How to automate elearning project operations to save time and money

What Do We Mean By eLearning Automation?

Commonly, automation stands for minimizing or eliminating human interaction in a process.

With the development of technologies, automation had an impact on every industry. We take many automated processes as a usual thing. For example, you sign-up for any software online and immediately receive welcome Email with your name included, after making a purchase the receipt is instantly sent to us. It’s a basic example of an automation process that includes email marketing and payments, but there is more in online learning.

The most common implementations of automation are quizzes generation, answers check, providing a student with immediate feedback and instantly showing results without human interaction.

The future of elearning automation is behind artificial intelligence (AI), where the learning process will be personalized to each user and the system will adapt to students performance. We have talked about it among elearning trends for 2019.

How to improve your elearning platform through automation

Authoring automation

Automation helps more effectively format and distribute content to users. For example, before starting a course, a student can take a quiz for the system to understand what areas the student is familiar with. The platform can then tweak the course modules according to the learner’s level of knowledge. Such an approach increases engagement and helps learner stay interested and move through the course quickly. Moreover, LMS can generate quizzes and exams from your assessments and create a unique learning path for each student.

If talking about corporate training, automation can save time for managers and HR departments in the way that employees are automatically enrolled into the right training modules for them.

Automated notifications and feedback

You can automate announcements of new courses and modules as they are published to save yourself time on manual sending and students benefit in staying up to date. Educators can automatically be notified with who and when have passed or failed test and immediately sent their results.

In addition, learner satisfaction surveys can be held automatically and generate reports for you.

Create a personalized learning experience

Automation of some elearning processes don’t just save time and money, it can completely transform the learner experience and make it more personalized. We have seen personalization in work on YouTube and ecommerce industry, it’s time to start implementing it in elearning.

For example, the learner fails a quiz. After that the system is triggered to send an email with some additional materials covering the topics, a student has failed on. Moreover, a user of your elearning platform can be enrolled to an additional course according to his final exam results. Students will have their own learning paths and can learn on their own pace.

Customer service and support

Modern technologies allow automating even such human tasks as support and Q&A. You can save yourself a lot of time and reduce the number of employees by creating rich FAQ page or even whole help center with search function as we have done for one of your clients.

In addition, chatbots can better customer satisfaction with an instant answer to questions.

Automated Report Delivery

It is possible to create automated report delivery and moreover, in different formats. For example, you would like to have a monthly report of your course performance in PDF format and Excel table with financial reports. In addition, they can be automatically sent to your inbox each month.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Your platform’s integration with CRM can bring your business to the next level and we are not talking about just managing your customers. By monitoring learner performance and discovering patterns, CRM can bring valuable process automation.

For instance, some of your students abandoned learning on some module, CRM can detect that and send an email to users for encouraging them to continue the course.

Customer relationship management allows to control the stages, students are on and interact with them with relevant information. This also provides students with personalized experience.

Bottom line

Elearning automation can save you time, money and create a personalized experience for your users. As a result, the performance of your course or training should increase and the learners get better results as the system optimizes for their own pace and level of knowledge.

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Classic Learning Research in Practice – Heroes journey

1. Ordinary World – Limited awareness of a problem:

A likeable audience is unaware that they have a problem or an opportunity

2. Call to Adventure – Increased Awareness:

They are shown a unique idea that brings their world into imbalance

3. Refusal of the Call – Reluctance to change

They are skeptical, afraid, resistant to adopt it because it will require change

4. Meeting with the Mentor – Overcoming Reluctance

But a presenter with experience, valuable insights, and magical tools will help

5. Crossing the Threshold – Committing to change

So they decide to jump in and commit to the idea

6. Test Allies and Enemies – Experimenting with first change

Now the real work begins, but it is hard. People appose the effort to change

7. Approach the Inmost Cave – Preparing for a big change

They are determined to push the idea forward and begin to work on new skills

8. Ordeal – Attempting a big change

They take a major step, but it doesn’t workout as they’d thought

9. Seizing the Sword – Consequence of the attempt

They get discouraged and consider giving up, but they begin to see some benefits

10. Road Back – Rededication to change

They decide to continue with the a renewed excitement

11. Resurrection – Final attempt at a big change

Utilizing their new tools, they try one final push and are victorious

12. Return with Elixir – Final Mastery of the problem

The idea is widely adopted

Icons made by Freepik from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

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7 Examples Of Responsive eLearning Design For Higher Engagement And A Better Learning Experience

Of late, there is a big buzz on Responsive eLearning designs vs older Adaptive eLearning designs. In this article, I’ll show you why you should invest in it, when you should use it, and how you can create great responsive eLearning designs.

