When designing a web-based course, you really have to factor in the key e-Learning content features, a ton of concepts, goals, and considerations. If time-to-market is a definitive criterion or you need to focus on the content rather than the form, e-Learning templates come in handy as a soft option. That’s how you can save a lot of time and money on design and implementation, accommodate your branding requirements, and link your layouts with major authoring tools.
Focus on the major stuff, not on how your button or arrow looks! Trained graphic designers have invested their time into making standard templates look professional and usable with minimal or no customization. Another winning point for your e-Learning content is consistency and standards compliance across your personal course library.
Long story short, the perks of using pre-built themed slide layouts are abundant! To that end, here’s a brief overview of online services that provide ready-made templates for a certain fee or free of charge.
|Solutions||Number of templates||Supported authoring tools||Price/license options|
|1. eLearning Brothers||1,000,000+||Captivate, Storyline, Camtasia, Lectora, iSpring, PowerPoint||The e-Learning pack costs $499/year|
|2. Articulate Community Templates||600+||Storyline, Presenter, Quizmaker, Engage, Replay, PowerPoint||Free with an Articulate ID|
|3. FasterCourse||600+||Storyline, Captivate, Lectora||$39 for a limited template pack (up to 38 templates), $99 for the entire library (up to 644 templates)|
|4. eLearning Chips||400+||Storyline, Lectora||Starting at $30 per template|
|5. eLearning Art||353||Storyline, Articulate Presenter, Articulate Quizmaker, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, PowerPoint||$14.95/month – 1 user, $39.95 – 3 users, unlimited license available at $200.|
|6. eLearning Locker||450+||Storyline||Limited downloads come for free. Paid plans: from $40 (1 user, 6 downloads per month) onwards. Unlimited downloads for $444.|
|7. eLearningDom||700+||Storyline, Captivate||Individual Pack: $237/1 year/1 user, unlimited downloads, free updates
Business Pack: $697/1 year/5 concurrent users, unlimited downloads, free updates
|8. Free PowerPoint Templates||600+||PowerPoint||Free e-Learning templates|
|9. Graphicriver.net||3,821||PowerPoint||$4 to $83 per template|
|10. SlideModel||10,000+||PowerPoint||$25 for 1 time, 5 downloads; annual unlimited fee – $199|
1. eLearning Brothers
The Brothers’ templates are available in paid and free versions. Part of the Brothers’ library comes embedded into the most popular authoring tools. The choice is ample – games, interactions, scenarios, and anything you could think of. When sweating over branched courses, you may get some neat ideas from ready-made layouts before digging into scenario tools.
Here are some facts and figures about this collection.
- Over 1,000,000+ samples
- Unlimited downloads and free updates
- Multiple categories: games, scenarios, course starter templates, layouts, navigation players, interactions, and more
- Support for most popular courseware and video authoring tools: Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, Lectora, Camtasia, PowerPoint, Articulate Presenter.
Free e-Learning templates
- Complimentary access to over 75 e-Learning layouts
- Content works with Storyline, Captivate, Lectora, PowerPoint, Presenter, and more!
- No credit card required.
2. Articulate Community
Articulate templates are available through their friendly user community. Naturally, they are locked in for Articulate products. Once you have a product ID, you can download, use and re-use all you want.
What’s in there?
- About 600 templates in top-pick categories
- Support for Storyline, Presenter, Quizmaker, Engage, Replay, and PowerPoint e-Learning templates
FasterCourse is another library that offers off-the-shelf e-Learning design templates. Works with key authoring tools, helps to deliver your course to the audience before you can say Jack Robinson.
- Storyline templates as well as content for Captivate and Lectora; versatile categories
- 644 paid templates and up to 48 free templates in the pool
- HTML5-ready, looks good on mobile devices
- Support for SCORM and xAPI
There are two FasterCourse packages. The cheap one comes at $39 and allows access to 38 templates tops. The more pricey option sets you back $99 and opens up the entire library (640+ pieces) and free updates.
4. eLearning Chips
eLearning Chips is a collection that leverages original Storyline and Lectora templates to craft an engaging e-Learning course. You can also create proprietary templates with interactions, rich media, timelines, grids, etc. within the Chips framework.
The service includes:
- Content for Lectora (165 pieces), Storyline templates (268 pieces)
- Categories: Accordions, course players, dialogs and scenarios, flip cards, gamified interactions, grids, markers, timelines, and more.
- Tools for creating custom e-Learning design templates.
5. eLearning Art
With eLearning Art you don’t have to develop courses from scratch. All templates are compatible with native programs, so there is no need for XML or Flash. Ample collection, nice images.
In a nutshell:
- 353 templates
- Supported tools: PowerPoint, Articulate Storyline, Articulate Presenter, Articulate Quizmaker, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter
- Filters and categories: Avatar, communication, conversation, display board, interaction, layout, objective, quiz, scenario, etc.
