The Rapid Elearning Blog

The Rapid E-Learning Blog - let's make a daily deal

Over the years elearning software has become easier to use.  But with that comes some challenges.  In the past you had an instructional designer who designed the course.  Then there was a programmer who did the programming of the course.  And a graphics designer built the course’s graphics.

Today, things have changed a bit.  With the ease of authoring, it’s placed the burden to do all of it on the shoulders of the rapid elearning developer.  This can be a challenge because the skills to design graphics are different than the ones required to design instruction.

In an ideal world you’d have all the resources you need to build your elearning courses, but for many of you that’s not going to happen.  So anything you can do to find inexpensive assets that you can be used for elearning helps.

Here’s a Simple Solution

Most people have heard of sites like Groupon or Living Social.  They’re social buying sites that have some sort of “deal of the day” where you can make discounted purchases as you recommend them to others.  It’s really not much different than the desert island disks I mentioned in last week’s post.

Did you know that there are similar sites for technology and web design?  And many of them offer low cost or even free access to the types of assets you can use in your elearning courses.

The Rapid E-Learning Blog - example of multimedia assets

The Way It Works

Here are a couple of the sites I subscribe to.  I’m sure there are others.

Subscribe to the site and then you’ll get an email with the daily deals.  I find that most of them are not relevant to my needs so I just delete them.  But many times there are some good deals that would work great for elearning, similar to the images below.

The Rapid E-Learning Blog - example of template backgrounds

The Rapid E-Learning Blog - example of silhouette images

The Rapid E-Learning Blog - example of icons

What I Find Valuable

I’m not interested in most of what these services offer.  I don’t care that much about the tutorials or SEO type solutions.  I’m looking for tangible media assets, things I can use in my elearning courses.

Here’s a list of what I’ve found in previous offers that I believe have value:

  • Icons
  • Fonts
  • Backgrounds
  • Textures
  • Templates (usually WordPress)
  • Audio & video assets

Look for any type of multimedia asset that you think could be used in an elearning course.  They may not always fill an immediate need, but if the assets look good, get them.  Over time, you’ll build a large portfolio of assets.

Take a close look at the blog templates even if you don’t need them for blogging.  What I like about them is that they come with a “look” and all of the graphics to get it.  Instead of using the template for a blog site, pull out all of the graphics and use them to build your own elearning template.

I have no vested interest in any of these sites so I can freely share the pros as well as cons.

The pros:

  • Good value: The daily deals usually offer an abundance of resources at a very good price.  Most of them will save you time and money as you develop your elearning courses. 
  • Free stuff: It’s a cost-effective way to build a portfolio of resources.  Sometimes you’ll even get free stuff.

The cons:

  • Email Noise: If you’ve ever subscribed to these types of sites then you know there’s a certain type of spaminess that goes with them.  Not bad spam, but just lots of noise. 
  • Stuff you don’t need: You’ll get daily deals, but most of them probably aren’t relevant to your needs.  Odds are you’ll be enticed to buy stuff because of the deal it offers and not the value you’ll get out of it.  So beware!

The Rapid E-Learning Blog - great graphics for Hamlet course

Having assets that you can use for elearning courses is a challenge when you don’t have access to a graphics designer.  Using sites like these where you can take advantage of the daily deals is a good way to get the assets you need.  You just have to be patient and wiling to click the delete button every day until you get an offer that makes sense for you.  Clicking delete’s not a bad price to pay for inexpensive assets.

Have you ever used any of the assets from these offers for your course design?  If so, which ones?  Feel free to share your thoughts by clicking on the comments link.


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 e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

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

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

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

18 responses to “Here’s an Inexpensive Way to Build a Library of E-Learning Assets”


I found this blog post quite useful in terms of building up assets for e-learning courses. Very innovative way and quite hassle free as well. Good post 🙂

December 6th, 2011

Hi Tom,

Wonderful idea that I can use right now.

QUESTION: How do you label and store these collections for intuitive access months later, in the heat of the creative moment?

I created training for an art framing and restoration business to give to his customers. The owner of the business absolutely loved being able to buy packs of pre-created graphics. I found them quite useful.

However, the business owner had bought far more graphics packages than he would ever need just because they were cool and relatively cheap. We paged through hundreds of backgrounds but I ended up creating a very simple one that reflected the company’s logo instead of using the purchased art.

I do think they are a great resource for a small business, especially if they need to turn docs around quickly. But beware the trap of buying stuff that sits in your virtual closet forever because you don’t really need it.

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not sure i’d want more emails coming in, and there’s the added problem of over hoarding these free resources and never getting round to using them (or even forgetting they’re there).

a search for suitable images/icons in a browser search works well enough for me.

I, for one, would like to see a Hell’s Angels themed, skull & crossbones-covered sample template. Maybe for April Fools Day? Or Halloween 2012?

@llwyn: those are the risks of using the service, but for many they’re still a viable options. Personally, I don’t like the emails, but I just delete them as they come in unless there’s an offer that I like.

@Dave: you can use Windows Photo Gallery, something like Picasa, or even the clip art organizer to manage those assets.

It is great one and if know some web sites which related to this plz send us.

@Shash: Even if you don’t end up using one of the graphics, they may be very useful as inspirations for what you do end up making yourself. Also, if they’re vector images, like many in Microsoft’s collection, you may be able to take them apart to use and modify only a portion of an image. Just ask Tom. He’ll tell you that’s a lot of fun!


[…] Here’s an Inexpensive Way to Build a Library of E-Learning Assets » The Rapid eLearning Blog. Filed under: eLearning | Tagged as: blog, elearning, screencast […]

Looks like a great resource. Thanks, Tom.

p.s. Monty Hall rocks and you’re not so bad, yourself.

December 9th, 2011

Hi Tom

I found your blog post very helful in terms of building up assets for e-learning courses


Nice way to tie this together, Tom. I do the same thing but never thought of putting it into words! Will spread the word.

[…] Here’s an Inexpensive Way to Build a Library of E-Learning Assets […]

Thank you for the great advice,Tom. I’ve already benefited from going the AppSumo and also have some more suggestions here:

Great advice Tom, thanks!

[…] or master in instructional design?" becuase all I know is that of Educational Technology. Here’s an Inexpensive Way to Build a Library of E-Learning Assets Over the years elearning software has become easier to use. But with that comes some challenges. In […]