Choosing the right elearning development services provider is key to a successful online training project – Content is King after all – even in 2016.
Assuming you are not going to build the materials in-house, here is Learning Light’s guide to some of the best elearning content development companies in the UK that deal with clients nationwide and worldwide. There are explanations of why we like what they do.
Our advice when procuring bespoke elearning solutions is to make a list of companies to evaluate, and we hope this list helps. When making your shortlist, have in mind what your requirements are, how you would like the developer to present their ideas to you, and have in mind some key metrics to measure developers and their work.
If you want a quick 30 minute chat about selecting the right developer, get in touch with us here at Learning Light. If desired, we also offer managed procurement services and advice on what good elearning should look like.
We have conducted reviews of content from all these companies, and have a good understanding of their capabilities. We look at Full Service content development companies, as well as Specialist developers for specific niches.
Full service elearning content developers
The full service elearning developers offer a wide range of development services and very often LMS solutions as well. Many offer libraries of off-the-shelf elearning materials as well. They are well used to large and complex projects and can bring economies of scale to projects. They offer consultancy services to align learning to performance as well as ongoing support during deployments.
Some very impressive elearning courses have been built by eCom Scotland. Their work with the RNIB, which we have closely reviewed, demonstrates a commitment to accessibility that is excellent and augments the overall learning experience.
eCom Scotland have also developed a considerable expertise in engineering and manufacturing and their learning materials in these areas are extremely well made. The attention to design detail impressed us greatly.
With eNetAuthor they have good mobile elearning development capability as well, and eComScotland are a full service provider offering LMS and the very capable eNetenterprise which is a full scale talent and people development platform.
This is a capable company with strong innovation and development heritage that continues to produce elearning content of great quality.
eCom Scotland Ltd
18b Dickson Street
Fife KY12 7SL
Telephone: 0845 643 1344
Virtual College are one of the UK’s leading development houses with some very strong specialisms in food, healthcare, defence, manufacturing and local government.
We have reviewed their courses and design and development methodologies and find they combine great value for money with very high production values. They have a very capable development team and solid quality assurance processes which coupled with good learning design skills ensures that clients do get the great courses they want at a price that is attractive.
We have been particularly impressed with the diabetes awareness courses which are used across the NHS. They are genuinely excellent pieces of learning that will save lives.
Virtual College are of course a full service e-learning provider with an excellent newly-updated LMS, Enable.
Virtual College are the market leaders in delivering full service academies to organisations encompassing LMS, bespoke and off-the-shelf content with first-line learner support. Virtual College have several hundred off-the-shelf elearning courses available.
Virtual College Limited
West Yorkshire LS29 8DD
Tel: 01943 605 976
Learning Pool have built very good elearning content for some time now, but what really excites us is the development of the Adapt learning framework.
Learning Pool has undoubtedly high quality development skills and has pioneered the use of Adapt to build out some very effective mobile-enabled elearning materials.
The Adapt builder tool, which we have spent some time evaluating (lookout for a detailed view soon) allows for the learning to be updated or customised for the individual user or by the user. This is a trend that we identified as being in demand in our 2012 research into what the customer wants. Full marks to Learning Pool for this development!
Learning Pool offer LMS solutions and a library of off-the-shelf content, much of which is suitable to be modified by Adapt.
The City Factory
100 Patrick Street
Telephone Number: 0207 101 9383
City and Guilds Kineo
We reviewed some materials built by Kineo for their Essentials offer using the Adapt Framework. We were very impressed with the quality of the elearning produced.
Kineo has undoubted expertise in designing elearning courses and have a very strong creative learning design team and offer full service provision.
Kineo are well versed in dealing with complex learning conundrums for clients and are able to design and develop learning programmes that deliver real organisational change. For large organisations with challenging learning requirements, Kineo offer a wealth of expertise and undoubted ability.
Kineo offer the Totara LMS solution and a very good library of off the shelf courses “essentials”.
City & Guilds Kineo
East Sussex BN1 1SS
Telephone: +44 (0)1273 764070
Walkgrove have been building e-learning courses since the 1990’s and they have a reputation that is hard to beat. They have many very loyal customers and for good reason.
Walkgrove have expertise in building e-learning that is exceptional. We reviewed some materials they built and found them to be of very good quality indeed.
Walkgrove listen to their clients very closely and are able to come up with imaginative and effective learner-centric learning designs and execute the development of the chosen design with a well-defined process and absolute transparency.
Walkgrove see themselves as dedicated to developing e-learning which makes a difference to the individual and the organisation, and by what we have seen, we fully agree.
8 Maisies Way
Derbyshire DE55 2DS
Telephone: +44 (0)1773 864 640
Specialist elearning development companies
Specialist elearning content developers are companies who have focused tightly on specific genres of learning and can develop materials using one or more of video, gaming, virtual reality or system simulation, for example. The vendors listed are not only capable of developing in their chosen genre, but crucially understanding the learning theories that underpin the genre, and can provide invaluable advice and insight into their effective usage.
Virtual Reality – eLearning studios
eLearning studios are a well-established development house with a strong streak of innovation combined with excellent learning design skills. They are capable of producing some wonderfully engaging e-learning materials.
We are particularly impressed with the Virtual Reality materials being produced by eLearning studios as they continue to push the boundaries. VR courses built creating a new market segment in premium compliance courses and will be hugely impactful in leadership and management skills as well.
We are also delighted to note that the VR materials have been integrated and aligned to a Learning Record Store (Watershed) allowing for the xAPI driven learning statements to be recorded.