6. eLearning Locker
eLearning Locker is a collection of skins for all walks of life. Another wealthy library replenished on a regular basis.
- Over 450 templates, designs and layouts
- Storyline templates only – Articulate folk should keep this website on their radar.
- Assessments, Content Holders, Introductions, Layouts, Motion, People, Process, Timelines, and a bunch of other categories.
As you might guess, limited volume downloads are made available free of charge. Unlimited use incurs a considerable fee of $444. For the sticker-shocked and freebie hunters, there is a lesser option of 6 monthly downloads available at $40 for a single user. Good bang for the buck.
7. eLearning Dom
eLearning Dom is yet another web source that provides course templates for instructional designers, course authors, business trainers, human resource managers and other pros. A big collection of templates, characters, icons and backgrounds – eLearning Dom is a one stop shop for out-of-the-box layouts.
What’s in there?
- Over 700 templates
- Adobe Captivate (categories: classification, introduction, list, process, relationship, scenarios, and so on)
- Articulate Storyline (animation, assessments, classify, exclusive, extensions, introduction, list, multimedia, process, relationship, scenarios, themes, etc.)
The individual pack is priced at $237/year for 1 user (unlimited downloads, instant access and free updates are included in the price). The biz pack costs $697 per year and unlocks the service for 5 concurrent users.
8. Free PowerPoint Templates
Using PowerPoint e-Learning templates is a win-win-win scenario. Why? First off, they are free. Secondly, if your authoring tool is a PowerPoint-based application (and many of them really are), you can just pick the style and design elements from this ample collection and transform them into a course. AllPPT.com offers a nice stock of PowerPoint templates, diagrams and charts – all available free of charge.
- Over 600 templates
- Slides sized for widescreen (16:9) and standard view (4:3)
- Categories: abstract, business, computers, education, medical, nature, finance, food, real estate, religion, industry, sports, recreation, military, travel, all diagrams, cycle, relationship, flow-pro, stair-step, timeline, charts, etc.
- All designs can be downloaded as .pptx files (compatible with any recent version of Microsoft PowerPoint: 2007, 2010 and 2013).
Graphicriver by Envato is another PowerPoint template collection. Once again, you may re-use downloaded templates in any PowerPoint-like authoring software for further elaboration or as-is. The service is paid, though.
What’s good about Graphicriver?
- About 4K PowerPoint templates
- Filters by ratings and price range
- A wealth of categories: agency, animated, blue, business, chart, corporate, creative, diagram, elegant, enterprise, green, infographic, maps, marketing, minimal, modern, multipurpose, portfolio, professional, simple, social media – and more!
Pre-baked designs at SlideModel.com are yet another way to go, should you like to transition ready-made templates into PowerPoint or its third-party offspring. Catchy templates and diagrams for e-Learning, business, sales and marketing, engineering, etc.
- 10,000+ PowerPoint templates and slide layouts
- All sides are editable – feel free to change color, size and effects.
- Theme and types: business, data and charts, diagrams, maps, pictures, shapes, text and tables, timelines, etc.
The 1 time/5 downloads plan sets you back $25. An annual unlimited license costs $199. Educators and non-profit organizations are eligible for discounts on annual plans.
My humble comparison is coming to an end. When choosing the right template or collection, keep in mind the main objectives traditionally associated with templates – visual consistency and unification, and appropriate look and feel. Whichever library meets your expectations of professional training content is the way to go, so don’t overthink it.
That said, before you start looking at these tools, I’d like to sum up their individual benefits in a few words. Professional instructional designers making courses on a regular basis should probably opt for bigger libraries like eLearning Brothers (on the high end) or SlideModel (a free lunch is a thing in this case). Obviously, Articulate aficionados are likely to stick to the community’s library or eLearning Chips – it doesn’t make much sense to go seek your Storyline inspiration elsewhere. PowerPoint fans who make the utmost of this powerful authoring and e-Learning tool have quite a choice of free templates – I have just listed three services, no doubt there is more, so you can always find something that fits your aesthetic requirements.
For those on the experimental track, I’d recommend eLearning Art, FasterCourse or Graphicriver, which offer good value templates for a small fee. They are rather ad-hoc, so if you need scale, contract a more expensive plan from eLearningDom or eLearning Locker.
Last but not least, here’s a piece of advice for later implementation and quality control. Always test how third-party templates play along with your LMS. In fact, this should be on top of your checklist. Make sure you know a few tricks about how to export your content to SCORM and make it look nice on the output. Don’t get carried away with the variety of free and paid templates before you test them out in a real e-Learning environment.
That’s it for now – stay tuned for further practical tips!
Thanks for your feedback! Stay tuned for more e-Learning reviews.