Evolve and learn

Kerry Worthington from the Transformation & Change team, shares some thoughts on how user research techniques helped improve our e-learning platform.

In conjuction with Learning at Work Week (15-21 May) we launched our new look elearning site, Evolve (previously known as Ilearn).  We love our new look and have had some really positive feedback already.

The redesign of the site was based on user research so that we could better understand how and why people used (or didn’t use!) the platform, with the overall aim of boosting engagement.

Look and Feel

We host our site through Learning Pool and started by asking them to share screen dumps of their top 10 elearning sites.  We then asked our user group to tell us what they thought of them.  We got a whole lot more feedback than we bargained for!  People certainly didn’t hold back.  The good news was that the group generally agreed on their choices and how they wanted the new site to look. In particular, we found that users wanted and needed a more personalised approach to learning.

Card Sorting

We’ve always had a lot of content on our elearning platform, but that hasn’t always translated into people accessing it and making the most of the learning opportunities available. We wanted to make it easier for people to find things they were interested in on the site.

We gave the user group a deck of cards onto which we’d printed the title of every elearning module we currently have.  We asked them to come up with category names and place the cards into these categories.  People were astounded at how many modules were available that they didn’t know about. It also became clear that they disliked the word “mandatory”, which we’d previously used to describe Health & Safety training and other modules all colleagues have to complete.

Naming and assigning categories had been something we’d really struggled with in the past so this was a particularly useful exercise that will make the user experience much smoother.

It’s Good to Talk

The user research helped us gain a huge amount of knowledge to inform our new design. But we also found that the user group felt really good about being asked their opinions and being listened to.  When the final site went live lots of them were really pleased with how many of their ideas had been incorporated and how great it looked.

D Day

The site went down on Friday 12 May in the afternoon and there was a slight panic on Sunday evening when we found that only the Administrators could view it. Luckily Learning Pool sorted this by 5am Monday morning (our account manager had to get up early for a flight!)  and the site was ready to go by start of business.  We had over 30 course completions on that first Monday and have had no queries about the site since it went live.

We’ve already made some “tweaks” to things and will continue to do so. But on the whole it’s a much cleaner, modern look and feel, offering personalised courses in new easy to find categories and incorporating the new Bexley theme colours.  Just what our users told us they wanted!


The new Evolve platform includes more personalised content and categories named in ways that make sense to users