Introducing You to Keeping Safe


Every once in a while an eLearning project comes along that stops you in your tracks. It’s the kind of project that just gets to you. This happened to our instructional and design team about 6 months ago.

As well as being educationalists, designers, technologists, gurus, strategists or what job title you go by, we are all humans. We all have another role. We are also a mummy, daddy, sister, brother, auntie, uncle, cousin, grandparent, grandchild and of course a friend.

We knew from the very start that this wasn’t going to be a standard eLearning project. Rather than the dreaded January blues that a new year can bring, there was this incredible buzz in the office. Of course we LOVE all our eLearning projects, but this one was extra special. It was special because it affected each and every one of us. It’s was the stuff of design dreams. We were given an incredible opportunity to design and develop a project that would ACTUALLY changes lives.

Let me introduce you to this ground breaking project, Keeping Safe.NSPCC Keeping Safe eLearning Resource

Research carried out with 1,700 7-11-year-old children in Primary schools throughout Northern Ireland by NSPCC, highlighted that there are still gaps in children’s knowledge around what abuse is and who can pose a threat to them.

NSPCC NI decided to do something about that. It’s what they do, prevention. Effective early education can help children to disclose abuse earlier and get the help they need to recover sooner.

NSPCC NI commissioned Aurion Learning to create an engaging, accessible, age-appropriate and educationally sound suite of learning resources that would teach primary school children about keeping safe from abuse.

Working in collaboration with the educational team at NSPCC NI, we produced a fresh, exciting and interactive programme that applied a sensitive approach to this difficult area of education.

NSPCC Keeping Safe Home PageThe materials have been developed around three themes:

  1. Healthy Relationships
  2. My Body
  3. Being Safe

The programme includes:

  • Four interactive eLearning modules on a range of topics including bullying and abuse, including sexual and domestic abuse, incorporating best practice instructional techniques and focuses on a high illustrative approach. Each module contains a range of interactive features and includes knowledge checks, clickable diagrams, drag and drop activities, ranking/rating activities, sliders, vignettes, scenarios, and digital stories templates.Sample of interactivity from P3 lesson
  • Video clips of head to camera interviews and school footage for teachers, such as examples of good practice.
  • Classroom resources including; case studies, teaching aids and interactive animated interactions. To support the delivery of the programme, we designed four characters with two age variations, called Amy, Ziggy, Jack and Cara that reflect NSPCC brand guidelines.
  • Characters of Keeping Safe ResourceAssembly and age appropriate lesson plans that will be delivered three per term to each year group. Printable lesson plans and PowerPoint templates reuses iconography, photography and illustrations to ensure a consistent look and feel throughout the 12 assembly presentations.
  • Parent homework resources. We also weaved the technique of storytelling within the programme to reinforce the messages being taught and strengthen the learning impact of the resources. The resources have been purposely designed to be suitable for each primary year, helping to build knowledge and skills.

The initiative was commissioned by the Department of Education. Keeping Safe will be piloted across a select number of schools in Northern Ireland to assist teachers, support staff, parents and school children. It aims to finally reach every primary school pupil in Northern Ireland and hopes to save every child in Northern Ireland from abuse, neglect and bullying.

This initiative implemented by NSPCC NI is the first of its kind in Europe is a great step in educating our kids about the abuse.It has been an absolute privilege to lend our expertise to this eLearning programme and we hope that it achieves its aim of reaching every school child and to save children from abuse, neglect and bullying here in Northern Ireland and further afield.

Reminder: Last chance to register for Using Templates to Create your own eLearning Webinar

If you are registered for tomorrow’s free webinar, “Using Templates to Create your own eLearning”, fantastic – we will see you online then! If you haven’t yet registered, it’s happening at 12 noon BST and is a must for anyone interested in, or are responsible for delivering learning and training.

Hosted by Aurion’s Client Services Director, Gavin Woods, we will present an expert guide on using templates to help create your own eLearnng and give an insight into the best practices as well as some of the tricks of the trade.