Responsive eLearning Design For Higher Engagement And A Better Learning Experience


Mobile learning, or learning on the go, provides multi-device support.

  • This means that all mobile learning courses run seamlessly across devices ranging from smartphones or tablets to desktops or laptops.
  • As an extension, the learners can choose to learn on the device they prefer.
  • Additionally, they can move between devices during a given course with the flexibility to resume on another device exactly from where they left on a given device.

Slowly, there is a shift from offering this multi-device support that featured a fixed layout (mobile-friendly or adaptive eLearning design) to a dynamic design (mobile-first or responsive eLearning design) that automatically adapts to the viewable area of each device.

Should You Consider Investing In Responsive eLearning Designs?

As is true for any transitions, this raises associated questions like:

  • What exactly is a responsive eLearning design?
  • When should you invest in responsive eLearning designs?
  • Does it indeed create a better learning experience?

In this article, I provide answers to these questions and then outline tips that you can use to create great responsive eLearning designs. I wrap up the article with 7 examples from our repository that show you how you can create great responsive eLearning designs that will create a more engaging learning experience.

What Are Responsive eLearning Designs?

Unlike the first-generation, mobile learning solutions that were mobile friendly (worked on all devices but featured an adaptive or fixed layout), the mobile-first or responsive eLearning designs adapt to the viewable area of a device creating an optimal view and a better learning experience.

Interestingly, the responsive eLearning designs draw their inspiration from the responsive website designs.

To illustrate the difference between adaptive and responsive eLearning designs, see how the same content would appear across devices:

Responsive eLearning Designs Have The Following Two Characteristics:

  1. Optimal viewing across devices that creates a better learning experience.
  2. Learning interactions that are optimized for mobile devices and thereby create higher engagement.

Why Should You Invest In Responsive eLearning Designs?

While mobile friendly or adaptive eLearning designs provide the flexibility to learners to consume learning across devices, they are designed primarily for layouts of desktops/laptops. As a result, they work well in the landscape mode on tablets and smartphones. However, in the portrait mode, the content shrinks.

Furthermore, since they are not primarily designed for mobile devices, they use learning interactions that are not optimized for mobile devices.

You Should Invest In Responsive eLearning Designs:

  1. When you anticipate the predominant consumption of eLearning on smartphones.
  2. When the eLearning courses feature shorter nuggets (microlearning-based approach). Remember, it is unlikely that your learners will take up a 45-minute or 60-minute course on a smartphone.
  3. When your learners ask for the informal learning nuggets to practice, refresh, or apply their learning on the job.
  4. When you have on-going updates that are short and need to reach the users just in time.
  5. When you want to push learners to face challenges and upgrade their skills.
  6. When you want to encourage self-directed learning.
  7. When you want to target personalized learning.

Take a look at the following stats that prove the rise in consumption of content on mobile devices and more significantly, why you should adopt a mobile-first approach:

  • According to the latest Digital Future in Focus report from comScore [1], we’re long past this tipping point in some countries, with India, Mexico and Indonesia having more than up to 4 times higher smartphone vs desktop audience.
  • 70% of learners feel more motivated accessing training on a mobile device, as opposed to a PC [2].
  • 83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important [3].

How Can You Create Great Responsive eLearning Designs?

Here is a list of my 5 tips that will help you create great responsive eLearning designs for your learners:

Tip 1

If you are planning a first-time roll out of response eLearning design in your organization, do plan for a focused user group testing early in the development cycle. This will ensure that the feedback can be applied in the eventual delivery and you get a clear affirmation that responsive eLearning is indeed the answer your learners are seeking.

Tip 2

Start the design from the smallest real estate (smartphones) and then build up to other devices. Validate the design feasibility on the smartphones, particularly the portrait mode. With this foundation, you will be providing optimal viewing across all devices that learners may opt for.

Tip 3

There is a significant process of eLearning content customization that you need to factor for. Once this is done, can you offer an optimal learning experience across different devices with different viewable areas? For instance:

  • On smartphones, you should plan to offer the “must-have content” in the first pass. Create room for exploration and layer the related information.
  • You need to optimize the file sizes so that there is no challenge of loading. Remember, on smartphones (on the go), your learners are not going to wait for the content to load. In case this optimization is not adequate to get the required loading time, do look for alternate imagery for smartphones.

