Click next to continue? Tips and Tricks on strategy, marketing, and development for e-learning freelancers and small agencies.

E-learning development is nothing new, but as the industry evolves, new ways and techniques appear that can make the process more efficient and results better. I have been working in e-learning development and startups for 14 years ( e-learning templates library – being the latest), and as I have finance and economics education as a basis I have always been interested in what works and what doesn’t. I am a firm believer that being lazy sometimes is actually good, as it helps people innovate. Here are a few tips that have helped me work smarter, and I will share the rest of them in a webinar on the 27th of April.

F@£$ You Pay Me..

– or something similar was the name of the video a friend of mine showed me about things you need to include in every contract. I have looked for the video, if you know what I am talking about please let me know, as I would love to reference the original source. Either way, there are two things I try to include in every contract: the client gets all intellectual property of the work done, only after all the payments have been made and received, meaning your client doesn’t own your work until they have paid you. If the contract is stopped in the middle of the process, for whatever reason, if the work hasn’t been paid for, the client owns nothing from the work in progress. This really helps if there is a misunderstanding/conflict situation, trust me.

Second thing, if you deliver a project to a client, they have X amount of days, let’s say 10 days, to accept it, or send back a rejection with an explanation and description of what needs to be updated. If you don’t receive anything within 10 days, you can assume the delivery has been accepted, and you can proceed with sending an invoice. This eliminates the risk that the client can use the review process to put pressure on you, haven’t really had cases like this in the e-learning industry, but it sure feels nice to have this in a contract.

Do you really need a Mobile version?

I mean yes we all want everything responsive, and kids these days are on mobile and whatnot, but seriously how many people really enjoy looking at your AML training while browsing the internet on a mobile before going to bed? I love mobile and don’t get me wrong, responsive e-learning is great. However, the execution with the current authoring tools like Captivate, Lectora, or even Storyline is not always optimal, and I would like to argue, that it is ok. We have had client situations, where a large client, looked up statistics and only 0,5% of their employees viewed their training, which was mobile responsive on an actual phone. 99,5% viewed it on a desktop computer or tablet (iPad). And then if you add the other part of the equation, it costs about 50% more to create a mobile responsive course, than to create a regular desktop-based course, which btw can also be viewed on a mobile phone, just the text will be tiny and it will look worse, but in desperate times, it can still be used on a mobile phone. Sometimes it is worth rethinking your mobile e-learning strategy especially if the two choices usually are between investing in arranging objects or investing in Instructional Design, which, you know quite well, will create something more interactive, engaging, and meaningful in a desktop-only version.

One decision maker

I cannot stress this enough, if you want the project to go over budget, involve a team of decision-makers on the client side. I mean why shouldn’t we ask everyone involved, let’s create something and then send it out to 10 people for review, and then without any curation or internal discussion send it to the poor development team. Have you been in this situation? We have, multiple times, and sometimes there is no way around it, except having a hard discussion with your client. And as the saying goes, great things usually are on the other side of tough conversations. This is no exception, it is better to stop the uncontrolled commenting immediately, even if it can make someone angry on the client side, in the long run, it will be beneficial for everyone. Because also the people commenting, I mean, they are working in a large corporation, they are sent content, and management expects them to add value and comment, sometimes they don’t even want to do that, but they feel obliged. This creates a tremendous workload for everyone. So our suggestion, do all the client-side commenting internally and have one decision-maker who curates the reviews and gives a summary to the development team – You.

More tips and tricks will be shared in the webinar on the 27th of April, join me, sign up to learn more.

From your presenter: Founder and CEO of FasterCourse, we try to create top-notch e-learning templates and products. I co-founded my first e-learning company in 2007, have been creating e-learning for almost 14 years. I like to build companies and products, I believe in good design, teamwork, win-win arrangements and long term relationships with all stake holders.

Follow Karlis on Twitter and LinkedIn.

eLN Interactive Webinar Series: Podcasting – Why and where to begin with Liam Gardner

Podcasts – a content creation tool not to be overlooked.

If you’re like me, then you will have noticed more and more podcasts being shared, but why are they so popular? And how can they help you to engage with your audience?

Since the dawn of time we have used verbal storytelling to share experiences, tell stories to entertain and most importantly learn the ways of the world.

Fast forward to the present date and you will be forgiven to think that video is the content king! But look a little harder and you will find that voice communication has been steadily gaining more popularity as the years go by.

A recent example of this rise in popularity of Clubhouse, and how it has took the world by storm. Clubhouse certainly had a very clever marketing strategy by limiting access, but with the likes of Facebook and Twitter rushing to launch their own Livestream Voice alternatives, it’s clear that verbal communication is still as important as ever!