During the free online event you will learn:

  • Types of eLearning templates
  • Importance of a content style guide
  • Instructional design techniques to designing courses
  • Best practices to use
  • How to make the most of resources available

Register now to join this informative session and share your views and ask questions by submitting them real-time during the webinar or on twitter using hashtag #DesignBuildDeliver

We look forward to seeing you all online tomorrow.

For more information and to register, visit

Are you making the most out of visual content?


blog-4-Techniques-To-Ignite-Your-E-Learning-ContentIt’s said that we eat with our eyes. The same can also be said about the way in which we process information – through our senses. The brain is a complex, creative processing system and its handles information at different rates. This information processing starts with an input from our senses and in the majority of cases, this is through our eyes at a rate that is 100 times faster than our smell and hearing.

So what does this mean for eLearning? Transforming content to make it more visually appealing can help learners’ process valuable information quickly without losing its educational effectiveness

Here are four ways in which you can convert content to make it more visually appealing. You can also view, download and share our handy infographic.

  1. Data visualisation

Not all information demands graphic treatment. You first need to consider what information or content that you want to share. If it is data, a graph will better tell the story rather than a row of numbers.

Have a look at our 10 elearning trends infographic for example. If you are considering using data visualisation, such as an infographic, make sure that your content is concise and relevant and doesn’t end up like an article with colourful adornments.

  1. Videos

Using video instead of providing stacks of written content is a fantastic way to present information to learners. Videos can add interactivity, interest and engage the learners by immersing them with the topic being presented.

When used correctly, they also help learners remember information easily. Videos are also great for instructional techniques like scenarios, demonstrations and products sims. Learn more about using videos in elearning.

  1. Images

First off – don’t add or use an image just to have one. In many cases, using short and scannable text can often do the job. Remember that images and photographs are used to maximise learning content and reinforce the message that you are trying to convey, not distract or confuse the learner.

Your main goal in using an image, is to connect and engage with your learners. When selecting the right image, try and evoke the learners’ emotions by using an image that they will remember – getting the balance on the image is imperative though! Have a read to get some tips on using graphics in e-learning.

  1. Icons

Don’t underestimate the power of a great icon set. Often these little multi-use images are one of the most important images in your e-learning as they are the interaction and navigation. It is important to note that, like images, iconography must serve a clear purpose and are not simply placed there because they ‘look pretty’.

Don’t forget that icons are part of the brand family, so make sure that they fit with your font, colours and style. iconfinder has a good free range of icons to use.

Do you have any other tips on utilising visual aids to compliment content?

View and download infographic our handy infographic on 4 ways to ignite your elearning content. 


We’re hiring more great people to join our team.

We're hiring. Take a lookCome join us.

Aurion Learning is a learning solutions company based in Belfast. We’re also established, with more than 16 years of experience in technology enabled learning. We produce some amazing work for some great clients. Our super team of designers, developers, educationalists and Instructional Designers help organisations move their learning and development online with a little help of technology.

We are also busy, super busy. New clients, projects and support commitments means that we are on the lookout for more great people to join our team. We’re currently recruiting a Project ManagerASP.NET Developer, UX Web Designer and Software Tester/QA Engineer

By joining our highly skilled and award winning team, you will get the opportunity to think creatively and work on a wide range of interesting and varied projects in the e-learning and digital media field.

As well as a competitive salary and a generous benefits scheme, we offer:

  • Great working environment in a friendly and supportive team
  • Long-term career prospects
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Childcare voucher scheme
  • Free fruit and awesome coffee
  • Team socials

If you are looking for a new challenge and the opportunity to put your own stamp on things, then we’d love to hear from you.

To apply…

Email with a brief overview of why you think you are perfect for the role you are applying for along with your CV.

Is your eLearning in need of a refresh?

Refresh your e-learning

We love spring. It gives you an opportunity to dust off your goals and start afresh. Temperatures are (almost) into double digits and signs of green are literally springing up everywhere, but have you fully embraced the new season and spring cleaned your eLearning?


