Designing and creating

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Designing and creating your learning programme includes consideration of design and branding as well as how you will support and engage the learner as he or she works through the programme.  This page looks at:

  • Instructional design
  • Creating e-learning resources
  • Technical design
  • Using Turas Learn
  • Corporate design and branding

Further resources

See Standard 1.2 of NHS Education for Scotland’s ‘Quality Standards for Digital Learning Resources’ (NES 2017) for a useful checklist relating to design

  • Standard 1.2 Educational design and pedagogy (Download, 59 KB)

Instructional design

Instructional design is a term used in e-learning (and learning programmes more generally) to refer to the strategies used to maximise learning.  Top tips for instructional design include

  • How many hours, units, sections, chapters, training days are needed? Present the learning content in chunks and guide the learner through the learning.

  • Engage the learner by using different types of activity which involve using higher order skills. Use interesting ways of presenting information e.g. diagrams, multi media tools. Use examples, case studies, scenarios so learners can apply learning in real life situations.

  • Always include formative activities to check progress and ensure the learner stays engaged and motivated.

  • Always include activities to consolidate learning where this is needed and extension activities for those who move through more quickly.

  • Give learners choice. Ask them to choose the order in which they complete tasks.

  • Encourage collaboration and shared learning through communities of practice, providing peer support or help groups.

For further information see Standard 1.3 Interactivity.

Creating e-learning resources


Storyboarding goes back to the Disney films of the 1930s when artists would draw a comic version of a film before it was turned into an animation.

The idea is to create a plan or map of what you'd like the resource to look like, before actually creating it and making it interactive. A storyboard can be as basic or as complex as you need it to be. You can use (free or paid-for) storyboarding software or you can simply use something like Powerpoint or a table in Word - or do it with pencil and paper!

Authoring tools

An authoring tool is simply the piece of software that you will use to create your eLearning resource. Some of them are standalone packages, others are more like plug ins which work alongside Powerpoint or Word. Some are free, some are expensive. Popular examples include:

Articulate has two main products. Storyline2 which is an 'all in one' tool for creating eLearning and Studio 13, which is a suite of products that work together or on their own. They've got a good comparison guide for deciding which is best for you. 

Captivate tool is similar to Articulate Storyline in that it works as a standalone authoring tool.

CourseLab is available in as a paid-for version (version 2.7) and as freeware (version 2.4). A comparison table is available.

The eLearning team at Knowledge Services can help advise NES staff which tool might be best for their needs and may sometimes be able to help with licences.

Microsoft PowerPoint

PowerPoint is an easily accessible and versatile alternative to some of the specialist authoring tools listed here. With a bit of imagination you can use PowerPoint to create non-linear, interactive learning resources with videos, animation, narration and linked resources.

Further information

Technical design

Digital learning resources should adopt prescribed technical/accessibility requirements to maximise user inclusivity and resource portability. Examples may include Accessibility Standard W3C or SCORM.

See Standard 3 Technical Design and Accessibility for an example of accessibility standards for e-learning resources.

Using Turas Learn

Turas Learn is NHS Education for Scotland's platform for learning and support resources. 

Guidance on planning, designing and populating learning sites on Turas Learn is available at the Learn about Turas Learn site.

Corporate design and branding

See Standard 2 Corporate Design and Branding, for an example of design and branding standards for e-learning resources.