The eLearning Battle: Bespoke vs. Off-The-Shelf

In a world that’s increasingly digital, learning online has become the new norm. eLearning is obviously a great way to acquire new skills, knowledge, or simply feed your people’s curiosity from the comfort of their screen. But here’s the thing – not all eLearning is created equal.

There are two main categories: off-the-shelf eLearning and bespoke eLearning. 

So, what’s the difference, and why might bespoke eLearning be the better choice for your business? Let’s dive into this question and break it down.

Bespoke elearning content development


The Basics: Off-The-Shelf vs. Bespoke eLearning

Okay, let’s start with the basics. Off-the-shelf eLearning is like buying a suit from a department store. It’s already made, you can wear it that day, but it might not fit you correctly. Off-the-shelf elearning has been developed for a mass market, and although it can get generic knowledge across it won’t be tailored to your staff or show them how they can apply that knowledge into their role.

Bespoke eLearning, on the other hand, is like having a suit made at the tailors specifically for your measurements and requirements. This form of elearning is custom-made for the unique needs and preferences of your learners. 

It can close the gap between knowledge and actual behavioural change in the workplace, allowing your learners to apply that knowledge in their role. Bespoke eLearning taps into the unique needs of a business allowing learners to know how to act in a work based situation.

Now, let’s explore what makes bespoke eLearning the more tailored option: 


1. Tailored to Your Business Needs

Off-the-shelf eLearning courses are like a one-size-fits-all approach – this might work for more generic pieces of learning, but for more detailed pieces you need something more. Bespoke eLearning is perfectly tailored to your requirements. It’s designed with your specific company goals, your peoples learning preferences, and skill level in mind. 

Your people won’t waste time slogging through material that’s too basic or struggling with concepts that are too advanced.

Take our work for Amazon – they needed a Health & Safety course but it needed to be completely tailored to how Amazon operate and the checks and processes that Amazon pickers and packers use. They wanted it to be more than just a compliance tick box so we built scenarios that matched their real-life working environment and allowed the users to fully understand the steps they needed to take to process hazardous goods. 

With English not being some learners’ first language and the warehouse environment being busy and noisy, making this learning bespoke allowed us to tailor the content to cover all learners’ needs.

Find out more about the work we did on health and safety elearning for Amazon.


2. Real World Relevance

Bespoke eLearning can bring real-world relevance to your learners experience. Unlike off-the-shelf courses, which might use generic examples, bespoke eLearning can be designed around your industry or roles. 

This means your people will be learning things that directly apply to their work, making them more effective and confident in their role.

BOC wanted exactly that, a real world learning experience. Their learning had been predominantly theory and classroom based and the learners were not engaged with it at all. We made a completely bespoke piece for them that was built around a 3D environment of a typical work environment – giving the learning more meaning for them. 

For WFS they could use off-the-shelf content for the theory of risk management but it would not allow the risk assessors to practise applying that knowledge in the unique environment they work in – which is why we created a truly bespoke piece that mimicked a real world airport environment including warehousing and the ramp they work from so they could fully practice risk assessing using the simulated system in a safe environment.

See more about our 3D learning environment for BOC.


3. Interactivity & Engagement

Bespoke eLearning is like an engaging dialogue that addresses the specific behaviours and attitudes you want to transform, while off-the-shelf eLearning is akin to a static monologue – it may not be as tailored to the desired outcomes. In bespoke eLearning, you’ll find interactive elements like quizzes, videos, simulations, and hands-on activities that keep learners engaged and motivated throughout their learning journey, all geared towards cultivating the desired attitudes and behaviours. 

This personalised approach fosters deeper understanding and encourages behavioural change.

On the other hand, off-the-shelf eLearning often follows a one-size-fits-all approach, delivering generic content that may not directly address the specific needs or goals of your organisation. This can lead to a less effective learning experience and may not yield the desired behavioural changes.

When Mercedes came to us to create a more non corporate solution for their soft skills training, we created branching scenarios that helped their showroom sales people understand how their communication skills can affect a customer interaction. By showing a dynamic customer satisfaction score when answering customer queries that are fully related to their role, it allowed them to see how what they said impacted the conversation with their customers – strengthening their skills further. 

Off-The-Shelf content would have just touched on the soft skills required to have better conversations with customers but it would not have framed the conversations in the same way that Mercedes wanted to display to their customer base. Using their framework and knowledge a bespoke learning piece allowed us to develop a more meaningful piece.

Mercedes-Benz used van scenario

Take a look at the work we did on soft skills training with Mercedes.


4. Targeted Skill Development

Unlike off-the-shelf eLearning, where your learners may have to sift through topics they already know, bespoke eLearning hones in on their skill gaps. This targeted approach can save time and help your people become proficient in the specific skills that matter most to your business.

When we worked with Tommy’s on their Pregnancy at Work programme we wanted to provide bite sized modules so that a user could select and work through content that was relevant to their situation, the unique modules were aimed at managers to support them in having difficult conversations about highly emotive subjects. This targeted skills development is not covered in off-the-shelf content as it calls for specific behavioural changes that are needed to handle these difficult conversations.

Training quiz for managers - Tommy's

Find out more about our bespoke elearning and LMS for Tommy’s.


5. Enhanced Motivation and Ownership

With bespoke eLearning, your people are not just a passive learner; they are an active participant in their development journey. This sense of ownership and personalisation can boost your learners motivation. 

When they have a say in their learning experience, they’re more likely to stay engaged and committed. Because bespoke learning targets your unique organisation it makes it more relatable and shows your staff how to apply their newly acquired knowledge to their role as it’s woven throughout the eLearning.

When we created the Risk Assessment piece for WFS the risk assessors were taken on a unique journey that showed them the difference they can make by consistently completing their risk assessments in the correct way, by showing them content specific to their work place allowed them to see how they can reduce accidents by completing the correct processes.

Read about our logistics risk management training for WFS.


In Summary: The Bespoke Advantage

In the world of eLearning, both off-the-shelf and bespoke have their place. But if you’re looking for an eLearning experience that’s tailored, engaging, and effective, as well as completely unique to your organisation, bespoke is the clear winner.

So, next time you’re looking for content for your next learning programme, consider the benefits of bespoke eLearning. It’s the path to a more personalised, relevant, and effective learning experience that can focus on the aims of your organisation to support changing behaviours and attitudes by making the content more relevant and targeted to the learners role and workplace, and it’s an investment in your teams’ growth and success. 

After all, when you can have something made just for you, why settle for off-the-shelf?

Ready to dive into the world of bespoke eLearning? Contact us today and let us help you create a learning experience that’s as unique as you are.

Engaging learners in elearning is crucial for effective knowledge retention and skill development. Embracing these key strategies will help create a dynamic and impactful learning journey for all learners, something that we are always keen to do here at Day One.