Unfortunately for many of us, daily demands and distractions defer us from staying on track and laying those best laid plans of revisiting our goals. Often eLearning courses and training materials only get updated when new software is released or when new budget become available! So to help inject a little spring into your learning and development, we’ve highlighted a few things to help refresh your training plans.


If you’ve multiple courses, resources and programmes all on the go, it can be hard to know where to start. But if you don’t take a step back and review your current eLearning offering, you won’t be able to tell the wood from the trees and you’ll easily fall into the trap of doing more of the same.

  • Review your current courses, programmes and resources and ensure that they are still relevant and doing the job intended.
  • Make sure your content is up to date.
  • Have you got the right learning technologies for the job in hand?
  • Are you making enough of your existing eLearning materials and resources? Many can be re-used in multiple forms or similar areas.
  • De-clutter – determine what you want to keep and what you want to archive –  less really is more!
  • Have you completed your organisational needs analysis – if you have all your training ducks in a row, brilliant – you know what to prepare for the year ahead. But if you have the difficult task of reactionary training, then now is the time to find out what training requirements are expected of your organisation for the year ahead.


Once you reviewed your current inventory, resources and assets, start compiling your next stage – preparing for what needs to get done.

  • If you are developing a new E-Learning course or programme or updating an existing one, do you have the necessary content ready? If you have a scary amount of information and training materials that are in raw form, it is worth taking the time to define the key learning objectives.
  • Have you got your subject matter experts ready to rock? When starting a new eLearning project or reviewing an existing one, your SME’s are so important. Be clear with them from the start of the project and communicate what you need from them and more importantly, in what format is required.

After reviewing a programme, you may find that it is in need of a restructure or there are elements that you’d still like to keep, but you are unsure if it still educationally effective. Know when to delegate! If you have the time, resources and skills in house to treat your programmes with sound instructional design – fantastic! If however, like many, you run the risk of overwhelming yourself with this task, knowing when to outsource and delegate certain areas or tasks can be hugely beneficial, allowing you to concentrate on the task at hand.


Having buy-in and engagement for eLearning in your organisation is key to its success. Inform and involve your managers and team leaders about your eLearning. Don’t forget to sell the benefits of the training and of e-learning as this will help you get buy-in and support. Similarly, don’t forget to report on the success of your new revitalised e-learning programme!

Whether you want to update an existing course, create a new programme, transfer classroom training materials online or looking to develop new skills to design and deliver e-learning in-house, we can infuse a little spring into your learning and development. Get in touch with us today.

What skills are required for developing eLearning in-house?

More and more organisations are designing, building and delivering eLearning content in-house. Given the obvious organisational benefits of cost and time saving, it’s no surprise.

In theory this sounds like a no brainer. Simple right?

Well actually, yes. That’s to say, it is simple if you and your organisation are equipped with the right set of specific skills.

Last week our very own Gavin Woods hosted a webinar on skilling up for eLearning, what you need to know. Throughout the webinar, we presented the top skills required for self- authoring content. Participants also got a top-down view of our hugely popular training courses and learning resources for ambitious professionals looking to hone their skills.

If you missed the webinar and want to catch up you can view the recoding. The presentation slides from the webinar are also available to download.

Essentially what was established is that there are three common skills sets that are required for developing eLearning. These are outlined below:Skills required for developing elearning

As well as receiving an insider view into the in-house development process and what elements makes a good eLearning course., participants also learnt the practical skills essential for developing engaging e-learning. They also got a real insight into the kind of resources and templates that can really fast-track the success of creating your own eLearning.

Recently we have launched a new range of best-practice training courses. These courses are specifically designed for in-house trainers and subject matter experts who want to learn how to design, build and deliver their own E-Learning and blended learning programmes. Delivered on-site in your organisation, the training courses have helped more than 50 world-class organisations build award-winning e-learning content in-house.

Our Associate Director and Chair of eLearning Network John Curran has also shared his insight into content authoring. Learn more about what he has to say on the skills required to develop your own e-learning.

