The Rapid Elearning Blog

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons & free e-learning template

One of the challenges I pose in our workshops is to create an elearning template using free resources like some of the free images and free icons you find online.

Free Icons for Your E-Learning Template

Here are three four good resources for free icons:

Create an E-Learning Template Using Free Icons

  • The first step is to find an icon style you like. Try to use icons from the same pack. Also, look for icons you can use for commercial use. And of course, give attribution to the creator. Here are a few ideas if you’re not sure how to give attribution in your courses.
  • Create a few screen layouts. The screen is a blank space. And there are only so many things you can put on the screen: text, shapes, media files, etc.
  • Create assets that work with the icons you’ve chosen. For example, if it’s an icon that is made of think black lines, than it makes sense to match the color and lines in the shapes you create for the slide.
  • Use the color picker to pick colors from the icons. This way your other assets are using the same colors. You can also create a custom color scheme based on the colors.

My Example of an E-Learning Template Using Free Icons

I chose the ballicon icons. There are 20 free icons via Nick Frost. He also sells a more complete pack for $19.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons via ballicons for the free e-learning template

Since the icons are a bit informal, light, and flat, I decided to go with a simple layout with a light wood background. To tie the icons and the other assets together I decided on a thicker white border on the assets.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons example e-learning template

I created all of the graphics in PowerPoint. Some of the graphics were easy because they are just simple rounded squares with the icons in them. However, others are combined shapes (something you can do starting with PowerPoint 2010).

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons example layouts for the free e-learning template

I also decided on using the diamond icon to represent course progress by awarding a diamond upon completion of each module. The map icon links to my progress screen which you can see in one of the screens above. I then saved the graphics I created as image files so I can use them in Storyline.

I also played around with a few ideas to add some interactive elements. For example, in the demo below you’ll see a simple click and reveal question/answer interaction.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons free elearning example

Click here to view the demo using free icons (Storyline).

Here are some free templates for your practice:

Here’s a PowerPoint version of the template to show you what’s in there.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons powerpoint example free e-learning template

Click here to view the PowerPoint version of the template.

If you need to learn to create a template or build off of the one provided, be sure to check out this blog post on the four essential tips. It includes some tutorials on creating a notebook and the process is the same.

If you’re limited to using free icons and other assets, then practice using them to create cohesive templates. Create your own shapes, layouts, and color schemes.

For those on holiday this week, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.


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Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

12 responses to “Here’s a Free E-Learning Template Made with Free Icons”

I love this one! Thank you!

I really enjoy your blog and gain valuable insight from yourself and others on creative and innovative ways to design e-learning.

Thanks. I had some people ask how I created the progress meter with the diamonds, so I’ll do a follow up series of tutorials.

I think this is great! I will definitely encorporate it into a course I will be creating.

I have to admit Tom, I have learned more from your posts about both PowerPoint and Instructional Design than I have from anywhere. I am actually trying to encourage others in my field (I’m a pastor) to learn how to create PowerPoint presentations that go beyond the death by PowerPoint model!

I presented at a conference a couple of weeks ago using things I learned from your blog posts and am getting a reputation for being a PowerPoint guru now. I’m not, but I want to thank you for all you’ve taught and continue to teach me and others!

Unfortunately, I had to sit through an actual PowerPoint presentation that was the old fashioned bullets and almost fell asleep in my chair! Information was necessary and timely, but the presentation was terrible! I’m going to email a link to your blog to the presenter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25th, 2014

Hi Tom! Thank you for another great post. I am wondering about how long it take you to put a good design/template like the one you demoed here?

Thank you!


As always, great resources, thank you!

Many of our corporate clients still like photo images, and icons with a more sophisticated look. So, I found this site is a helpful resource to look for icons: (keyword “icons” + “all images”)

Here are icons as vector graphics:

And, icons as illustrations:

You can also try keyword searches for a specific icon.

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Tom!


@John: thanks for the kind words; also glad to see your ministry to the military.

@Stacey: Something like this doesn’t take too long. I probably spent about 15 minutes messing around with the icons and then created a few basic shapes.

I think some of the design is based on the icon style. The key is to identify a few core types of screens and then start from there. Try to keep it simple and work in some of the colors or design elements from the icons. In the blog demo, I went with a lighter look and rounded corners since the icons are round.

Just put the icon on a blank slide and move it around to get a feel for how they look on the slide. Another option is to look at other template sites to get some ideas on layouts. A lot of the template sites today are driven by icons so that may help.

@Jenise: thanks for the links; love the more corporatey Koala and penguin. 🙂 Hope you enjoy your holiday.

LOL, Tom!

Yea, I use Compliance Koala and Policy Penguin in lots of corporate-y courses!

Thanks Tom. Blessings to you and your family tomorrow.

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