Tip 4

Simple and intuitive navigation is vital in creating a great learning experience, and this aspect assumes a greater relevance on smartphones on account of limited real estate. Obviously, what would work for a smartphone will not look as good on another devices, so do select different formats so that you are able to offer equally good learning experiences across devices.

Tip 5

Effective learning interactions hold the key to a successful and sticky learning experiences. Remember not to transpose what worked on tablets/laptops; this would not work and in fact, may come in the way of big thumbs.

Similarly, all clickable buttons or other assets must be large enough. Otherwise, the learners would find the approach to be cumbersome, and they will lose interest, including suspending the learning on smartphones.

7 Examples Of Great Responsive eLearning Designs

Now, I pick 7 examples of responsive eLearning design. In each example, I have highlighted why we love this design.

Example 1: Learning Experience

I love the immersive learning experiences and engaging learning journey in this course. It offers short, nugget-based formal training and Performance Support Tools (PSTs or job aids) for learners in different formats; videos, decision-making scenarios, and gamified assessments. This is not all. There is curated content that is updated periodically so that learners keep coming back for more!

Example 2: Unique Interactions

I love the simple yet intuitive interactivities that emulate a mobile app design approach in this course. The Virtual Reality (VR) nugget is my favorite as it offers an immersive and sticky learning experience.

Example 3: Usage Of Video-Based Learning, Learning Path And So On

I love this approach as it leverages the power of video-based learning in a microlearning format; context-setting, explaining a concept, providing a solution, or creating a learning summary.

Example 4: Usage For Personalized Learning

I love this course for the granularity of microlearning-based learning paths to offer a personalized and participative learning journey.

Example 5: Usage for Formal Learning

It is used as a prelude to a larger course, such as data security and privacy. The microlearning format used is that of a parallax website with interspersed learning elements as the learners complete their journey. I love the anchor; an ethical hacker who leads the learners through the learning path with highly interesting comments.

Example 6: Usage For Informal Learning

I love this course as it features a very real and relatable situation that each one of us would have encountered at the workplace! It uses a decision-making microlearning format where scenarios drive the learning journey along with a fully responsive design appeal, using our custom HTML5 framework.

Example 7: Usage Of Quizzes And Scenarios

I love the combination of microlearning with quizzes and scenarios for higher engagement and better retention of formal training or Performance Support Tools (PSTs or job aids).

I hope this article provides you with insights on what responsive eLearning designs are and when should you invest in them. I also hope that the featured examples showcase how you can use the responsive or mobile-first eLearning designs to create better engagement and higher impact training.


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Classic Learning Research in Practice – 3 Act Retention


Presentations should take advantage of the first and last item presented, as they have a higher retention rate (Tony Buzan).  Creating Interest in what could be while associating to what already is (Nancy Duarte). But avoiding misunderstanding. Creating Meaning for the attendees by applying success in: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Credibility, Concreteness, Emotion and Stories (Chip & Dan Heath). Dividing the Story  in 3 Acts (Aristoteles). Starting with Why during the first quarter of the presentation, moving over to the How in Act 2 that covers 50 percent of the presentation, and ending with What (Simon Sinek). & &

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Where to get high-quality, low-cost photos for your eLearning projects

While you or your organisation might subscribe to one or several online image libraries such as Getty Images, iStock Photo or even Adobe’s own photo library, in this post I’d like to highlight three low-cost (or even free) photo resources that let you search for and access photos instantly.

  1. Unsplash (

    Unsplash is a well-known photo library that lets you use images for free (and without attribution) for personal, as well as commercial projects. The site lets photographers submit their photos who hope to get further (paid) business due to exposure on the site.

  2. Pexels (

    Another free photo library that lets you use photos freely without attribution. There is also a sister site called Pexels Videos which gives you access to free video resources.

  3. Death to Stockphoto (

    This site also offers photos, which can be downloaded by paying for a subscription. There is a separate subscription for companies/brands and for freelancers.

If there are any other good photo libraries you’d like to share here, post them in the comments!

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Where to find icons for your eLearning projects

Oftentimes using iconography can convey a message better than photos could. But where to find high-quality icon resources that don’t strain your budget? I’ve compiled a brief list of 3 online resources that let you download icons for free or for a moderate fee.

