When it comes toSafeguarding, both off-the-shelf courses from a catalogue and completelybespoke options can achieve knowledge based outcomes and encourage a positive behaviourchange in learners. Deciding which content path would be most suitable for yourorganisation can depend on a number of factors. Off-the-shelfcoursesThere are undeniable benefits off-the-shelf e-learning solutions.If they are designed well, this form of training can support your organisationand workforce in a variety of ways. As pre-packaged safeguarding trainingsolutions and e-learning courses are ready to buy, organisations are able toget up and running with the bare minimum of setup time.

The design and testing processis all handled by the vendor, allowing for precision and reliability without yourorganisation having to lift a finger. Such solutions can be ideal whenproviding training on relatively general safeguarding subjects, as the courseswill align with national legislation. They are also much more affordable thanmost Bespoke options, therefore often favoured by organisations with less tospend.

 However, the inevitable downside is the fact that off-the-shelfsolutions will not be tailored to fit the specific needs of your workforce,meaning that the content may not necessarily meet your training goals asprecisely and perfectly as a course designed in-house would. If you anticipatethat your safeguarding training requirements are too specific for anoff-the-shelf option to address, then a bespoke approach may be preferable foryou. BespokecoursesArguably the most significant benefit of any custom-built, bespoketraining course is the fact that it is directly relevant to your business or organisationby design. When developing a Bespoke course, every individual aspect of it canbe completely tailored to your own specific circumstances. Thiscould be the choice of wording, vocabulary, the learning materials themselves,right down to the specific values it embodies – to your individualorganisational needs. As your organisation will have complete control and ownership ofyour bespoke course, it is possible to make changes, updates and revisions toyour policies and procedures as and when necessary. However, organisations which choose to go down this route shouldbe prepared for higher upfront costs – plus a longer overall timespan fromstart to finish to get the course up and running.

Since bespoke courses need tobe carefully designed to address very specific learning outcomes, it can sometimesbe challenging for companies that lack experience in e-learning development to fullycomprehend the benefits, without the guidance of a trusted external partner. Virtual Collegecan:·         Alter our existing range of catalogue courses, changingthem to align with your policies and procedures.·         Develop a conceptbased on a range of existing templates which have been created by our awardwinning graphic design team.·         Create a new, completelybespoke course from scratch – completely unique and fully branded to yourorganisation – underpinned by pedagogical techniques. Ablend of the two?It’s alsoworth remembering that the off-the-shelf vs bespoke training dichotomy is farfrom a binary choice, as many organisations instead opt to mix and matchaspects 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 industrybest practice with sections that deal with how those guidelines apply toyour organisation; alternatively, you might be happy to pair a mostlyoff-the-shelf programme with bespoke refresher resources specific to your organisation and itsprocesses. 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 adoptingthis blended approach, it should be possible to get the best of bothworlds, combining the universality of off-the-shelf solutions with elementsdesigned by Virtual College to meet your individual business needs. Suitabilityfor your circumstancesUltimately, the question of whether you should choose anoff-the-shelf or a bespoke e-learning approach doesn’t have a one-size-fits-allanswer – it’s aboutconsidering the specific training needs of your organisation and selecting theoption that represents the best fit. At Virtual College, we provide both off-the-shelf and bespokecourses depending on your requirements. To determine the most suitable option, youwould initially need to assess your preferred training objectives, your desiredtimescale and your budget. We will then be on hand to help and consult, and canmake suggestions as to which package would meet your specific criteria.

 Virtual Collegerecently won gold for ‘Excellence in the Design of Learning Content in thePublic and Non-Profit Sector’ at the Learning Technologies Awards 2017 for ourRecognising and Preventing FGM course, which we developed in partnership withthe Home Office. We’re all absolutely delighted about this as it’s a powerfulendorsement of our commitment to using technology to deliver quality learningsolutions and supports our mission to change workforce behaviour. A Home Officeofficial commented: “Virtual College’s passion for the project and theirunderstanding 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.

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