Can one size fit all? Custom vs Catalogue

09 March 2020 by Arlene Mooney

People expect more from their products than ever before. They want the perfect solution to meet their exact need. Top brands have recognised this and consumers now have the option to customise everything: fast food orders, shoes, eyewear and even cars!

What does this mean for L&D? Is custom best? A study by Deloitte shows that while the majority of customers are aware that customised products exist, only one in six makes a purchase. This means that the majority are purchasing generic e-learning.

So, is a generic, ‘one size fits all’ approach effective or do we need to tailor our content to make it specific to the needs of our learners? To simplify the process of deciding between ready-made or custom content let’s start by looking at each solution and how it can work for you.

Ready-made catalogue content

Catalogue, or ‘off-the-shelf’ content, is generic and ready to use. It covers a range of common competencies, skills and knowledge with topics such as Equality in the Workplace, Mental Health Awareness, Cyber Security and Fire Safety, to name but a few. 

With Learning Pool’s extensive catalogue we can offer hundreds of editable workplace learning modules for a low, yearly licence fee. They adhere to robust learning standards, adapt to any device and offer a broad range of skills. With the aid of our Adapt Builder authoring tool, you can easily edit text and match the branding of your organisation. Investing in our catalogue content saves time and money offering a great return on investment. 

Custom content

Even with the benefits, we have just covered, sometimes your training and performance needs may not be met with catalogue content. Perhaps you need content on a subject that isn’t covered or you need to raise awareness of areas of your organisation that are unique and of high importance. This is where custom content excels!

Custom, or bespoke content, is tailored to your requirements to address specific learning needs. It’s also an opportunity to engage learners with unique, creative solutions. Bespoke includes a range of formats, including e-learning, animations, learning scenarios, game-based solutions, campaign materials and off-line resources. It offers freedom with regard to creative visual and learning design approaches and the ability to bring the ‘wow factor’. Learning Pool has worked with a wide range of organisations, such as The FA, Swiss Re and Schlumberger, to successfully develop exciting and effective bespoke solutions. You can read some further success stories here.

Another advantage of custom content is that it can feature a perfect blend of custom, catalogue and face-to-face training presented in a range of formats to engage and excite the learner. 

If you have yet to delve into the world of custom content, it can be easier and more cost-effective than you think. In our upcoming blog posts, we will guide you through the custom content process.

Can one size fit all?

So, in answer to our original question of can a one size fits all approach work? The only way to answer this and determine the approach your organisation should take is to consider your specific needs. If you are still unsure, why not contact Learning Pool and we can show you how to make both approaches work for you.


Arlene Mooney
Learning Design Team Lead

Arlene has worked in the learning industry since 2007 and joined Learning Pool as a Learning Designer in 2012. In her time she has worked with a range of public and private sector organisations.

In her Senior LD and Team Leader role, Arlene focuses on building close relationships between her team and their customers, to ensure we truly understand our learner audiences and what will get their attention and build their understanding in a solution.

Arlene is a busy working mum, when she can grab some ‘me’ time she loves travelling and unwinding with a good book and the odd glass of wine (all at the same time)!

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