When it comes to safeguardingtraining, both ready-made, off-the-shelf courses and completely bespoke,tailored courses, can achieve training objectives and encourage positivebehavioural changes in learners. Deciding which learning path is most suitablefor your organisation depends on a number of factors.Off-the-shelfcoursesThere are undeniable benefits of off-the-shelf e-learningsolutions. If they are designed well, this form of training can support yourorganisation and workforce in a variety of ways. As ready-made e-learningcourses are ready to buy, organisations are able to get up and running with thebare minimum of setup time. The content, look and feel of the course and theassessment, have all been created by a trusted provider, with your sector inmind.

Such solutions can be ideal when providing training on relatively generalsafeguarding subjects, as the courses will align with national legislation andguidance. They are also usually more affordable than most bespoke developmentprojects, therefore often favoured by organisations with limited trainingbudgets.  However, the inevitable downside is the fact that off-the-shelftraining material will not be tailored to fit the specific needs of yourorganisation and workforce, meaning that the content within the courses may notnecessarily meet your training goals as precisely and perfectly as a bespokecourse would. If you feel that your safeguarding training requirements are toospecific for an off-the-shelf option to address, then a bespoke approach may bemore suitable for you. TailoredtrainingThe single biggest benefit of a custom-developed trainingprogramme is relevance to your organisation.

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With a bespoke project, you’ll beable to tailor every single aspect of the course – from the look and feel ofthe content and the learning materials, right through to the choice ofvocabulary and the values it embodies. A bespoke course allows the training tobe mapped to your individual organisational needs. As your organisation willhave full ownership, it will be possible to make changes, updates and revisionsto your policies and procedures as and when necessary. However, organisations which choose to go down this route shouldbe prepared for investing time spent in getting this form of training up andrunning. Since bespoke training needs to be carefully designed to addressspecific learning outcomes, it can be challenging for companies that lackexperience in e-learning development to realise the considerable benefitswithout the help of a trusted external partner.

 Bestof both worlds?It is worth considering a blend of both off-the-shelf and bespoke,as many organisations decide to cherry pick the best of both to create atraining offering that fits perfectly for their organisational needs.  For example, you might want to form a training programme thatincludes pre-packaged modules on best practice sector knowledge, with sectionsthat detail how legislation and guidelines apply to your organisation;alternatively, pairing a mostly off-the-shelf programme with bespoke refresherresources, specific to your organisation and its processes, may meet all ofyour training needs.  It is also worth considering how each form of e-learning,off-the-shelf or bespoke, could support any face to face training events thatyou may offer. By adopting this blended approach, it should be possible to getthe best of both worlds, combining the universality of off-the-shelf solutionswith elements designed by Virtual College to meet your individual businessneeds.

 Howto decide?Ultimately, the question of whether you should choose anoff-the-shelf or a bespoke e-learning approach doesn’t have a one-size-fits-allanswer. The core training needs of your organisation and workforce need to bethoroughly considered to help you select the option that represents the bestfit. At Virtual College, we provide both off-the-shelf and bespokecourses depending on your requirements, so it’s simply a matter of assessingyour training objectives, your intended timescale, your budget and yourresourcing availability, and we’ll be able to consult with you to identify thebest possible package to meet those criteria. We can: ·         make minor, yet significant changes to our existing range ofcatalogue courses, tailoring them to your organisation’s policies andprocedures. ·         develop a course for your organisation based on our pool ofexisting templates, which have been created by our award winning graphic designteam.

·         create a bespoke course for you which would be unique to yourorganisation and underpinned by specific pedagogical techniques that match yourtraining requirements perfectly We recently won gold for ‘Excellencein the Design of Learning Content in the Public and Non-Profit Sector’ at theLearning Technologies Awards 2017 for our Recognising and Preventing FGM course, whichwe developed in partnership with the Home Office. A HomeOffice official commented: “Virtual College’s passion for the project andtheir understanding for the sensitivity of the subject, together with theirexperience of developing products for our target audience meant that the endproduct was innovative and tailored to the needs of the learners”Whetheryou’re interested in exploring off-the-shelf options or bespoke themes tosupport your training and save valuable time; we’d love to hear from you anddiscuss how we can help. Please get in touch