E-Learning Content

This page provides information about:
  1. Finding existing, ready-made e-learning content
  2. Rethinking the content and resources you already have
  3. Creating content from scratch
  4. How to build an online course

Finding existing, ready-made e-learning content

Don't even think about buying or building e-learning content, without investigating what is already 'out there'. Much of it is free (or very cheap) and it is quicker and more economical to customise something that already exists, rather than start from scratch.



A good place to start looking is the Toolbox site. Toolboxes come on a CD-ROM and are high quality, cost effective interactive e-learning and assessment resources featuring scenarios, images and activities. They are designed for use by training providers, industry and business and support online delivery of recognised training packages for the VET sector. The Toolboxes can be purchased for approximately $400.00 (excl. GST), which allows you to copy and use the Toolbox with as many learners as desired regardless of where learners are located.

National VET Content siteNationalVETContent.jpg

The National VET Content site is a gateway to online training content. It allows teachers and trainers to access more than 2,500 free, quality, copyright cleared e-learning objects. These learning objects come from various sources including the Toolboxes, and they can be downloaded directly to your computer, and uploaded into your online course. They can also be customised to suit and a tutorial will provide assistance.



YouTube is a video sharing website which allows users to locate existing videos as well as upload their own. There is an amazing amount of instructional material including an Education section. (If your organisation has firewall issues with YouTube, try TeacherTube.) This is a great resource How to embed a Youtube video into a Moodle (video tutorial). You cannot legally download YouTube videos as it breaches policy however you can show them anywhere, link to them and embed them into Learning Management Systems such as Moodle, so that the learner does not have to leave the secure environment to view the video. This does not breach any copyright and many educators and trainers use this method to provide engaging materials to balance text-based content.

Images and Photos


Flickr is a great place to find photos for your online courses. Get started by simply putting a search word into the site...but it is best to use the Advanced Search as this will allow the choice of only those which have a creative commons license…they should then be attributed accordingly. It’s explained in detail in How To Search & Credit Properly-Licensed Photos On Flickr. Check out the Flickr FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and 'How to use Flickr (video)

Rethinking the content and resources you already have

One option for developing online content, is to begin with what you might already have as classroom resources. Keep in mind that putting these online does not create e-learning because although they are online, they are still simply resources. However, having online resources can provide flexibility for your students and consistency for trainers.

Turn your photos into a digital storyAnimoto.jpg

A digital story is a mixture of images put together with video effects. There are many programs and tools but Animoto is ideal as there is nothing to download and it has free education accounts. Check out the resources How to Create an Animoto Video (video demo), Animoto Instructions (PDF) and Embedding an Animoto Video on Your Website. The website Educational uses of digital storytelling may also be useful.

Upload your Powerpoints so they can be used in your online course

SlideShare is a site which allows you to upload and share your PowerPoints, with an option to add an audio narration. You can use SlideShare to upload PowerPoints to the internet so they are available for learners at any time. (gives a unique URL) or embed them straight into a Learning Management System such as Moodle, Blackboard etc. An amusing example of an uploaded powerpoint (with a great mesage) is Death by PowerPoint. :-)

Turn your Powerpoints into Flash so they can be embedded into your course


iSpring Free turns Powerpoint into Flash which means you can easily create web-ready Flash presentations preserving every aspect of your original PowerPoint content. After conversion you can embed it in your LMS or website, or send it out to students via email. You can download the application from here (Note: Flash does not comply with Accessibility requirements as it cannot be read by screen-readers)

Turn Word documents into PDFs

CutePDF creates PDF files on the fly, and makes professional quality PDF files. Use CutePDF to turn your Word documents into PDFs, ready to upload to the internet, your LMS or send out to learners via email. (Although the use of downloadable PDF's is not e-learning, it is a great way to start and provides some flexibility for learners.)


Creating content from scratch

You've exhausted the search of what already exists, and you've looked at what you have...but there are still gaps. Here are some tools which can assist with creating content from scratch (and don't require any high-level technical skills)

Create e-learning activities

exe.jpg eXe is a freely available authoring application to assist teachers and academics in the publishing of web content without the need to become proficient in HTML. Begin with the video introduction or go straight to the Online Manual. There are a number of proprietary products that provide more sophisticated resources - but you have to pay! Articulate Storyline is one example.

Create screen captures (videos of your screen demonstrations)screenr.jpg

Screenr a free and easy way to make a screen capture video recording with audio (a.k.a screencast) and upload it - no installation or downloading required. Screenr can be used wherever you demonstrate something on a computer. Some resources are How to Use Screenr (a Screenr showing how to use Screenr!) and How to Create Screencasts You Can Be Proud Of.

Creating audio


Why does it have to be text? Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing audio. You can can record live audio, import sound files, edit and export in many formats, ready to upload into your online course.

Create video

Microsoft MovieMaker is a relatively simple program which can be used to create video content eg a demonstration, upload them to sites such as YouTube, TeacherTube or Vimeo, and then embed them into your course. If you are looking for music to use, try FreePlayMusic or FriendlyMusic.


How to build an online courseBuildingcourse.jpg

This page is all about content, but before you rush in to throw masses of resources into your online course and spend hours and hours creating more, perhaps start by taking a breath and considering the following questions:
  • What are you trying to achieve in your course? Is it about simply passing on information...or is it more about developing a skill or building a deeper understanding?
  • Does every teeny-tiny bit of information have to be in it? What bit clearly aligns with what you are trying to achieve? Is it all essential...or is some of it just 'nice to know'?
  • Can you start with just the essentials, and then add the 'nice to know' as supplementary information, so that it is available but doesn't clutter the course?
  • How can you put everything into a 'real world context' so that it is more engaging and easier to understand?

LDT.jpgThe Learning Design Tool can assist you to work through these questions and decide what needs to be in your course and the best way to achieve the outcomes you need. Remember that e-learning isn't just about 'content', and articles such as Build Better E-learning Courses by Getting Rid of Some of the Content and The Non-Designers Guide To Building an eLearning Course can provide some direction.