The 3 VR courses we sampled are excellent indeed and quite breath taking (and vertigo inducing in one case) and really have brought this genre to life with proven learning efficacy.
eLearning Studios Ltd
West Midlands CV1 2TT
Telephone Number: +44 (0)24 7652 5550
System Simulation – Day One Technologies
Day One are a niche developer who have built very considerable expertise in system simulations for call centres, and have an impressive client base in finance in particular. However, their solutions could be of great benefit to many other business environments, and we’d like to see companies from more industries making use of their elearning capabilities. The system simulations developed by Day One for leading financial services providers replicate often multiple and interlinked platforms.
We were very impressed with the Day One developed Mortgage Simulator, which has now been deployed to 600 branches throughout the UK, whereby trainees could practise the whole mortgage interview – not just the bit (important though it is) on the Mortgage software platform.
Day One, while expert in system simulation have developed considerable expertise in creating e-learning courses for complex topics, such as internet governance, where their ability for high-level learning designs comes to the fore.
Day One Technologies Limited
Batley Business and Technology Centre
West Yorkshire WF17 6ER
Tel: 01924 510 524
Compliance Training – Train4Academy
Online health and safety training specialists Train 4 Academy have been building high quality elearning for many years, and have developed a considerable amount of expert learning design skills for compliance led elearning. Compliance elearning is almost every day for much of our industry, but the approach that Train 4 Academy brings to the learning design is very impressive. The materials are aimed firmly at level 2 and 3 learners (or below) addressing workplace health and safety issues, and with a strong focus on food hygiene elearning courses for the processing and manufacturing sector.
The very effective design process applied produces elearning with exceptionally high levels of engagement should not be limited to those industries alone in our view, and should be considered widely where compliance issues are key to an organisation.
Our evaluation noted a very effective and well considered use of engaging metaphors and materials to attract the interest of learners and keep them engaged in a supportive manner while giving the learner a strong locus of control.
Perhaps the most impressive features are that the learning is so well aligned to the workplace that it genuinely and easily supports the 70 20 10 model seamlessly and consequently the learning effectiveness is evidenced to engender habitual good practice in the workplace.
Train4Academy can integrate its learning materials into its own unique LMS–TMS combination that is one of the most fascinating learning platforms to deliver and manage training with a unique ability to customise its reporting structure.
East Yorkshire HU17 0JG
Telephone Number: 01482 886 712
Serious Games – Totem Learning
Creators of some of the most exciting, immersive learning experiences we have seen, Totem is our go-to developer when it comes to serious games for elearning. Totem have some of the UK’s leading experts in this genre of learning on their team and have produced some excellent results.
We highlighted Totem in our preview of Learning Technologies 2016 as one of the companies we were most looking forward to seeing – and they did not disappoint. Helen Routledge is one of the world’s leading experts in games based learning, and her book – Why Games are Good for Business – is highly recommended.
Totem Learning’s online course The Business Game is an example of effective use of gaming in learning and one that still impresses.
The Totem team is unique in having built up a serious evidence base of how gaming improves learning. Totem offer amazing off-the-shelf games-based learning material, specific development skills, and excellent simulation skills courses in areas such as welding.
Top Floor, 6 The Cable Yard
West Midlands CV1 4HA
Tel: +44 (0)2476 555 904
Corporate Learning & Development – WillowDNA
Bristol based company WillowDNA are one of the most highly regarded elearning developers we know. They develop learning materials with a high degree of diligence that is designed to deliver change.
The team are ex-large corporate and with this experience in mind they have transformed into a bespoke elearning development company that really understands and aligns to the challenges of corporate learning.
WillowDNA offer a highly personalised approach to the development process and bring huge amounts of innovation and personal attention. WillowDNA were the UK pioneers of social and peer-to-peer learning as well as fusing knowledge management and elearning together very effectively.
Willow Learning Ltd
Bristol & Bath Science Park
Bristol BS16 7FR
Tel: +44 (0)117 370 7735
Multimedia and Comedy – elearningWMB
An amazingly innovative company when it comes to elearning content development who bring the use of video, pictures and 3D to the fore. elearningWMB also offer comedy-enhanced e-learning development (Comed) which is unique and not surprisingly incredibly effective and engaging.
elearningWMB’s 3D learning puts the learning into great context as well as offering video presenters to customise the e-learning. Clients have a choice of customising and adapting existing elearning from elearning WMB’s large library of content or having courses built for them using the unique and innovative elearningWMB approach which is very effective indeed.
Berkshire RG7 4AB
Phone: +44 (0)118 902 6825
Games Based Learning – DESQ
DESQ are a long established elearning company with considerable provenance in high quality elearning development. Desq develop highly tailored and very innovative learning solutions across a number of genres, including “gaming and play” which we have found to be very interesting and effective learning. For quality of design and tight alignment to your learning needs DESQ have a terrific track record of producing highly custom built e-learning materials that really do deliver results. The materials and feedback we have been privileged to look at over the years indicate a company that absolutely delights in exceeding clients expectations.
1 Hartley Street
South Yorkshire S2 3AQ
Telephone Number: 0114 399 1010
If you want to provide your staff with an online learning experience that they will complete, and maybe even love doing, then bespoke content, tailored to their unique roles and needs will really help. We hope that this list of top elearning development companies in the UK will point you to the right provider for your needs.
Let us know how you get on and if you’d like any further help or advice, feel free to: