First ScotRail plc, winner of the prestigious 2014 Scottish Award for Business Excellence accolade are hosting their own informative learning journey at the Quality Scotland’s Offices in Edinburgh on 25th February, 2015.

First ScotRail became members of Quality Scotland in 2011 and quickly embarked on their own Journey to Excellence. Initially being awarded Committed to Excellence in 2012, the First ScotRail team quickly went on to win Recognised for Excellence 5–Star and subsequently become the overall winner and achieve the Scottish Award for Business Excellence, 2014!

As well as a presentation detailing their journey, First ScotRail will be focussing on how they implemented the EFQM Model and RADAR logic to continuously improve their services for both their customers and staff.

Elaine Bell, Head of Corporate Responsibility, will present on how First ScotRail develop their people in a way that motivates, builds commitment and enables them to use their skills and knowledge for the benefit of the organisation with particular focus on their systematic approach to succession planning and their innovative Modern Apprenticeship programme in Customer Service.

Elaine will also present on the strong leadership within the organisation focussing on the proactive role modelling lead by the Executive team as well as ongoing strategy to maintain their 5-Star way of working.

About First ScotRail
As the UK’s largest rail operator with four franchises; First ScotRail currently operate one quarter of the UK passenger rail network, including intercity, commuter and regional services. The leading transport operator in the UK and North America, with annualised revenues of over £6 billion per annum, First ScotRail transport a massive 2.5 billion passengers a year.

Who Can Attend

  • Managers
  • Senior Managers
  • Decision Makers
  • Individuals across all sectors responsible for continuous improvement and quality management within their organisation

Don't miss out on this valuable learning and networking opportunity.

Book online now!

The price is £50 +VAT for members of Quality Scotland and £70 + VAT for non-members.

Date: Wednesday, 25th February 2015, 10am - 12.30pm
Venue: Quality Scotland, 28 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 7RN

Online learning and development company Aurion Learning recently launched their second annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, detailing their achievements and successes throughout 2014.

The report, available to download here, outlines the initiatives Aurion has taken over the past year to positively impact their employees, local community and the environment.

Initiatives undertaken include participation in digital literacy programmes for over-65s, reading with children in local primary schools and the introduction of a number of measures designed to encourage employee engagement and wellbeing.

Aurion Learning’s endeavours to conduct business responsibly were recognised in May 2014 when they were selected as ‘Right Place to Work’ in the Irish News Workplace and Employment Awards.

As well as benchmarking CSR successes in 2014 in comparison to previous years, the report sets out six new aims for 2015, ensuring the continuing development of initiatives and practices that enable Aurion Learning to conduct responsible business.

Speaking of the report, Ciaran O’Hare, Director of Aurion Learning said:

“Conducting business responsibly is one of our core values at Aurion and the publication of our achievements to date and our aims for the future allows us to communicate this to stakeholders both inside and outside of the company.”

We had a range of great discussions at our Members Network Meeting held on 30th January at Skills Development Scotlands offices in Glasgow.

Our main speaker was Ian Fyfe from Skills Development Scotland who gave an overview of the Partner Zone of My World of Work.  There's an enormous resource included within My World of Work, and it's well worth a visit so you can either use these tools directly with your staff and customers, or even just to get an idea of what you can include within your LMS or learning portal.

We followed up Ians presentation by a round table discussion about the tools we're using and the challenges we're expecting to face in the coming year.

Tools discussions included Create eLearning, Articulate Storyline, LAB within LearnPro and BILD within Brightwave.  Whilst these tools are being used across a number of our Member organisations (often in isolation in though), there's a definite desire to share ideas about learning and best practice discovered through hands-on use.  At the Alliance we will continue to collect data about these areas of common interest, and as opportunties arise, we'll arrange further Members Meetings to bring together those with an interest in learning and sharing.

Our discussions through-out the afternoon were however far more wide ranging that just development tools.  We also covered issues around SCORM, mobile learning, BYOD policies, communities of practice, sourcing content and open education resource practices.

We're currently pulling together a set of resources to accompany the notes from the Members Meeting and these will be published later in the week.

If you have a topic of interest you would be interested in sharing with Members of the eLearning Alliance, then get in touch and we'll see how we can help you get your message across.

The use of game mechanics to increase learners’ motivation is not a new concept, but this year gamification is set to come of age, moving away from being viewed as a gimmick to becoming a real contender as one of the key techniques used to motivate and engage learners. We can all expect to see gamification become more practical, more integrated, more fun and more common so we want to share why it’s so exciting!

In our predictions of the top digital learning trends for 2015, we noted an influx in the use of gamification in E-Learning and we were far from the only ones. A report by Ambient Insight placed the annual global growth rate for game-based learning at 8.3% and predicted that revenues would amount to a massive $2.3 billion by 2017.

Why is gamification so effective?

