Opinions on Multiple Templates for E-Learning versus a Single Template Shop

Background: My team serves a small group of medical professionals in a vastly larger health organization. I am the lone ISD on a team of SMEs offering talent development training. We are looking to build up E-Learning offerings from existing instructor-led courses that have variety and speak to the specific experience of the medical professionals we serve. Our audience has already verbally expressed to us that they have a negative connotation of other E-Learning in our organization because it is associated with mandatory annual training, whereas my team offers talent development training that is not always mandatory or required by superiors.

Idea: I am interested in making a new template, or multiple templates with unifying color schemes to better represent and differentiate our content from the other teams at our organization. Our team's feeling is that it may help foster a positive connotation with our offerings, but also provide variety and increase engagement. 

Advice Needed: I am seeking advice from the community on any advantages/disadvantages to utilizing a rotating stable of templates with some elements of unified branding.  At the end of the day, our audience wants material custom tailored to their experience, not generalized content that can be applied to non-medical professionals. They are not as concerned with consistency in a single template, and neither am I. With our audience already expressing a feeling that the same template, color scheme, etc. for every training becomes repetitive and boring, how would you all approach this?

Other Elements: I have already started to create 2D animation proofs of concept with a new color scheme and am considering white board videos and other methods to differentiate our content and make it mobile-friendly as well. I have received very positive feedback from our audience on these new initiatives.

Any advice is appreciated, thank you! 

1 Reply
Bob O'Donnell

Offering different templates isn't a bad idea. Just be consistent with your branding; color scheme, logo, voice, etc.

Advantages:

  • If you build the masters correctly you can easily switch themes between courses and make it look tailored.
  • Using common navigation elements can be beneficial. Student's know what to expect and understand how to easily navigate all courses.

Disadvantages: Multiple themes take extra time to build.

Another option that I think I actually saw here on the discussion board somewhere, was the option for the user to tailor the color scheme of their own training. Let them choose a theme look. Pretty sure that was in this group at some time.

Our clients have been receptive to whiteboard animations and other visual elements to keep training interesting. Hand art, whiteboard, Vyond character animation, animated gifs and 3D have all been used at one point or another. We even created a "Purple Squirrel" at one point, a PDF of a 3D paper figure that the student could print out, fold together and sit on their desk. Point being - make your training interesting for your audience and they'll forget about the theme.

A long time ago, we use to bury Easter Eggs in our training as well. We created training for emergency response personnel and once developed a character that would occasionally show up and offer extra advice or notes on a topic, and randomly razz you on quizzes if your got an answer wrong. We additionally hid micro games and random animations in the training. When found, the student response was always very positive. These can easily be swapped out and modified if you plan ahead.

Our company typically customizes courses based on the client and subject matter. If its a series, we use the same layout as is or simply modify the colors and background. A new series or topic usually gets its own look. We do have a few clients that have an approved brand and it always stays the same.

Good luck! I'm interested to hear what others have to say.