  1. Flaticon (

    Flaticon lets you download single icons, as well as complete icon packs. Icon packs can be very useful if you need several icons for your project and want to ensure consistency (same line weight, style etc.) between icons. The service lets you download icons for free, but you’ll have to give attribution inside your project. Alternatively you can pay for a 1 month or 12 months subscription and don’t have to attribute your source.

  2. The Noun Project (

    The Noun Project is a well-known resource in the design world. Here you can also download icons for free (attribution needed) or purchase a license. You also have the option to filter icons by icon designer, so if a designer has uploaded an icon you like, you can easily find icons by the same creator. There is also a free plugin for you to download for Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, as well as MS Office applications (Word & PowerPoint) applications that let you insert Noun Project icons easily while working in any of these programs.

  3. Icons 8 (

    Another great resource is Icons 8. Here you can easily find icons that match up with each other. You can search by style (such as filled or outline icon) colour or category (sports, tech, animals etc.). All icons can be accessed and used free of charge.

If you’ve found other useful resources for cost effective and high-quality icons, feel free to share them below!

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4 Websites to inspire the design of your next eLearning course

When creating the user interface and visual language for an eLearning course, it’s helpful to look for inspiration online. Inspiration doesn’t necessarily have to come from existing eLearning courses, but can come from websites, landing pages, apps and even printed material. In this post I’d like to highlight four websites that let you browse a variety of visual content, save images for further reference and in some instances even showcase your own work.

  1. Dribbble (
    Dribbble is a resource well known in the graphic and digital design world. While originally the platform was meant for uploading a designer’s “work in progress” shots (with the aim of receiving feedback from other participants), it now also features fully fleshed out designs, both for pint and web. As a user you can search by keywords that designers have tagged the work with and browse designs by colour. You can also save an artwork’s colour palette in ACO format to use in your own projects. Just keep in mind that in order to upload your own work (which might be beneficial for your exposure online, especially if you’re a freelancer), you must have a Dribbble account and the platform is per invite only.

  2. Behance (
    Very similar to Dribble is Behance (owned by Adobe). Here you can also find a variety of different artwork posted by Designers and are able to simply login with your Adobe ID. On the platform you can view artwork curated by Adobe or filter projects by country, colour or creative field (such as UI/UX design, motion graphics etc.). Unfortunately there isn’t a category called instructional or eLearning design, but you can search for specific keywords via the search function. Additionally you can filter by the software used (and enter “Adobe Captivate to see only projects created with the software). Since there is no invite needed to join the platform, anyone can upload their own work if desired.
  3. Pinterest (
    Everyone knows Pinterest. The platform lets you search by keyword, but you’ll have to do some digging through content to find exactly the kind of work you’re looking for. While both platforms mentioned above are solely showing artwork created, Pinterest links to a variety of other content such as infographics or articles. It’s often helpful to look for specific boards contain content from a particular category.
  4. Awwwards (
    Awwwards is a site where designers can submit their work for evaluation. A jury assesses each site (for a fee) and the sites selected as being “the best” are then displayed on the Awwards website. What this means for the average user is that he or she can browse through a variety (mostly) high quality sites as a source of inspiration. There are a variety of filters (such as colour, technologies used or category). While, again there’s no “eLearning” category, you can search via the standard search bar on site.

Have you got any favourite sites you go to for inspiration? Share them in the comments!

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The developer’s toolbox Part Two. Storytelling

I’m no Stephen King or Isaac Asimov but as part of the creative process of developing e-learning I do enjoy creating environments (world’s would take too much time!) where the learning takes place. Not all e-learning needs a story or background so go over your information and decide if this delivery style fits the learning goals.

How I create a story (four steps)

