Ask the expert: what is bespoke eLearning? And is it right for me?

19th December 2023

Article written by Meg Shona Halpin-Webster, Graduate eLearning Content Writer at Marshall E-Learning Consultancy, a Ciphr company, in conversation with Tamar Elderton Welch, head of eLearning at Marshall E-Learning Consultancy. 

Bespoke eLearning content is a great way for organisations to effectively deliver essential information that’s targeted to their employees’ needs, and reflects their organisational culture, brand tone of voice and HR policies. Marshalls has delivered an extensive range of bespoke eLearning content to corporate organisations and institutions on vast topics, reflecting specific challenges they were facing or areas they wanted to prioritise. To find out more about what bespoke eLearning content is, and the process behind developing a bespoke training course, we spoke to Tamar Elderton Welch, Marshalls’ head of eLearning. Here is our conversation:

What is the difference between bespoke eLearning content and customised eLearning?

Bespoke and customised eLearning are two different approaches to training. Bespoke, as the name suggests, refers to a tailored approach that is designed specifically for that client’s organisational needs. In this instance, an instructional designer will work with a client closely to understand their requirements, taking into account their culture and learner demographics. They will then be able to use this information to design a unique training package that is highly relevant and will make an impact. This approach is the gold standard when it comes to effectiveness, especially if paired with additional methods of delivery.

Customised eLearning training on the other hand, typically involves pre-designed templates or existing eLearning modules that can be adapted or customised to some extent. This approach is most useful for compliance topics that change very little between organisations and offer an efficient and cost-effective solution.

What is the advantage of bespoke eLearning content from Marshalls?

The main advantage of working with an eLearning provider to create bespoke eLearning content is that the client ends up with a learning solution that has been crafted just for them. From a learner perspective this means the training will look and feel as if it was created from experts within their business.

The eLearning content will also be targeted to fulfil their organisational needs. The training focus will therefore be on those subjects that are most important to the organisation. Moreover, the bespoke approach allows for innovative and personalised learning, for example, the use of individual learning pathways that direct the learner to content based on their role or their knowledge gaps.

You can also create a learning experience that maximises engagement by using methods like community leaderboards, AI course guides, gamification and badges or other incentives that tie-in with the organisation’s existing reward and recognition schemes.

There are also different methods of delivery that are available to you with a bespoke approach that isn’t possible via customisation, such as bite-sized learning, presenter-led video training, branching scenarios, and blended approaches with face-to-face facilitation.

How would you describe the process of bespoke eLearning training?

There are three key stages of creating bespoke eLearning content: scoping, storyboarding and visual design, and the full technical module build and review process.

Phase one, scoping, is where we determine the best training approach for the client. We begin this phase by asking: ‘What do we want the learner to achieve by taking this course?’ We also consider the audience demographics, meaning the learners that will be taking the course, and the ways in which we can make the content feel personalised to them specifically. During this stage, the needs of the client, such as the key topics and themes to cover, will be outlined and we will review any existing training materials that the client is currently using on the topic. To ensure that the eLearning content is bespoke, we also find out the necessary brand guidelines and images that the client would like us to use throughout.

The next phase is storyboarding and visual design. We create our eLearning training in a storyboard format, with multiple drafts being drawn up and sent back-and-forth to the client for their comments and suggestions. With bespoke eLearning content especially, it’s important for us that the client feels involved throughout the process. When all comments and suggestions have been incorporated into different versions, the final storyboard will be approved and signed off by the client.

This leads us directly into the third and final stage, the full technical module build and review process. This stage begins with an alpha build of the module, which is shown to the client for their thoughts and comments. Then our team of developers work on the beta build. This stage concludes with the creation of the gold build, which is then taken to pilot and acceptance testing.

What topics are best suited to bespoke eLearning content?

There are certain subjects that lend themselves best to a bespoke eLearning approach. Any training that is specifically related to brand values, culture and customer service, such as staff inductions and sales or marketing training, is an ideal candidate. Because the training content is totally unique to the commissioning organisation, it cannot be fulfilled with a generalised, or even a customised, approach.

Similarly, any topics that is specific to an organisation’s policies and procedures really benefits from the bespoke route. Industries with stringent compliance requirements, such as healthcare, finance or pharmaceuticals, often need bespoke eLearning content to address specific regulations and ensure that employees understand and adhere to them. In the same way, industries with complex technical processes or machinery may require bespoke eLearning content to provide detailed, organisation-specific training. This is common in fields such as engineering, IT, or manufacturing.

Find out more about Marshalls’ bespoke eLearning content

If your organisation is looking to meet compliance requirements, enhance your brand and culture, or tackle a particular issue you are facing, you can rely on our bespoke eLearning training to meet your specific needs. To find out more about our high-quality, engaging and dynamic bespoke eLearning offering, contact us to see how we can help your organisation.

Not quite ready to make an enquiry? Then take a look at our bespoke eLearning content case studies.

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