Keller’s Model of Motivational Design outlines four strategies for motivating learners:

  • Attention
  • Relevance
  • Confidence
  • Satisfaction

Gamification is brilliant because it incorporates all four of these tactics to draw in and engross learners. The use of gaming narratives, mechanics and graphics will draw the attention of learners whilst the application of knowledge will reinforce the relevance of learning materials. Learners will have their confidence boosted by the progress they witness during their learning adventures and E-Learning which incorporates rewards and recognition will create a great sense of learner satisfaction.

In the digital age, learners have various forms of information and entertainment competing for their attention. The challenge of the educator is to deliver their information in the most relevant and gripping way.

What will be different in 2015?

Read more at Aurion Learning ...

The gap between where we are and where we could be is tremendous. In recognition of this, the Alliance is launching Challenge 2015 to help Members move towards “where we could be”.

Challenge 2015 is about having conversations, and establishing collaborations amongst Members that will help us to achieve measurable success in 2015.

So to kick-off the conversations, here's two questions to ponder:

  • How can the eLA help you achieve measurable success in 2015?
  • What specific actions could the eLA take, to help the wider e-Learning Community develop in 2015?

As our conversations develop, we'll publish the issues and challenges identified, and look for ways for our Members to work together to drive our use of eLearning forward, to help us all close the gaps between where we are, and where we could be.


From Training Press Releases

Alliance Member, Glasgow City College, has launched its first ever mobile learning app with fantastic results.

As part of Glasgow City College’s ongoing commitment to promote Equality and Diversity amongst the student population, the college commissioned a course that would run on both mobile and desktop platforms.  “With Equality and diversity being such an issue at the moment for universities and colleges around the country, we decided to commission a course with Marshall ACM.” commented Graeme Brewster, Equality and Diversity Manager. “We noted that an exponential number of College Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) student sign-ins are being done on mobile devices (IOS/Android). Also, the College has a big drive on accessibility and digitisation contributed to the decision of creating a mobile friendly package.” 

To ensure the course could reach as large an audience as possible, the app was designed to be compatible with all platforms whether they’re an iphone, Android of Windows device. Speaking about the design of the app, MD and founder of Marshall ACM David Marshall said: “We were very careful about the design of the course, we needed it to contain all the core messages but using a responsive interface that reflects the way we navigate on mobile”. 

Since its launch the Equality and Diversity course has been taken by over 2500 registered students. To date, the feedback from students has shown that the course has been “very well received” prompting the college to measure the impact of the training in the months ahead.  The success of the college’s Equality and Diversity programme has been highlighted by the Education Scotland in the annual report which states:

“The emphasis placed by the college on diversity and equality issues has a positive influence on staff, with staff identifying that this impacts positively on learning and teaching “every day, and in every lesson”. Staff and learners also appreciated the personal and curricular benefits of working and learning within a very diverse environment. The diversity of the college environment and the focus on equalities good practice has had a significant impact on the culture of the college. One member of staff commented that “equality and diversity has moved from a tick box exercise to be embedded within the culture – it doesn’t feel like an added extra any more”. 

Further details about the project at Marshall ACM

Over the Christmas period I read a number of predictions about what's coming in the next 12 months, and there's two which consistently feature which could change the way we do things in e-learning and L&D – Artificial Intelligence (AI) and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR).  I have to admit that I'm not up to speed on either area, but both look as though they could have major implications for what we do, though they're perhaps more medium than short term issues.

However, if we take a quick look at the latest announcements in the AR/VR market, things look far from settled in these areas.  On 15 January, Google announced they're closing the current program for Google Glass.  A couple of days later, Microsoft said Windows 10 will include AR features as a default and they'll also be launching their own AR glasses (HoloLens), along with a development suite (HoloStudio).  In addition to this activity, Facebook continue to plough money into their Oculus Rift product, which has captured the imagination of many.

We'll keep an eye on these areas, and as opportunities come up we'll forward you details.

But, whilst intriguing, I think we're unlikely to be spending our budget on these products in the near future, so looking to matters closer at hand, I came across an interesting comment over the holiday period; the gap between where we are, and where we could be, is tremendous.  Thinking about e-learning, I feel this is probably quite true.  So in recognition of this, the Alliance is launching Challenge 2015 to help Members identify and move towards “where we could be”.

Challenge 2015 is going to be about having conversations, and establishing collaborations amongst Members that will help us to achieve measurable success in 2015.

So to kick-off the conversations, here's two questions to ponder:

  • How can the eLA help you achieve measurable success in 2015?
  • What specific actions could the eLA take, to help the wider e-Learning Community develop in 2015?

Our first Challenge 2015 discussion takes place at our Networking Meeting in Glasgow on Friday (30th January), and we'll look to build the conversation from there.


Organisation Update:
At the AGM in November, the Members of the Company running the Alliance project decided the Ltd Company should cease trading.  In order to maintain the work of the project, eLearning Scotland bought the assets and liabilities of the original company, and made additional funds available.  The eLearning Alliance project will continue to run on much the same basis as before, though there are some corporate and legal changes required.  

The eLearning Alliance vision remains the same, to grow the use of e-learning across our communities, and we will continue to do this by encouraging conversations and collaborations that give you opportunities to learn, share and build value creating projects.

