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Which eLearning is Best?

Workplace with laptop and books. E-learning, online education concept. Distance learning over the internet.

You’ve decided eLearning is the way to go for training your team.

But now you have to decide whether to buy eLearning courses off the shelf or create your own eLearning course. 

As with everything there are always pros and cons.

In this blog, we’ll look at the pros and cons of bespoke content versus off the shelf eLearning courses to help you decide which is the best choice for you and your company.

Bespoke eLearning?

A bespoke or custom course means you control the content used to create the training. You can also fully customise the course to reflect your brand image, culture, and voice. This type of eLearning is specific to you and your company. The course is created from scratch to meet the needs and circumstances of your business. For example, bespoke eLearning can be used for product training, or software systems training that is specific to your company.

Off the Shelf eLearning?

In off the shelf eLearning, pre-built courses can be purchased and immediately rolled out by your company. A broad range of subjects can be covered with off the shelf training content, for general or compliance-related topics like cybersecurity, sexual harassment, or diversity training.

How to Choose?

There is no simple answer as to whether bespoke or off the shelf content is better. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look a little into the pros and cons of both options.

Looking at Bespoke eLearning

A few of the Pros of bespoke eLearning are, that the training content is unique to you, it’s easier to modify or update because you own it and it can fully reflect your brand culture and voice.

Unique Content

Every company will have a training need that is unique to its culture, process, or systems. Bespoke eLearning is the best choice for ensuring your product training, software systems training, or new employee training works for you.

Creating bespoke eLearning gives you control over what content you want included in the training and is tailored to meet the needs of your learners and your business.

Easy to Modify or Update

Training needs can change over time, for example, if you have a product that is updated with a new feature, bespoke eLearning is the ideal choice, as you will own the course and can easily make the necessary changes, as and when your needs evolve.

Fully Reflect Your Brand Culture and Voice

Reflecting your brand in your eLearning course is not just about having your brand logos and colours. It’s about making the course meaningful and relevant to your learners and company. For example, using branded imagery – showing realistic background settings or scenarios that relate to your company can really help better connect your learners to the training.


The main drawbacks to bespoke content development are time and cost.

Even if the content is created in-house, much time and effort will be invested to ensure that quality content is created and meets the needs of your training solution.

Looking at Off the Shelf eLearning

A few of the Pros of bespoke eLearning are, that it’s ready to use straight away, it’s quick to implement and there is a large range of generic training topics to choose from.

Ready to Use

With an off the shelf course, it is available as soon as you buy it. You don’t have to wait for it to be created. This means your learners can begin training as soon as possible.

Quick to Implement

Off the shelf courses are usually already set up for easy integration into your Learning Management System. The training is ready to go and shouldn’t require testing or revision before your learners can start using it.

Large Range of Generic Topics

If you’re looking for courses that are more generic in their content, then off the shelf courses are great, for example, soft skills training.


An off the shelf course may not fully meet your training requirements as subjects tend to be more generic. You may also have difficulty modifying or customising the content if doing so is possible at all. And you’ll have no choice in the overall look and feel of the course.

Pros and Cons concept. Speech bubble with text PROS and CONS on pink background

Closing Thoughts

Your company will have unique training objectives, so it’s best to research and talk to providers of both options before deciding which type of eLearning you go for.

The following reasons should make you consider bespoke training content. When you need to train your employees on a specific topic related to your company and when you need to develop content addressing the specific needs of your company.

The following are reasons why you should consider off the shelf training content. If you need training quickly and the topics you need training on are not specific to your company, such as IT, soft skills, communication, management, and leadership.

One thing to keep in mind is that bespoke eLearning is not necessarily more expensive than off the shelf. Yes, it can be more expensive when considering the upfront and development costs, but off the shelf courses can be more expensive, especially if you are paying per user and you have a large number of learners.

As always, if you have any questions, or think we might be able to help you with your eLearning offering, feel free to message us or click here to schedule a meeting.

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