If we take a step back and also look at podcasting, we can observe how it has also been building in popularity as a valuable learning tool that many have taken advantage of.

With listeners able to download and consume episodes at a time and place that is convenient to them, podcasts have been able to entertain and educate millions of listeners who are often completing other activities such as: exercise, commuting or doing the chores. You will notice that those tasks require our physical effort and or visual attention but allow us the opportunity to absorb what is being said in an otherwise uninterrupted environment.

Unlike our low attention span with video, Podcasts allow us to immerse listeners into a long form and engaging learning experience, with some podcasts holding their audience’s attention for over an hour per episode.

Meaning that a podcaster can speak to their audiences for longer, allowing for more complex information to be explained in greater detail using thought provoking questions and answers from a single host to a more elaborate guest panel of experts.

But wait… there’s more, not only do you get a chance to build huge trust with your audience – I mean let’s face it, they are letting you into their ears – how often will someone let you have such a lengthy intimate conversation with them. You can also repurpose your recordings into additional content forms to provide alternative learning and promotional assets.

To find out more about how you can maximise your content by recording and repurposing a podcast sign up to this webinar.

In this session, you will learn:
  • What a podcast is
  • How podcasts work
  • How to start podcasting
  • How can you can turn your recording into multiple content assets
  This content is for members only.  Annual individual membership is only £29, sign up today and start taking advantage of the benefits of being an eLN member!  

Podcasts are growing in popularity, in both those who listen and who create compelling content. This webinar is presented by Liam Gardner – E-Products manager at Qube Learning – National Training provider in the UK.

Liam has been recording, producing and promoting his own show since 2018, whilst helping others to plan, launch and make the most out of their own shows.

Passionate about learning and podcasting, Liam will cover the benefits of choosing podcasting as your content medium of choice, where to get started, and how you can make the most out of each recording.

Follow Liam's YouTube channel

eLN Interactive Webinar Series: Marketing your learning courses and content with Hayley Maisey

How do you successfully create awareness around a new soft skills course?  How do you effectively promote a new change management programme to ensure you get buy-in?  How do you build and maintain relationships with your people so you can better support their professional development needs?

Effective marketing makes an impact in many ways – it creates engagement, raises brand awareness and generates demand for a service/product. So how can L&D professionals leverage marketing strategies and tactics to better connect with learners, drive interest in professional development and provide workplace training to an engaged audience?

Join Hayley as she demonstrates how you can better promote your learning programmes through effective integrated marketing and communication to achieve results. Hayley kick-starts the practical session with a quick overview of what marketing is, why it is important and how it can be adopted by L&D to help meet training objectives. She then delves into the practical side and shares what a marketing campaign looks like and how to build one from scratch, providing a step-by-step approach for you to apply to your own work.

By the end of the hour, you will have:

  • a better understanding of what an integrated marketing campaign is and why it’s effective
  • a good insight into how you can effectively market your service to your people
  • a step-by-step approach to takeaway and help you create a marketing campaign of your own.
Please come with a learning solution/programme in mind as well as any challenges you’re facing so you can relate what you learn to a real-case scenario; there will be opportunity at the end of the session for Q&A.
  This content is for members only.  Annual individual membership is only £29, sign up today and start taking advantage of the benefits of being an eLN member!  
Hayley Maisey became a self-employed Marketing Consultant in June 2017 having worked client-side in marketing and events roles for over 17 years. She’s held Chartered Marketer status since 2013 and has a degree in e-Communications.

Hayley works with small businesses who have limited resources and need help with their marketing. She’s largely collaborated with learning technology providers and organisations across L&D, including the eLearning Network. Previous employed roles include Marketing Manager at Brightwave Group, e-Communications Manager at The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Head of Operations and Events at The Association for Learning Technology (ALT).

Follow Hayley on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Get the best mapping content for elearning courseware

Does every request for a new course have a nicely defined scope and clear learning objectives? Do you never have requests to add ‘just this’ to almost ready courses? Do your subject matter experts always stick to just the things people need to know?

No? Join the club! In this post, Kevin Maye explains how Good Things Foundation collaborates with customers and subject matter experts together to keep their courseware concise.

I love Cathy Moore and her Action Mapping method for developing learning materials.

This is how I interpret her techniques.

Step 1 - Share everything

Technically there is a step before this of getting the right people together in a room. To be clear you need some subject matter experts (SME’s – 2 or 3 to ensure good coverage). You also need representatives of the audience (more than the SME’s in the room).