Our other big news is that after nearly 13 years with the Alliance, Audrey is now running her own events company; Greenwood Events.  She is also working on a part-time basis as a Development Manager for Quiet Waters Charitable Trust, as well as managing her own private counselling practice and is currently undergoing training in counsellor supervision at Strathclyde University.  I'm sure you will all join me in thanking Audrey for her time with the Alliance and wishing her all the best moving forward.  If you would like to keep in touch with Audrey, she can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Learning Technologies Show:
One of the biggest events on the eLearning calendar happens this week at Olympia in London.  For many years, the Learning Technologies show was run by BizMedia, but in November, BizMedia was bought by CloserStill (the BizMedia business also included e.learning age magazine and The eLearning Awards).  This years conference and exhibition has over 70 speakers and 250 exhibitors, and takes place on 28th and 29th January.

A number of our Members are attending the show, whilst some are also exhibiting.  If you are attending, then pop in to see Create eLearning (stand 14), Synergy Learning (stand 149) and The Training Foundation (stand 381) to say hello and listen to their latest news.


Members News:
New Members
Since our last newsletter, Bon Accord Care have joined our membership.  Based in Aberdeen, Bon Accord Care are part of our growing membership based in the north of Scotland, so we'll be looking to take some of our networking events here later in the year.  We'll confirm dates, venues and subjects as they're finalised.

Working Across Sectors: Views, Experiences and Perceptions
Alliance Member, Dr Nancy El-Farargy is looking for some help in research she's carrying out at NHS Education Scotland.

The research is looking at the integration of public services in Scotland as key drivers of the Public Service Reform agenda, where the focus is on stronger organisational relationships that deliver better services for patients and the public.  This requires the engagement of the statutory health sector, the social care sector and the voluntary sector in the planning, design and delivery of public services.  

This questionnaire aims to explore your views, experiences and perceptions of working across various sectors.  It also aims to review practical examples and educational provision in the area.

It should take about 15 minutes to complete the survey, and your input would be valuable.  The survey is available here.

Congratulations to Synergy Learning
Alliance Member, Synergy Learning have achieved another award from Totara Learning; the accolade of Totara Top Contributor 2014.

Seminar management is a key component of an enterprise learning platform, to fully support blended learning as well as face-to-face learning.  Taking into account the requirements from a wide range of customers, Synergy Learning created a powerful suite to plan and manage seminars inside Totara LMS.

Andy Kirk, EMEA Channel Partner Manager for Totara Learning Solutions, said:
"Synergy Learning's award for Top Totara Contributor 2014 is very well-deserved.  The team have a fantastic pedigree in open source software development and are a key contributor in Totara’s ‘eco-system’, part of the lifeblood of the product development.  This recognition marks continued progress for Synergy Learning, who have also been recipients of Totara’s Top Seller Award."

To find out more about their award, get in contact with Eamon McHugh.

Create eLearning - Marketplace – Where freelancers meet Instructors and Businesses
Alliance Member, Create eLearning have recently announced the launch of their “Freelancing” community.  It is dedicated to helping trainers, instructors and organisations build exciting and engaging content.

Imagine you're a busy Instructor, trying to articulate a complex learning point. Wouldn’t it be lovely, if within a few clicks, you could find an animator or artist to help you. Their deal and work room allow you to collaborate effortlessly and get the job done.  Buyers and freelancers are rated for quality of work, quality of communications, timely delivery and so on.  Jobs are pre-funded and guaranteed.

Joining as a Freelancer is free.  Just edit your profile, add in a website or upload examples of your work and join the community at


Other News:
Also on the corporate news front, the AICC announced in December that due to declining membership, its' membership had decided to dissolve the AICC.

So after 26 years of work bringing development and LMS standards to the learning technology market, the AICC is coming to a close.  Current work on CMI-5 will be transferred to the ADL (bringing SCORM and AICC compliance under the same roof) and the work will continue with many of the same individuals.  The AICC document archive will be transferred to the ADL to ensure continued public access to these documents.

You can keep up to date with what's happening across our Membership by visiting the eLearning Alliance website, whilst broader market news is available from eLearningScotland.


Upcoming Events:
We're finalising a workshop that will introduce people new to eLearning to the essential elements in developing and managing eLearning.  We anticipate this will take place towards the end of February/start of March and will include sessions on Instructional Design, creating elearning content, Learner Management Systems, and buying content.  Additionally, we're also hoping that we can bring Clive Shepherd to Scotland to talk about his recently launched book – More Than Blended Learning.

We'll issue more details of these events as they're confirmed.


Membership of The eLearning Alliance
Membership of the eLearning Alliance is available to; public and private sector organisations, corporate users of eLearning, training providers, technology suppliers, software developers, colleges, universities, publishers, broadcasters, professional bodies, consultants and others. As Members, you get free access to our networking events, as well as discounts on our workshops and conference. Annual cost of organisational membership is £300.

You can download a membership application form here (, alternatively, if you have any questions about The eLearning Alliance, please get in contact with Susan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..