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5 Free eLearning Templates and How To Best Use Them

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I don’t like math. It’s not that it’s too hard or confusing, it’s just boring to me. (Sorry math lovers!) When you get into a lot of math, all you have are equations and numbers. You plug the numbers into the equations and then solve. That’s all. Done. There’s simply not enough customization inherent in the process to hold my interest.

eLearning templates can feel the same way. When you’re in the thick of course design, they might feel like a cop-out. Not enough customization for you to do what you’re best at, perhaps, or perhaps they just feel lazy.

Free eLearning Templates

I’m here to tell you that you’ve got templates all wrong. Rather than a boring skeleton to copy and paste, templates can be freeing. They save you loads of time and cover areas where you aren’t super-skilled so you can focus your attention on your best abilities, and let your creativity take your content to the next level, no matter where that level is.

Check out these awesome (and free!) templates and have a look at why you should consider using them.

(You still can’t make me like math though, just saying.)

1. Save time

I don’t have to tell you how time-consuming it is to do any sort of course authoring. From design to research to implementation, every step of the process takes a serious dedication of time and effort to go smoothly and be successful. The abundance of time-saving tools and tricks for content creators out there in the big, wide web speaks to that.

eLearning templates are one way to cut down your time dramatically. Rather than stopping your content creation flow to choose background colors and clickable icons, or needing to animate each slide as it’s created (or worse, having to do all this in one huge batch when you wrote your content weeks ago and have to keep checking to remember where you left off), a template lets you streamline the process.

Templates free you from all the little details that halt your creative zen mode. Instead, you can create your content in a pre-formatted layout and be done with it. No stopping, no wasted time, no interruptions.

Need to make a lot of high-quality quizzes in a hurry? Why not download a sleek, free quiz template. Without the design or HTML to worry about, you can devote your time to creating excellent quiz questions with challenging answers.

2. Encourage creativity

I know they have a reputation for being boring and stifling, but there’s no reason that elearning templates need to be that way.

Rather than being cookie-cutter creativity killers, templates make a great jumping off point to encourage creativity. Templates take care of the basics for you, all that un-fun stuff that you have to get through to create memorable content.

If you wanted to spend all your time writing the basics and outlines for elearning courses, you’d just design templates. Let templates handle those things for you instead while you devote your energy to making lessons that shine. Don’t be afraid to overhaul the whole design if you need to—follow where your creativity leads!

If you want a beautiful template that lets you have a lot of space to write in beautiful words to go with it, consider this gorgeous free lesson template. The design is striking, but neutral enough that you can fill it with any information you need. And since my art friends assure me that color impacts creativity, working with a colorful base is a great way to encourage yourself to create stunning content.

3. Ease into new systems

Any content designer who has to change learning management software is going to need to roll with the upheaval. In particular, course authors who work for multiple clients or do freelance eLearning work have to deal with this difficulty on a regular basis.

If changing systems has been a problem for you, templates are one way to make your life easier. eLearning templates often work for multiple learning management systems, allowing you to keep using the same layout and simply plugging it into the new software.

If your preferred templates don’t carry over seamlessly, you can find templates specific to your new LMS and use them to help you get a feel for the program. Even if you choose to go back to creating fully-custom, template-free content later on, templates will make the transitional period much easier.

Have you switched companies recently, or taken on some new clients? Are you finding yourself designing in a system you’ve never touched before? Does your new office use nothing but Storyline? Or are they insisting you switch to Captivate? Unless they’re way retro and you find yourself creating entire courses with nothing but PowerPoint! Don’t worry about a rough transition. There’s a free template for just about everything.

4. Improve problem areas while maximizing existing skills

Say you’re a killer writer, but your graphic design skills leave a little (okay, a lot) to be desired. Or maybe you’re fabulous at research but writing introductions and instructions for how to use your material makes you want to pull your teeth out. Or you could be an amazing designer until your client needs something animated, and then you’re suddenly useless.

No matter what your pain points are, templates can help. That’s because templates aren’t one size fits all. The internet has massive libraries full of various types of templates that you can use for multiple purposes.

Keep your problems in mind when searching for an adequate program, and you’re sure to find something that will handle the tricky bits so you can let your strongest areas shine in everything you create.

Not a game designer but want some gamification in your content? How about a Cards Against Humanity-inspired electronic card game? Download the template for free and use your writing skills to create hysterical prompts and responses unique to your content, without trying to figure out how exactly one makes a digital card game, let alone makes one that looks good. Templates are a great way to hop on the gamification train without going back to school for web design.

5. Use free eLearning templates to stay consistent

One of the most challenging aspects of designing multiple lessons in the same system, or multiple versions of the same content, is staying consistent and keeping true to your theme. You want your content to match and look like it all goes together but that can feel next to impossible when your development schedule is all over the place or you’re working with a team.

Templates are a great way to hold onto that elusive consistency. Find a template that suits your overall theme and let its design carry your content through multiple lessons and formats.

You can maximize this by finding and customizing a master course. These specialized templates can be used again and again to create content with a similar layout, style, and feel. Gartner has some advice on making master courses flow with the rest of your eLearning outfit.

Use a design set like this free Storyline package to create bundled lessons. It includes different formats and types of pages, including a welcome page and a course completion congratulations page. Downloads like this one are extremely flexible since they’re so neutral. That flexibility lets you use the same template for any number of unrelated lessons that will need to look similar without repeating content.

How do you use free elearning templates?

Have you used eLearning templates before? Do you find them too basic or do you use them to break the mould? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Looking for Training software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Training software solutions.

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About the Author

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen writes about HR and eLearning at Capterra. She’s a graduate of Agnes Scott College and a TEDx presenter. You can follow her on Twitter @CapterraHalden, just don’t get her started about her zombie survival plan.

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