If you are interested in finding out more about how our training courses and capacity building service can benefit you and your organisation, visit and get in touch or download our training course prospectus for a full overview of our courses.

You can also visit our community page and blog to access a wealth of resources to help you create your own E-Learning.

So if you missed this webinar, we will be hosting a new series of webinars and masterclass events throughout 2016, so there will be plenty of opportunities for you to get involved.

Whether you are an in-house trainer, subject matter expert or a learning professional looking to develop your skills and become the best in your field, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Placement students share their experience of Aurion

Aquinas placement students

Aqcuinas A Level Students Conor Loughran and Matthew Smith getting the low-down on web development and motion graphics from Christopher McAuley, Graphic Designer at Aurion Learning 

As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment to create opportunities for young people to learn new skills and prepare them for a career in the chosen field, we take students on both short and long term work-based learning placements each year

Over the past few weeks, we’ve provided local A level students from Aquinas Grammar School and The Royal Belfast Academical Institution with an insight into web development and graphic design.

These week long placements are very much a ‘hands-on’ approach, each student is paired with an experienced member of our team and is mentored and coached on developing new skills and teaching the students some tricks of the trade.

Aquinas students, Matthew Smith and Conor Loughran were able to put their newly acquired skills into action and recorded an account their experience with Aurion. Take a look:

Having provided full-time permanent employment to our previous placement students and our former collaboration with Business in the Community’s Charter Work Inspiration, we know that students benefit greatly from these opportunities. Students not only gain experience and a greater understanding of the work place and learn how important it is to master the various skills required to carry out a job function, these placement opportunities also help reduce barriers to employment.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll once again team up with Queens University Belfast to offer yearlong work-based placements for undergraduates, details on how to apply will be announced soon.

We’d like to wish all our placement studies the very best of luck with the rest of their studies and A Level exams.

How to create a scenario for learning

Creating a simple scenario 2In this second instalment of scenario based learning, we take a closer look at the steps involved in creating a simple scenario.

Need to catch up on the first part of our first instalment of scenario based learning? Read it here.

Step 1 – Define learning outcomes

Decide on the learning outcomes for the scenario.  Use instructional design tools such as DIF (Difficulty, Interesting, Frequent) or KISS (Keep, Improve, Stop, Start) to identify the behaviour you want to change and what you want learners to do differently. At this point it is also worth capturing competent and incompetent behaviour and slightly grey, risky behaviour.

Step 2 – Set the scene

Almost every good story begins with setting the scene in which the story will play out. This of course should be directly related to the subject matter and the location in which the target audience will most likely encounter such decisions.

Step 3 – Introduce your characters

Now that you have set the scene and familiarised the learner with the location it is time to introduce the characters in the story. Again, realism is important and also consider drawing out traits or a backstory that are relevant to the scenes and decisions that are to come.

Step 4 – Describe decision points

The scenario is structured into a number of scenes which each offer a decision to the main character. These decision points are the moments within the scenario when the learner is offered competent, incompetent and risky options to choose from. These can be presented as multiple choice or true/false questions.  A simple linear scenario follows builds the same narrative scene by scene regardless of the answer chosen by the learner.

Step 5 –  Feedback and resources

As with all forms of learning, providing feedback is a key component in getting the learner to reflect on the problem that has been presented and the possible consequences of their decisions. The more realistic and dramatic these are the better to reinforce the impact of behaviour and choices. Scenario based learning lends itself very well to illustrating consequences as it can present tangible evidence of what can happen as a result of the learner’s decision in real life.  In a teaching scenario key learning points can also be reinforced in the feedback before the scenario progresses to the next scene.

And finally

So what’s not to like about them? Developing realistic and authentic scenarios involves a lot of effort from instructional design team and a close collaboration with the SME.

Consider, if you need a developing linear scenario that follows, a situation which unfolds over time with numerous stages and decision points.  Or maybe a simple stand-alone single scene scenario or vignette might be sufficient.

If you are interested in developing your scenario based learning skills, we’ve recently developed a new 1 day training course on Instructional Scenarios where you will learn how to structure and storyboard engaging, instructional scenarios with characters, settings and decision points. So if you’re interested designing your own scenario with support by our trainer, get in touch! 

So there you have it. An easy step by step method for creating engaging simple scenarios.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

Using scenario based learning

Scenario based learning

As the trend to use online learning for skill training increases soo too does the demand for scenario based-learning (SBL). Indeed, more and more of our customers are requesting this type of e E-Learning. In this article, we take a closer look at SBL and how it can be effective.

What are scenarios?

Scenarios are stories which place the learner into an online narrative to make decisions, judgement calls, and choices.  They are virtual role-playing activities where the learners play a certain role in a simulated real world situation.

Scenarios are a very flexible and adaptable instructional model and can be used for teaching or assessment purposes and to support a wide range of learning outcomes both knowledge and attitudes.

Why include scenarios in an e-learning programme design?

There are lots of good reasons to consider including scenarios in your programme design.  Here are a few:

  • Scenarios are engaging.  They take the learner on a journey with characters, obstacles, challenges and choices.  It is ‘pull’ content and makes the learner an active participant.
  • They make the learning very relevant for the learner by weaving it into real life work surroundings and situations.
  • Scenarios are useful for modelling higher level critical skills and reinforcing the nuances of professional judgement in complex situations.
  • They can also be used to reinforce more straight forward competent behaviour.
  • When it’s too dangerous, expensive or difficult to set up a work based activities, scenarios offer learning activities that are safe and cost effective, without negative consequences.
  • They are highly motivational as show the consequences of poor judgement, wrong behaviour.

Basic ingredients of a Scenario

For those of you who are new to creating scenario based learning solutions it is recommended you begin small before thinking big, and simple scenarios present an ideal entry point to focus the learner on individual decisions that they may find difficult in real-life situations.

Here’s a simple structure for a scenario:

  1. Outline a singular situation or problem to the learner.
  2. Present the learner with options to overcome that problem.
  3. Feed back to the learner the consequences of the decision they have just made.

For example:

Situation: Dennis has just begun a new job as team leader in a call centre, but on day one he walks into the kitchen to find 2 of his staff making offensive jokes about a fellow team member who is sitting at the next table.

Decision: What should Dennis do?

  1. Make his tea and pretend he never heard anything. After all he doesn’t want to make enemies on the first day of his new job.
  2. Verbally reprimand the 2 staff members telling them that if he hears such distasteful jokes again he will implement formal disciplinary action.
  3. Immediately implement disciplinary action.

Feedback: The correct answer in this case would be option 3. The teaching here is that the company have a zero tolerance policy against racism of any form, and a verbal warning is a compromise that also constitutes an unacceptable answer.

As you can see with this mini-scenario we are presenting to the learner not only a possible real-life situation, but also the finer rationale that may create conflict in the learner’s mind when faced with such a problem. As a result, the learner should now have very clear choice as to what action they should take if ever faced with this situation.

In our next instalment, we’ll take a closer look at the steps involved in creating a simple scenario. 

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

10 E-Learning Trends to Watch in 2016

Being in touch with trends is crucial for anyone responsible for managing and delivering E-Learning and training within their organisation. So we’ve prepared for you our predicted 10 key E-Learning trends and foresights to watch out for in 2016.

If you missed our webinar on the e-learning trends to watch in 2016, you can view it here. 

10 trends to watch in 2016 infographic

You can also view, download and share our handy infographic from our slideshare page

1. Resources not courses

There is a big trend now in the E-Learning industry as whether we should be building resources rather than courses. Courses help prepare you for the future (just-in-case) and resources support you in the moment (just-in-time). At the crux of this is whether to build a course, structured with the resources or ditch the course and build a library of resources.

