Off The Shelf!

Bespoke suits are suits designed specifically to suit you. Off the shelf suits are those that you buy off the rack. The same terms are also used in relation to education.

A bespoke course would be one designed to meet a specific need. For example, an organisation may want training specifically to meet their organisational requirements.  Bespoke training courses are usually costly, very specific and quickly out of date.

Off the Shelf Courses are more readily available, often more cost effective and updated more frequently.

Before we go on to explain what off the shelf courses are, let’s just explain a couple of terms that are frequently used in relation to off the shelf courses.


What is E-Learning?

E-learning is electronic learning. It is learning carried out on an electronic device, such as a –

  • Computer
  • PC
  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Smart phone

What is an LMS?

LMS stands for learning management system. An LMS is a platform where the course is stored and organised.


Off the Shelf Learning Courses

Off the shelf courses then are usually e-learning courses that have been designed and uploaded to an LMS for learners to use immediately.

Off the shelf e-learning courses can be on a wide range of topics.

They are instantly available to a study accessing the LMS.

An organisation or student can choose the courses and modules that most suit the needs of the student or the business.


Advantages of Off The Shelf  E-Learning Courses

There are many advantages to off the shelf e-learning courses –

Reduced Costs

As we have already mentioned, bespoke courses can be costly.  Off the Shelf e-learning courses have already been written, designed and presented. They are not bespoke courses, but an organisation or student can pick the modules or courses that suit them and their needs, so effectively meeting their requirements, without the additional costs of bespoke training. For example, a plant nursery might want to train their staff how to deal with plant pests and diseases. Rather than paying for bespoke training, they can purchase an off the shelf course that fits their requirements. Thereby, training their staff in a more efficient and cost-effective way.


Off The Shelf E-Learning Suits Large Businesses

Off the shelf e-courses can be particularly useful for businesses with large workforces.

In some organisations, the same training may be required by all staff. For example, they may all need training on how to use a new computer system, or on customer service.

But a large organisation may also have a number of teams who require different training. For example, a publishing business may require staff trained in –

  • Editing
  • Publishing
  • Marketing
  • Administration
  • Copywriting
  • Etc

A one size fits all approach to training would not be suitable for their staff. They need training that is specific to the different departments.


Off The Shelf E-Learning Suits Small Businesses Too!

A small business may not have the funds or time to request bespoke training, so off the shelf training can also suit smaller businesses. For example, a small business may have a receptionist who they want to train to do digital marketing and e-commerce too. They might choose off the shelf courses in e-commerce and digital marketing to train the staff member.

High Quality Courses

Off the shelf courses provide customers with high quality courses and a wide range of courses without the need and cost to develop their own specific training courses.

When looking at the quality of the courses, it is important for customers to consider who is writing the courses?

A good researcher and writer can probably write a course on just about anything. Developing a high quality course is not just about writing though, there are also other factors to consider –

  • Who are the writers and course developers? As well as being good writers, are they also experts in their field?
  • Do they have a good knowledge of their industry and how that knowledge is put into practice?
  • Do the writers have current and past real life industry experience that they can use to develop courses that are useful in the real world?
  • Do the writers and course producers have a good understanding of online learning and e-learning? Producing a face to face course is simply not the same as producing content for online courses. So, make sure that the course developers are experts in distance learning.
  • Do the course providers and writers understand educational psychology? Do they understand how people learn? But specifically, how they learn online or by e-learning?
  • Flashy graphics, videos and diagrams can look great. But flashy does not make quality. When looking at e-learning courses, it is important to consider what the student is actually learning, now how pretty the course looks.

Thoughtful Design

When designing a course, it is important for the course designer and writer to also consider how people learn and what they want from their learning.

A skilled course writer and developer will have a good understanding of the way that people learn, how to engage them, how to motivate them and how to encourage them to reach their final goal – completing the course.

Learning Not Just Passing Exams

A good course is also not just about getting a final grade! Many courses will have assignments and exams. This can tell us how well the student has done in answering the assignment and exam questions.  A good course is not just about this final grade, it is also about the learning the student experiences. We want the student to learn and understand the topics that are covered in the course and put them into practice in the real world, not just pass an exam.

Why Choose Off the Shelf eLearning Courses?Top reasons why off the shelf eLearning content is Better

Why are off the shelf e-Learning courses better than curated/bespoke courses or writing the courses yourself?

