First Media Review: The Creative eLearning Agency

With an impressive array of in-house talent across multiple disciplines, this is a creative elearning agency delivering truly bespoke solutions to meet their clients’ requirements.

In this First Media review, we found a company extremely adept at developing learning solutions that deliver an engaging message for many well-known brands.

Creative elearning agency, First Media

 

Who Are First Media?

First Media are a well-established elearning company based in Lincolnshire, in the East Midlands of England, UK. Their mission is to deliver high quality elearning, campaign-based training, and micro-learning.

They started in 1999 and now have 25 years of experience delivering quality training content to a variety of organisations, with a particularly strong showing in the sporting and public sectors, as well as healthcare, retail and more.

 

What Can They Do?

First Media’s focus is to deliver high quality elearning services, and they specialise in taking a concept or objective and turning it into a learning campaign on behalf of their clients to help them deliver a message. In doing so, their aim is always to deliver great looking elearning content with a creative approach that is bespoke to each client.

This creative approach, the bespoke solutions they can engineer for their clients, their flexibility and ability to understand the REAL needs of their clients (rather than the perceived ones) and a reputation for going the extra mile to meet them, means that First Media have developed an impressive range of USPs.

As a creative agency in the eLearning space, they have the unique talent to create brand-aware digital learning solutions using a range of products, Articulate Storyline, Rise, Adapt and their own bespoke HTML5/CSS3 framework, FM Bespoke. Combining this with animation and video, they can provide the full package for eLearning, micro-learning and blended solutions.

Their highly experienced team comprises instructional designers, elearning design specialists, and developers.

On the horizon for their elearning clients is an in-house learning platform to host clients’ courses, which they describe as an “LMS lite”. This will be a welcome solution for those clients who may not already have their own internal LMS.

A creative agency with software development capability is a strong combination – demonstrated by the fact that they also manage some proprietary e-prospectus software that is widely used by local authorities in the UK to support student applications to further education colleges.

 

What’s Their Ideal Customer / Target Market?

First Media’s top clients tend to be leaders in their field. They don’t have a focus on any particular sector, which is demonstrated by their diverse client base across the likes of sport, aviation, agriculture, education, and healthcare, in addition to a growing and impressive list of corporate clients such as Lloyds, Amazon and the Financial Times.

Whatever sector their client might be in, they naturally find it easier to work with those who are already delivering elearning, because they believe that the communication of concepts and objectives is more fully developed when the client understands what’s involved. This naturally leads to a more creative collaboration.

 

3-Stage Process for Delivering Bespoke eLearning Solutions

First Media approach their projects with a three-stage process in mind. First is their Explore phase, where they spend time ascertaining exactly what their client needs and how their organisation works.

This naturally involves looking at the target audience, their learning needs, the requirements of the organisation, and assessing the technical aspects of the project – including any LMS that may be used.

First Media's learning development process

 

The second stage is the Design phase, where they will develop the concept, the brand guidelines, tone of voice and get an idea of the visuals that they’ll mock up in Adobe XD. They have also developed their own fully customised HTML CSS framework using in-house front-end developers.

The final stage is the Production phase, which includes prototyping, full scripting, and continuous testing. Tests are conducted on different devices, as well as tests for usability and tests in the LMS – both for SCORM conformance and reporting. Any branching scenarios are thoroughly tested as well.

Some of the fruits of their approach can be witnessed in the work they delivered for the IOC and the FA. For the IOC, they developed an interactive course covering health and wellbeing, designed to educate female athletes globally.

Their team worked with sport and health experts from around the world to create tailored learning modules on subjects that included Bone Health and Nutrition, Injury Prevention, and Sexual Harassment.

eLearning for female athletes

For the FA, they work alongside their safeguarding team to develop equality & diversity elearning content, which was designed to challenge, educate and inspire coaches to change attitudes and behaviours. This elearning included illustrations, video content, and interactive scenarios, and was delivered to over 50,000 learners.

 

A Truly Holistic Approach

Something that really stands out for us about First Media is that they are a creative agency rather than just an agency that churns out a conveyor belt of elearning. This means that when you look at the campaign-based learning they can create, and the variety and diversity of projects that they have been involved in, it’s very clear that they are able to provide a holistic solution to their clients’ needs, rather than just a piece of elearning.

A great example of this ability to provide a more holistic solution is the work that they did with Breast Cancer UK. Here they delivered a whole campaign-based solution that educated people, and was designed to raise awareness of breast cancer – in particular urging women to check themselves.

It was much more than just a simple piece of elearning for people to learn about the topic. For example, you can sign up, do a quiz, and then it sends you targeted information based on how you answered the quiz.

What First Media can deliver for their clients is very bespoke – they don’t have a rigid set of solutions and then work out how they can shoe-horn the client’s needs into these. Instead, it’s very much a case of understanding exactly what the client wants, and then discovering how they can best provide a very bespoke solution for that client.

All of this is undertaken through their three-stage development process: 1. Explore, 2. Design, 3. Produce, and which combined with their creative agency background, means they possess a whole host of internal skills including learning designers, instructional designers, developers, and a lot of their solutions include more than just elearning content – like micro-sites for example.

They can use a range of tools and existing technologies to create content for clients, such as authoring tools like Adapt Builder and Articulate Rise. The use of these popular products is a huge benefit to clients, as it allows them to manage their ongoing maintenance if they so wish.

They also use H5P, an open-source content collaboration framework which provides a huge array of interactions like drop downs, carousels, hotspots and word games. This can suit every type of learning intervention, and First Media use this to input creativity into content and interactions.

First Media have their own framework, which to our eyes looks a little bit slicker and more professional than perhaps Adapt Builder does. This ability to offer such a wide variety of tools makes them extremely versatile when delivering solutions for their clients.

Interactive training content from First Media

 

Not only can First Media use various external tools and technologies to create a solution (whether that’s elearning or micro-sites or campaign-based learning campaigns), they can also work with a client’s current LMS to maximise the learning experience and create inbuilt learning solutions.

A great example of this ability to create content within a client’s LMS is the work they did with the Financial Times. Here they used the tools available to them through the client’s platform to create a more engaging and appropriate learning experience for their audience, and they put in the work to overcome any limitations presented by the platform itself through their development expertise and CSS coding experience.

This level of thought and energy enabled First Media to push the parameters of what was possible to achieve within the learning platform, and by maximising the inbuilt functionality to create the best user experience possible, they provided a great solution to their client’s requirements.

They also offer an “eLearning Assist” package for ongoing support and maintenance, adding further value to their clients.

To learn more about how this create elearning agency can take learning and development to the next level for your organisation, visit the First Media website.

 

Please note: When conducting product or service reviews, our consultants are paid by the vendor for their time spent reviewing the solution and writing their findings and opinions. 

However, this does not give the vendor influence on the content of that review or how we then showcase it on our website or external channels. On the occasions where we feel a solution is not of a quality we would like to showcase at Learning Light, we have offered this feedback to the vendor and not published a review. 

While we may draw attention to the strengths, ideal user-type and use-cases of an elearning company, we encourage all buyers to conduct a thorough training needs analysis and to do the necessary due diligence during vendor screening as part of their procurement process.

We can provide experienced consultancy with this, from initial needs analysis to full RFP management, via our independent elearning consultancy services