When that group comes together, in a real or virtual room, the first exercise is to record everything they could teach someone about the topic. In a real room it’s all about post-its (online use Jamboard, Miro or similar)

Anyone that’s read Cathy Moore will know this is a bad idea. Cathy tells us to focus on specific behaviours and prioritise those. I’ll explain later why I’ve already gone ‘off-piste’.

Step 2 - Sifting and sorting

When you’ve finished getting ALL the ideas out of peoples heads it’s time to start organising them. This might take a while and the steps will vary depending on how many post-its you have. Look for duplicates (put them together), natural groupings (put them close by each other). Consider different levels or types of things (whoever is leading this organises it how they see fit).

Notice I still haven’t removed any of the post-its/ideas, so there’s still loads more than we could cope with in an elearning course.So the next step is to cut out anything that isn’t essential and this is when the audience becomes most important. What do they HAVE to know/do?

If your SME’s say something is vital but your audience members say they’ve done the job for months and never heard of it, the audience member wins.

You might need to explore what’s so important about it with the SME’s but for now, it’s outside of the course. NOTE if your SME can prove the point is essential (maybe the audience not doing this one thing is the cause of poor productivity) then you can bring it back later.

Apply that to everything and you should have a more manageable list of stuff to go into the course. Keep that safe and take a picture of it so no one can argue later what was in.

Step 3 - Ideas that don’t make the cut

You also have a lot (probably more) stuff that didn’t make the essential list. What do you do with those?

Each of these items that didn’t make it into the learning piece needs to be addressed. That might just mean making a list of each item and why it didn’t make the selection.

Or you might want some curated resources about an item. Or create a PDF with background information about one of the items.

The point is that for everything that isn’t in the elearning course you have something to point to explaining how it’s addressed or why it’s not. When the inevitable question from someone not at the initial mapping session arrives, here are your answers.

If you have time to do this with your experts and customers even better. They’re then involved and invested in these alternatives and are less likely to undermine the decisions later.

Step 4 - Explore what made the cut

Once you’ve worked out how to deal with what’s not part of your solution it’s time to start fleshing out the details of what is. I like to get my audience members and SME’s working together to explore small specific items – individual skills in Cathy Moore’s world. 

From there I’ll look to develop storyboards, build up scripts and identify scenarios that can be included in the elearning to keep it active and engaging. I haven’t got space in this post to cover all that, but the eLearning Network has an interactive webinar series where you can pick up great ideas.

That’s the essence of how I keep elearning courses concise, on topic and avoid waffle. Join me on the 14th April to explore in more detail along with real-world examples.

eLN Interactive Webinar Series: Click next to continue? Tips and Tricks on strategy, marketing and development for e-learning freelancers and small agencies with Karlis Sprogis

In this webinar, Karlis would like to share his personal and FasterCourse’s tips and tricks on how to be more efficient as a freelancer.  See below the topics Karlis will try to cover, and hopes this will be a discussion you are keen to contribute to:

  • 2 things I include in every contract

  • Choosing authoring tool

  • Accessibility checklists

  • Do you really need mobile?

  • One decision maker

  • Clearly define review rounds

  • Our way of storyboarding

  • Nitty-gritty details: design tips and tricks from FasterCourse designers

  • Course building best practice when doing actual development work

  • Publishing and delivery: Scorm or xApi? If SCORM which one?

  • File naming for success

  • Stand on the shoulders of GIANTS: reuse / outsource efficiently as much as possible.

In this session, you will hopefully get an idea or two, how to make your e-learning course development more efficient and earn more, while not working more. Sounds too good to be true I know, but let’s see if that is possible.

From your presenter: Founder and CEO of FasterCourse, we try to create top-notch e-learning templates and products. I co-founded my first e-learning company in 2007, have been creating e-learning for almost 14 years. I like to build companies and products, I believe in good design, teamwork, win-win arrangements and long term relationships with all stake holders.

Follow Karlis on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Storyboarding for digital design with David Price

Whether you are new to digital design or an experienced professional you have probably heard the terms storyboarding and prototyping at some point.

But what is the difference between the two, and how do you do them?


The main purpose of a storyboard is to understand the content you are developing and help layout the content you are going to develop, whether it be in written format or visual.  Storyboards can include visual, multimedia, text, audio, interactions and navigation details for every slide/scene in your content.

Often storyboards are creating using tools such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, but in the modern world of rapid development are there more advanced and collaborative tools available to you?

The answer is yes, there are loads of different ways to do them.


