game-changer for organizations craving tailored training experiences. This custom approach aligns perfectly with an organization’s unique goals and learners’ specific needs.

  • Customization: Bespoke elearning is tailored to fit an organization’s unique learning objectives and requirements.
  • Engagement: Bespoke courses capture and maintain learner interest with immersive designs and interactive elements.
  • Flexibility: Unlike off-the-shelf courses, bespoke elearning can be adapted easily to include critical updates and changes. 
  • Cost-effectiveness: Over time, investing in a custom course can prove more cost-effective than repeatedly licensing generic content.

If you’re deciding between custom-made and off-the-shelf courses, don’t hesitate. Bespoke training isn’t just for learning; it’s a long-term investment that evolves with you.

Bespoke elearning with Elucidat

Feeling inspired? Ready to turn your elearning vision into a reality? Book a demo with us and see how Elucidat can help you translate your vision into bespoke, engaging elearning content. 

Looking to expand your elearning design initiatives? Then check our best practice elearning guide for fresh tips and tricks for designing high-quality elearning quickly.

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Written by William Brown

Will leads the Learning Consultancy at Elucidat, focusing on aligning specialist services with customer objectives. He excels in understanding and addressing the unique needs of each customer, driving their success and achieving their elearning goals.

Read more articles by William Brown