  1.  Content: ‘Content is king’ is a saying that’s apt here. I check my content for clues and ideas that will help me create a story.
    Example: I created a ‘ handling food safely’ e-learning sample, the story was set in a Agatha Christie style murder mystery. The basis of the story was developed from the dangers of handling and storing food incorrectly. I thought of the outcomes of this and (artistic leap) an idea popped into my head ‘have the learner prove they didn’t poison ‘the master of the house’ by handling the food safely and correctly.
  2. Characters: I don’t try to create a ‘history’ for my characters. I try to create someone who the learner will easily recognize. For this example Agatha Christie had done the ‘history’ bit for me. Dialogue: This can be a tricky area if you don’t normally write, use your experience of film/t.v. to guide you. In this example I have the detective speak in short and matter of fact sentences to give the learner the steps they need to complete whilst ‘staying in character’. (See sample dialogue below)
  3. Media: This can require a good portion of development time depending on your story and media needed to bring it to ‘life’. A trick I normally use is to give my scenario/story’s is to give the main  slide a board-game feel. (see right) This saves me time trying to find /create a setting.
  4.  Interaction/ Engagement: There was a debate recently, at a L&D conference, as to whether learning should be fun. For me, I think it’s imperative. I like immersive e-learning that is engaging and unique. In this example I incorporated a ‘3 star’ michelin type gamification for the learners characters. For every one correct question/ section they gained a ‘michelin food handling star’.


I like to create unique e-learning and bring as much from the real and imagined world of film/tv/ music etc as I can. This leads for an immersive and enjoyable learning experience.

Thanks for reading.


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The Complete Learning Technologist Certificate – Coming to Orlando in February!

I’ve wanted to put together a learning technologist certification for a long, long time. Well, guess who had the same idea – Training Magazine! And they’re making it happen at Training 2019! Learning geeks will unite in Orlando for our three-day learning technology program February 22-24, 2019. You can register here.

  • Day 1: Creation and Authoring Learning Tools, presented by Jeff Batt
  • Day 2: Multimedia Planning, Tools and Gadgets, presented by Nick Floro
  • Day 3: Delivery and Emerging Technologies, presented by yours truly

I’m going to cover a variety of technologies on day three, in addition to discussing how to select and implement educational technology. And I’ll give you some free goodies to take home with you. Take a look at the program descriptions below and consider joining us at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort!

The Complete Learning Technologist Certificate Program

Whether you are a designer, developer, manager, facilitator, administrator, or executive, you need to understand what learning technologies are capable of today—and what their promise is for tomorrow. Through demos, hands-on experience, checklists, and rubrics, this program goes beyond identifying the latest shiny training tech objects — and helps you become a well-rounded learning technologist who makes the optimal selection, design, and implementation decisions for your organization.

Day 1 Creation and Authoring Learning Tools; Jeff Batt, Head Trainer, Learning Dojo

Authoring tools change quickly and often, so how do you keep up? We’ll begin by examining the overall principles of development (i.e., elements, properties, behavior). Then, using those principles, we’ll begin our exploration of specific authoring tools. You’ll learn:

  • About the basics of course authoring, regardless of what authoring tool you may be using.
  • How development principles apply to current off-the-shelf tools like Adobe Captivate and more.
  • How to make the appropriate selection for authoring tools.
  • How to learn any new authoring tool.

Day 2: Multimedia Planning, Tools and Gadgets; Nick Floro, Learning Architect, Sealworks Interactive Studios

Looking to bring your skills to the next level? On day two, you will learn how to get started building and designing interactive learning. Learn the finer points, practical skills that you can apply, and best practices for delivering engaging learning. You’ll learn about:

  • Architecting your next project with collaborative tools.
  • Sketching a storyboard from paper to PowerPoint.
  • Improving brainstorming and feedback loops.
  • Creating a prototype with Marvel app.
  • Using Explain Everything App to create animated explainers and promos and to provide feedback.
  • Thinking Outside the Box: 5 activities and concepts to add to your next project.
  • Building an interactive chatbot for learning.
  • Strategies for designing for learning and your audience.

Day 3: Delivery and Emerging Technologies; Katrina Marie Baker, Senior Learning Evangelist, Adobe

You’ve spent two days learning how to create engaging training resources. Day three focuses on how to deliver your content using the latest in learning technology and features content from Katrina’s books LMS Success and The LMS Selection Checklist. You will:

  • Define common types of learning technology platforms.
  • Demonstrate how technology can help you engage learners through the use of gamification, mobile learning, social learning, and blended learning elements.
  • Explain how to use reporting and analytics to understand the learner experience.
  • Describe the process to select a new technology platform, including the features and factors you should review with potential vendors.
  • Discuss the process of successfully implementing and maintaining a learning technology platform.
  • Cover best practices that include how to internally market your platform, curate your course catalog and content, and build an effective administrator team.

BONUS! You will walk away with supplemental materials and a free trial of Adobe Captivate Prime.

BYOD:  Please bring a WiFi-enabled laptop with Storyline and Captivate installed (trial versions okay).

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