In simple terms prototyping is typically a visual representation of what your content will look like and how a learner/user may interact with the content.  It is sometimes seen as a halfway point between your storyboard and your final developed version of your content.

Whereas a storyboard is a “sketch” of what your content will include, a prototype would typically include elements such as branding, i.e., logos, colours and fonts, graphic mock-ups and even a version of audio that may be used.

Prototyping can help your stakeholders visualise what their final product may look like and allows them to provide feedback before your content goes into final build.

So, which one comes first?

Like the chicken and the egg debate everyone has their own view on this, do you storyboard first, or do you prototype first

Well, I believe it all comes down to the individual project requirements on which one you do first.  Personally, I prefer to prototype first if I have some source content to work with as it helps me visualise how the rest of the storyboard would flow.  It also allows me to share design concepts with my clients to help them visualise what their content may look like.

However, this approach doesn’t always apply, and a rough storyboard is done first.  Typically done when there is a lot of theoretical content that needs to be turned into instruction content and focus on design is not as important in the initial stages.

Now you have decided to storyboard or prototype, what tools can you use?

Traditionally storyboarding has been done using tools such as Microsoft Word and/or PowerPoint, but are these still fit for purpose?

Answer…. yes and no.  Word and PowerPoint are great for putting a written storyboard together but when project timescales are tight, and you need to collaborate with stakeholders there are other ways in which this can be done.  Instead, you could consider using tools such as Google Docs which allow collaborative editing and feedback.

For me personally I haven’t used Word and PowerPoint to storyboard for many years as I am more of a visual designer, but that may not be for everyone.  With tools such as Adobe XD, Sketch, and InVision, to name a few, there are new ways to rapidly prototype and storyboard and still work collaboratively with your extended team and stakeholders.

Next steps

Why not join the discussion on the 24th March 2021 all about Storyboarding for Digital Design.  Bring along some examples to share with the wider community and even discuss your methods with your peers.

eLN Interactive Webinar Series: Design and facilitation of live online learning with Jo Cook

In this interactive webinar you’ll learn some key points from live online learning specialist Jo Cook. Be prepared to get those fingers typing, your mice clicking on the whiteboard and to chat in breakout rooms.

2021 has been the year to really hone skills in designing and facilitating the live online learning sessions you started in 2020. Come and share your questions, challenges and success in virtual delivery.

In this session you will learn:

  • Key strategies for designing your virtual classrooms
  • Facilitation approaches so you don’t rely on webcam
  • How to plan and structure your session
  This content is for members only.  Annual individual membership is only £29, sign up today and start taking advantage of the benefits of being an eLN member!  
Through her company Lightbulb Moment, Jo Cook has specialised in training learning professionals about virtual classroom and webinar design and delivery since 2013. Jo is a speaker, instructional designer and classroom facilitator. Jo’s passion is in helping and supporting teams, professionals and organisations embrace the benefits of the live online learning technology and her background includes: further and higher education; the charity sector; small and large organisations, including CNN News and Bupa International.

Find out more about Jo and her work on her website: and follow @LightbulbJo on Twitter and LinkedIn.

eLN Interactive Webinar Series: Storyboarding for digital design with eLN Director Dave Price

What is a storyboard in digital learning?
In simple terms it’s a framework that is laid out for developing a digital course, whether it be eLearning, interactive video, or some other medium.
So why use a storyboard?
There are a number of reasons why you might storyboard and these can include:
  • Visualising your design work
  • Identifying gaps or weaknesses in the training design
  • Helping SME’s to validate the content that is going to be built
  • and if done right, could save you a lot of time in the later development stages
During this webinar your host David will share his thoughts on the storyboarding and prototyping of a digital course and facilitate discussions around best practises and the tools available to aid you in designing your own storyboards. We will also look at the differences between storyboarding and prototyping and how UX design can help you on the path to success.As an interactive session why not bring along some of your own storyboarding stories and experiences, and even bring along some examples that you may want some help on from other experts in your field.
David Price

About your presenter: I have over 19 years experience of designing and developing eLearning in a number of different industries. I am currently an eLN mentor as I love to help other people develop their digital skills and I hope to further that more as an eLN director. I am passionate about UI and UX design and with an additional background in website development and photography I have a keen interest in making engaging content for learners. I would bring all my years of experience to the board and my experience of working in a vast range of different industries gives me an in-depth knowledge on a whole range of subject matters.

eLN Interactive Webinar Series: Content Tools with Andrew Appleby

  • The last few years has seen an explosion in software marketed as ‘The next best thing’ for learning design. Whether you’ve been in the industry for decades, months or you’re considering a career switch, deciding which Design Tool is worth your time (and money) is an absolute minefield!