Another thing that is pushing the trend towards building resources is what we refer to as the ‘three moments of need’:

  • Learning something you need in the future (just in case)
  • Learning something that you need now (just in time)
  • Solving a problem (just in time)

A further factor that is also driving the move away from courses is the idea of microlearning or what is also referred to as bite-sized learning. Driving this is:

  • Cost
  • Attention span – shorter and sharper
  • Time poor
  • Flexibility

2. Gamification

Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear the term gamification. Essentially what this means is what we, as creators and developers of online learning, can do to engage learners more in our e-learning. Often it can be seen as sweetening the pill, but it really can help learners engage more and motivate them to complete the e-learning content.

5 common mechanics used in gamification are:

  • Points
  • Badges
  • Levels
  • Leaderboards
  • Challenges

Learners like to have challenges. 4 main ways to drive engagement are:

  • Accelerated feedback cycles
  • Clear goals and rules of play
  • A compelling narrative
  • Challenging but achievable tasks

3. Explosion of devices

This is something that we are all aware of. This particular trend has been popping up for quite some time, however mobile learning itself is still in its infancy and has yet to make a real impact in E-Learning. Today though people have a multitude of different devices and they want to learn on all these devices. Although there is not a massive demand from clients at the moment for this, wearable technology such as the  Apple watch, will be something to consider in the future for delivery of e-learning.

4. Responsive design

This trend has primarily been driven by the increase in multi devices. Responsive design is a response to delivering content on multi devices. As you’re aware, taking a standard E-Learning module and scaling it down onto a smaller screen doesn’t work terribly well. Generally it works fine for a table providing the technical issues are sorted such as publishing it on HTML 5, but on the whole this generally doesn’t work on a smart phone as the screen is just too small and the screen is usually the wrong orientation.

So deciding what content to omit for smart phones is something to consider along with the capability of your learners as responsive e-learning is often a little harder to use as it requires more technical know-how than standard click next e-learning.

5. Continued rise of video

A lot of platforms today use video as their primary delivery mechanism, so missing video with resource downloads. In particular a lot of MOOC’s using video.  But video has a multitude of functions. At Aurion we use quite a lot of video, particularly as part of our E-Learning module build, embedding an explainer video or scenario based video as part of the programme. Something that we will be keeping an eye out for is video getting interactive.

6. Authoring in the cloud

Cloud based authoring tools have grown steadily over the past few years. These authoring tools are mobile ready, out of the box, some are responsive, and some aren’t. As a team working together on an e-learning project, these cloud based authoring tools are really powerful when used as part of a collaborative project. Because the programme built on the cloud and you press a button and it’s published on the cloud. So there isn’t an issue about getting it onto LMS and getting it working on the LMS.

If you design your own E-Learning in house, you will more likely start to use these cloud based authoring tools this year in combination with your standard authoring tools such as storyline.

7. Tin Can (xAPI)

Tin Can or the experience API in some ways a ties in with accessing e-learning content on multiple devices and resources rather than courses. The notion of Tin Can is that captures all of that, so no matter what we do, whether that is download a resource or comment on a blog, this is captured as part of our learning experience and in the case or Tin Can or xAPI it is record stored and can be accessed by multiple LMS’s. We think this technology is going to make great leaps forward in 2016 and beyond, potentially killing off scorm.

8. The new blend

The new blend of learning is not just combining traditional classroom methods and online learning, it is combining multi device learning, mixing courses with resources, different learning strategies, channels such as synchronous with asynchronous. There is a whole ream of possibilities for learning now by using a blend of technologies and channels and bringing all these things together to create a new learning experience. This is something that we will see more of in 2016.

9. Invisible LMS

Users will be looking to access learning without having to overcome any barriers of an LMS. People will be accessing learning in all different types of places, supported by Tin Can. What will be seeing more of in the future is what is referred to as the invisible LMS. It will still be tracked and reported on, but learners won’t always have to go to the corporate LMS in order to do their online learning.

10. The self-directed learner

Increasingly what we are seeing more of these days is learners wanting to take charge themselves. A lot of the technology mentioned above and approaches like resources more than courses supports this.

So what do you think will be big in 2016?

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.