Using templates to develop eLearning courses

Welcome to the world of elearning development optimizations. This article will help sediment the usefulness of templates when building elearning courses. If done right, you will build a rock solid foundation with your clients, if not, you will look like an average Joe Dirt and get replaced! Next!

Meme of Joe Diret

When speaking about templates we need to dig a little deeper to find that a template does not refer to only the mix of colors, styles, transitions, basic element boxes or positions of pictures and videos. Templates target also instructional design, interaction types, feedback given by the avatars. In essence, any type of content (complex or not) that gets shown at predefined points in the course can be used for a template.

My advice is to use eLearning templates when repeat business is involved. Why? Because it has higher value there.

Repeat business basically means you already have a solid relationship with your client. You have passed the tests and you enjoy creating multiple projects together. In eLearning once the client is satisfied with the pilot, that business relationship is very hard to break. Templates here are great as they build upon the approved elements.

Advantages of using eLearning templates for repeat business:

  1. Faster development time. Your team will be able to quickly produce the courses and the client will receive the deliverables in time;
  2. Client satisfaction. Making a template an objective will help you collect exactly what the client likes and needs in terms of complexity, interactions, elearning games, speech, etc;
  3. Higher quality courses. Because they build on previous iterations, templates translate to higher quality development across departments. (instructional design, graphics, programming, audio and testing are all impacted);
  4. Pre-approval of building blocks. This will reduce friction and downtime with big clients that have complex approval processes;
  5. Lower costs. A key aspect when budgeting big projects. These lower costs are not to be ignored.

Tips & Risks

  • Take your time to know the project and the client before developing any template. If the project consists of 200 elearning courses, a few non templated courses as a starting point will work wonders. Feedback is essential before beginning production of the master template.
  • Explain to your client what you will do and the advantages that it will bring. Don’t hide it.
  • Templates can be used both when building courses with elearning authoring tools or when doing completely from scratch new bespoke courses (yes, including programming).
  • If done wrong, the project might become less challenging for your team


For eLearning development companies, templates are useful when working with medium/big clients where the foundations are already set. These templates provide key advantages directly to the client and to the supplier. Everybody wins.

Anything to add? Tell me about your experience.