Bespoke vs Off-The-Shelf vs Hybrid

When we work with customers on their e-learning projects, we choose to work with a hybrid Learning Management System (LMS) that allows cost-effective customisation of learning modules and course content. Think of it like a hybrid vehicle engine… maximum fuel efficiency without losing the torque of your 3L diesel.

But don’t take our word as gospel… you’ll want to do your research into what type of LMS is best for you. So here are the pros and cons of the different online training platform options that are out there.

Bespoke LMS


Customisation: You can get exactly what you want down to the last minute detail.

Cost: You only spend money on the features you need.

Bugs: You can report bugs and have them dealt with quickly, as opposed to on the next mass software update.

Support: Good bespoke software companies will have great support services. You’ll likely have an account manager who will dealt swiftly with enquiries, concerns and reporting of any bugs.


Cost: Large up front investment and each change further down the track involves further investment as it has to built from scratch specifically for your organisation.

Bugs: Because it’s newly developed, there are highly likely to be a few bugs to iron out.
Speed: Developing software from scratch takes time. However spending time and money initially, can lead to smoother sailing in the long term.

Stability: Relying on a custom platform supplier could leave you in the lurch if their business closes its doors for whatever reason.

Try Before You Buy?: You might be able to see an example or two of an LMS similar to yours, however you won’t have certainty over what yours is like until you make the decision to go ahead and get your first sample of the software for feedback.

Off-The-Shelf LMS


Speed: Because very little work is required to setup an off-the-shelf solution, this is usually the quickest option.

Bugs: have been ironed out because of the volume of people using the platform. Any that arise are dealt with swiftly.

Try Before You Buy?: You’ll be able to view many examples of the solution.

Stability: Companies that provide off-the-shelf solutions are usually large and have great reputations (if you do your research to find the right one), therefore there is less chance of you software becoming obsolete because the provider has shut down.


Customisation: Limited customisation (or even no customisation) is available to individual organisations option to use an off-the-shelf LMS. It will depend on the solution you choose as to how much of the look and functionality of the program you can change. You may have several obsolete functions available to you.

Support: Again, it depends on the provider, but usually you’d be going through a mass online support platform. How good the provider is will depend on how responsive they are to your requests.

Cost: Many off-the-shelf solutions operate with per user pricing. This can be prohibitive for many organisations.

Bugs: Issues with software are often logged and dealt with in waves that are put together into the latest update. Depending on the company managing this, in a worst case scenario it could be months until a particular bug is resolved.

Hybrid LMS


Customisation: Your hybrid LMS can be relatively customised so you get the functionality you need and look that fits your brand, without having to pay someone to build every aspect just for you.
Cost: While the software has the capability to offer many different functions, you only pay for the ones you need for your business.

Stability: Hybrid learning management systems often have the benefit of a large software development company in terms of the likelihood of the company being around for as long as you need your software to be.

Bugs: The bulk of bugs will be ironed out through the volume of users reporting issues on a daily basis. Anything finicky in the customised parts of your system should be handled swiftly by the support team.

Support: Choose the right company to deliver your Learning Management System and you’ll have that on-tap, personalised support, combined with the ease and speed of working with off-the-shelf solutions.


Customisation: While many different aspects of hybrid learning management systems are customisable, not 100% of them are.

Speed: While it won’t take as long as a bespoke solution, there’s more development time in the beginning with a hybrid system than there is with an off-the-shelf system.

So if you’re looking at implementing e-learning for your organisation and like the sound of working with a hybrid system to get the elements you need in the most cost effective way, then get in touch with the friendly and efficient team at 360 New Zealand Ltd today.