Digital learning content – a designer’s guide

This guide is for anyone with an interest in helping others to learn. You may be a teacher, trainer, lecturer or coach. You may be a subject expert with knowledge you want to share or an experienced practitioner who wants to pass on their tips. You may already be a creator of learning content, looking to update their skills. Whatever your interest, this guide will help you to design learning materials that really make a difference.

Digital learning content takes a wide variety of forms, including tutorials, scenarios, podcasts, screencasts, videos, slideshows, quizzes and reference materials. This guide provides you with fundamental principles that you can apply to any content creation activity as well as practical information relating to specific content types.

We are fast approaching a point where all learning content will be digital and online. It’s time to join the revolution, to contribute as much as you consume. Your learning journey starts here.

Digital learning content - a designer's guide


  1. Making the most of this guide
  2. Coming to terms with content
  3. Building on sound foundations
  4. Determining roles and processes
  5. Working with subject experts
  6. Starting with some universal principles
  7. Exploiting the power of interactivity
  8. Working with the basic media elements
  9. Distributing your content
  10. Assembling your toolkit
  11. Creating learning podcasts
  12. Creating learning slideshows
  13. Creating learning screencasts
  14. Creating learning scenarios
  15. Creating learning videos
  16. Creating learning tutorials
  17. Creating quizzes
  18. Creating reference information
  19. What does exemplary digital learning content look like?

What they say

Robin Hoyle, Senior Partner, Learnworks in his review in TrainingZone:

I’m fed up. I’m especially fed up with Clive Shepherd. I’ve been creating Digital Learning Content for over 20 years and he waits until now to publish this! I ask you. The years of trial and error, of trying to build effective processes with a working feedback loop, engage learners, working with subject matter experts, use interactivity in a smart way and now someone condenses all that into 220 pages? Sheesh!

Bob Little, in his review in Training Journal:

As expected, this book does what it sets out to do. Authored by a well-practised master in the craft of learning design, the book has no problem in succeeding at this fundamental and important level. Clive Shepherd is a skilled writer as well as a learning designer and ably presents the concepts, principles and processes of the learning designer’s trade in a logical and memorable way.

In today’s brave new world of learning design where subject matter experts vie with professional teachers and trainers to take on the challenging role of ‘learning designer’, this book should have a great deal to offer as a readable, accessible, simple reference tool.

Mark Bethelemy, in his review:

This is a book I would recommend to anyone who is involved with creating digital learning materials. Even if you’ve been around the industry for a while there will be ideas to pick up. It would be an ideal sourcebook for any training course for new designers, and could even stimulate quite a few heated discussions amongst established design teams!



Paperback versions are available for £19.95 on and $30.88 at, as well as other Amazon stores.

Kindle versions are now available for £6.50 on and $9.99 at, as well as at other Amazon stores.

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Also available in paperback from Lulu at £19.95 (or local currency variants).