Reduced Costs

Bespoke courses may be written specifically for you or your organisation, but they are costly. They can also go out of date quickly, which incurs further cost. For example, Company Z has a course developed for their employees today.  In a year’s time, several staff members have left and their training needs have changed. They need new training, so they need another bespoke course to be developed, incurring more costs.

The cost of off the shelf training is much lower than bespoke training.

Bespoke training is written and developed for one organisation or person.  Whereas off the shelf training has been developed for more than one person. It has been developed to be used by many. So, it may cost the same amount to develop a course. But if a bespoke course is only going to be sold once, the buyer will incur all of those costs. An off the shelf course can be sold numerous times, reducing the cost to the buyer.

Writing A Course

Writing a course yourself may seem like the best option. You will know your topic inside and out and know your training needs. However, unless you are a course writing expert with a knowledge of online learning and educational psychology, the course may not be as effective as you had hoped, so it is best to use professionally developed training.

Access to Content

It can benefit an organisation to have access to a wide range of training materials, such as courses and eBooks. Whilst not all of the material may be relevant to all staff, this repository of information can be available for the organisation to pick the training that is most suitable for their staff and to meet their needs.

Access to a large library of content also means that the organisation has access to material as their situation changes or they have more complex learning needs.

Ready to Use

A bespoke course will take a while to be written and developed.

An off the shelf course is ready to use when the customer wants it!

Easy to Implement

Most e-learning courses are offered via an LMS meaning that it is easy for the student to access the course when and where they need it. On their computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

Bespoke and Off The Shelf

Bespoke courses do have obvious advantages. The course is developed specifically for the customer’s needs. But as we have said, there are also disadvantages in bespoke courses, such as time delays, increased costs, need for updating and the cost involved in this.

Off The Shelf e-learning courses therefore have the most obvious advantages –

Instant access

Frequently updated

Reduced costs

Wide range of courses to suit the client’s needs

Courses written by learning and development experts

Interested in Off The Shelf Courses?

ACS Distance Education was established 43 years ago and has now developed over 700 courses. We offer affiliates the opportunity to sell our off the shelf courses to your customers and students.

Whether you want to start your own e-learning school or expand your existing courses, our off the shelf range of courses are a great addition to any business.

What do we offer?

ACS Distance Education offers affiliates

  • the option of selling our courses with their own branding
  • an LMS designed specifically for our courses and affiliates
  • courses written and developed by course writers experienced in their industry, educational psychology, course writing and development for e-learning
  • courses that are frequently updated to include new theories and knowledge
  • new courses are being developed all of the time to meet the needs of industry and society
  • over 700 e-learning and online courses
  • over 80 eBooks
  • the opportunity to set up a general school or a niche school, focussing on a particular topic

A study by Deloitte recently found that 70% of organisations believe that they do not have the skills to meet the challenge from their competitors.


Recent figures suggest that the e-learning industry has grown by a massive 900% since 2000.


The COVID-19 pandemic and the growth of new technology has meant that the online learning and e-learning industry

  • has become increasingly important
  • has been recognised as a valid, useful and effective way for staff and students to study

Off the Shelf eLearning is Important -

  • Businesses need well-trained and knowledgeable staff to stay competitive in the modern world.
  • Students need to stay on top of changes in their industry.
  • Students need to study to retrain or gain promotion
  • Businesses and individuals need training when they need it and how they need it.

This is where off the shelf training comes in.

If you are interested in offering off the shelf e-learning content to your students and clients, get in touch with ACS DE and find out more about what we have to offer.

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What our clients say

We've been working with ACS over the course of the last three years. Being able to mix and match content to suit our students' needs has been extremely useful. With their material in combination with our own in house tutor service we have been able to provide a complete online learning service which has helped us expand our student cohort and advance our teaching techniques! We are thankful that we have had them as a partner throughout our time in the industry and look forward to many more years of growth together.

Jason T - Director, ACS Partner College (Affiliate)

ACS Distance Education have been fantastic to work with over our first 12 months as a start-up online short education affiliate.
They provided immense support in the foundation period ensuring we setup the best support mechanisms for students and engaging quality tutors.
ACS have continued to be receptive to feedback and promptly moved to make improvements wherever required.

David C - Director, ACS Partner College (Affiliate)

Having access to ACS' extensive library of digitalised education content has allowed us to scale our business quickly and efficiently. Their LMS is easy to access and manage, whilst also providing the consumer (student) with a professional and easy to use experience. John and Kate have always been a pleasure to work with and are quick to provide support when it is required."

Andrew O - Director, ACS Partner College (Affiliate)

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