    This webinar will demystify the marketing, simplify the tech bits and share real experiences of using some of the most common Digital Design Tools.

    With a whistle-stop tour of tools like Captivate, Storyline, Gomo, Elucidat, and more you’ll get an informed, objective view of the best tools to create the Digital Learning you need.

    In this session, you will learn:
  • The basic (and advanced) features of some of the most common tools available
  • How each tool compares in price
  • The shortcuts to build, at pace
  • What ‘non-design’ tools you can use to aid your design
  • The ‘Best in the market’ (or not…)
  This content is for members only.  Annual individual membership is only £29, sign up today and start taking advantage of the benefits of being an eLN member!  
Andy Appleby is a Corporate Learning Expert and Coach, who first discovered his love for helping people learn in 2004! Since then, his mission has been simple: Make learning easy. Always.

With over a decade and a half of designing and developing learning, setting up Learning Design teams, and transforming global learning operations Andy continues to support some of the world’s biggest organisations as they design, develop and deliver learning experiences that make a difference for their employees, every day.

Follow Andrew on LinkedIn or websites – and .

eLN Interactive Webinar Series: Writing for Learning with Helen Hill


How much do you consider what you are writing in your learning beyond making sure it covers the right topics, the learning objectives and is grammatically correct?

In this session we will look at the key principles of writing for learning and what we can learn from the fields of Content and UX design. I will provide some tools and tips for creating an equal experience for all, making your content accessible and improving the flow and readability. In other words – putting the learners first.

We will be looking at topics such as:

    • Using plain language
    • The Readability Guidelines
    • The learner journey
    • Planning for translation and localisation
    • Helpful tools and resources

In this session, you will:

    • Learn how to improve your writing to account for all learners using Content Design principles
    • Identify points for improvement in your own work
    • Share experiences and knowledge of UX design and how you implement it in your work
    • Discover resources and tools to help you learn more
  This content is for members only.  Annual individual membership is only £29, sign up today and start taking advantage of the benefits of being an eLN member!  

Design Thinking with Houra Amin

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success”.


The coronavirus pandemic is a prime example of how complex problems can disturb everyone’s lives and businesses. We live in a volatile, unpredictable and complex world and although the problems we face with are not always as big as the pandemic, we still need to address a vast range of challenges not only to survive but to thrive and grow. 
Design thinking allows businesses and individuals alike to effectively address their challenges by enabling them to unlock their creativity. And creativity is our competitive advantage, isn’t it?

You may have heard examples of companies worldwide that suddenly shifted their strategy and/or production to fight the current pandemic and keep their business running. With every bar in the UK shut following the lockdown policies, many gin distilleries across the country switched their products to save the future of their business and help fight the spread of coronavirus. Many found themselves in the same situation as Carmen O’Neal, the managing director of a boutique London-based distillery, We suddenly had a business with no customers or income – and if we didn’t do something, and do it very, very quickly, we’d also have no business. How do we keep our business running? How do we save the team’s jobs?”

So what did they do? They focused on the market and what people needed most. They unleashed their creative thinking. The result? Sanitiser! A product that is badly needed and is feasible for distilleries to produce as they have all the required ingredients to make some.

Design thinking is a mindset that drives innovation and enables organisations, leaders, teams and individuals in different industries to do the right thing through empathy and collaboration. 

One of the popular models for design thinking is the double diamond model which was popularised by the British Design Council in 2005. This framework outlines four core principles to enable effective problem solving:

  • Discover: Empathy is key. Put people first – start with an understanding of the people using a service, their needs, strengths and aspirations.
  • Define: Communicate visually and inclusively to define the problem or the opportunity so that everyone has a shared understanding of the situation.
  • Develop through collaboration and co-creation. It’s all about working together and being open to other people’s insights and ideas and getting inspired by what others are doing. We cannot apply design thinking in isolation.
  • Prototype: Iterate, iterate, iterate. We need to be able to embrace mistakes, fail fast and learn quickly. This will help to avoid bigger, more expensive risks down the road. As Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO says “don’t think of it as failure think of it as designing experiments through which you’re going to learn”. An iterative approach to solving problems is very helpful because the feedback we receive from the people we’re designing for is a critical part of how a solution evolves. By continually iterating, refining, and improving our work, we put ourselves in a place where we’ll have more ideas, try a variety of approaches, unlock our creativity, and arrive more quickly at successful solutions. 

As Learning and Development professionals, we can apply design thinking to readjust the learning strategy by focusing more on people’s experience and performance and help solve real problems and challenges.