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Creating a new training course

Training design and accessibility

Whether you are planning a general interest course for all staff, or mandatory training for certain groups, we can offer support. However, there are some processes that we need you to follow to ensure that we give you the best support and all the necessary advice. 

The information below outlines the processes for different types of training.  All training and learning resources developed for staff must adhere to the Accessibility Policy - please ensure you read this when developing any training.  If you do not require any support from People Development, or your training does not need to be hosted on Trent or LearnUpon, then you might not need to adhere to the procedures below.

Please do get in touch with us in the early stages of your training design to discuss any aspects of developing your training. Contact us at

There are many ways that we can support you if you are developing a course whether face-to-face, workplace, blended or online.  You might need to deliver a course as part of a legal or University need, to upskill staff or as a general interest and development opportunity.  We can help with getting started, those early considerations, designing training, delivering training and administrative support.  The paragraphs below give a few more details about what to do next:

Face-to-face and webinars

If you want your course to sit on Trent to enable staff to sign up for the session then please complete an ‌Event Booking Form (EBF) and send it to  The form will be passed to one of our Learning & Development (L&D) Managers who will contact you and meet to discuss the training and explain the support you can receive.  We also have additional advice about developing Remote Training via webinars etc. (please refer to the details further down this page).

LearnUpon hosted courses (e-learning)

If you think you might want to use the Learning Management System ‘LearnUpon’ to host your training then please contact The L&D Manager responsible for the administration of the system will contact you to discuss your options. Please be aware that the University has no in-house e-learning development capability.

Bespoke Training

If you just want some generic guidance and support for a training session that you might be designing for a bespoke group or your team please do contact us.  You might also like to refer to our information about Developing Teams.

All types of mandatory training need to be carefully considered.  We need, as an organisation, to ensure that we are only asking our staff to complete training that is mandatory where there is a definite need, otherwise the amount of training could become overwhelming.  There needs to be a sound reason why training should be classified as mandatory, hence the process below was introduced in order to monitor which courses are given ‘mandatory’ status.

More details about the University's approach to mandatory training and your potential role within it as a Course Sponsor / Owner can be found in the Mandatory Training Policy.   

Mandatory training might be delivered face-to-face, via webinar or as a course hosted on LearnUpon.  Areas of training and development will be deemed to be mandatory from either a legal or statutory requirement or from an institutional perspective (a requirement directed by the University).

The following steps must be covered when developing mandatory training (outline of the process):

  • As a Course Sponsor or Owner read the Mandatory Training Policy in order to understand your role within the process.
  • Contact People Development to arrange a meeting with a Learning & Development Manager who will talk though the process in order to help you understand the requirements for developing mandatory training and the process that needs to be followed.  The processes will differ depending on the type of training and delivery method(s).
  • Complete the Mandatory Training Proposal Form and submit it to People Development. The form is a useful guide for anyone considering mandatory training, it covers key areas that you will need to consider. The request will be sent to the HR Director for approval. The HRD is required to keep an overview of the quantity and quality of this training. Please note that without this approval, the training cannot be taken forward.  
  • Once given the go ahead begin to design the training.  If face-to-face this might include further discussion with People Development about administrative support. If designing training to be hosted on the LearnUpon platform then wider discussions will need to take place with Exeter IT and PPBI in order to confirm whether any automation of the system is required / possible and to tie in with the Management Information Hub reporting.
  • Ensure that the training complies with the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion vision and Accessibility Policy.

The training categories

During your conversation with the Learning & Development Manager, we will decide which of the following categories applies to your training.

Category A: All Staff Training that is required by law or that the University Council has deemed a high priority and vital that all staff complete.  For example Health and Safety Introduction, Information Governance, Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, Prevent Duty – Inclusive and Safe Universities.
Category B: Position or Job Role Training specific to the member of staff’s position or role within the University. Examples of this training include Research Integrity, Recruitment training, PDR training for managers and Corporate Conscience.
Category C: Additional Duties Training may relate to a specific activity or duty which an individual is required to carry out as an additional responsibility outside of their job description. Examples of this type of training include Fire Marshalls.

Designing Remote Training

If you already have a course that you delivered face to face then you might just need to tweak your training to suit remote delivery, or you might feel it requires a complete overhaul. Either way the basic principles of teaching don’t change: think about your target audience, how will you keep them engaged, what key information do you need to get across and what is the best medium to do this?  Your level of confidence in the technology and systems being used might mean that you need to go back to basics and pull back control of the session more than you might have previously. As your confidence grows you will find that you start to introduce more complex activities and interactions with your delegates but don’t feel that you need to do this immediately.

Make sure it is accessible 

All training and learning resources developed for staff must adhere to the Accessibility Policy, please ensure you read this when developing any training.

What are the basics that you should consider?

•    Is a webinar the answer? Some subjects need interaction with delegates, perhaps because they contain a Q&A or discussion element. Others might be better presented by expanding a PowerPoint presentation that can be accessed at any time from a web page or producing a workbook that can be explored at the delegates' own pace. Make sure a webinar is the best solution for your remote training! Consider:

         o    What level of personal interaction with delegates is needed?
         o    What information are you trying to deliver and what interaction does that require?
         o    What other options are available? (PowerPoint presentations on a webpage, a SharePoint site, a workbook etc).  You might just need to offer a face to face drop-in session or a Q&A session to support work-based learning rather than a webinar delivered session.

•    How comfortable are you with the technology? You might be a whizz and able to create breakout rooms and interactive quizzes using various platforms. However, remember that your audience might not be as confident as you, so consider how complex it will be for both yourself and delegates to manage. If most of this is new to you make sure you create a session that you can easily control - interactive and interesting doesn’t have to mean complex.

•    Manage delegate expectations. Set out in Joining Instructions roughly how the session will run. For instance, will there be regular breaks where you will answer questions? Will delegates' videos and microphones be enabled? Is there pre-course work to complete or resources they must have downloaded or accessed prior to the session? It can be as simple as ‘you will need a pen and paper’.  Be prepared that even if you ask them to download resources delegates might not have been able to, so consider how vital it is to your session!

•    Length of the session. The general rule with webinars is that the less delegates interact the shorter your sessions should be, more delegate involvement means the session can be a little longer. Just consider your own experience of remote learning, listening to podcasts and online training – how did presenters keep your attention and how long did they keep it for? We would suggest a maximum of 90 minutes if you have a break in the middle and activities, without breaks or activities then 45 minutes maximum.

•    How to keep delegates engaged? Creating a rapport with your class can be tricky so consider how important this is for you to achieve your session outcomes. Think about whether they can see you at any point in the session, so that they can put a name to a face.  If you have a smaller group then introductions might be possible. How can you keep them engaged throughout, consider small activities, input into the Chat box, games which require simple answers or that they can consider at home. If you want to be more adventurous then consider something like a Kahoot quiz, a Slido poll or using the Whiteboard function in Teams Meetings. Time for Q&A is best built into the session rather than constantly interrupting delivery.

•    Consider co-presenters or support. If you are busy trying to deliver training and manage resources it might be helpful to have a colleague managing the ‘Chat’ box and general queries, or supplying the links to documents and videos. They can collate and direct questions to you when you have a Q&A break and sort out minor queries.  

•    Sending out resources. Consider how this will be done, by attaching to Joining Instructions, by a link in the Chat box on the day, through a SharePoint site? Embedded videos tend not to work therefore think about sharing these via the Chat box. Also, be careful about who you are giving access to if using a link to a SharePoint site.

•    PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! This is the same advice that any teachers would be given no matter the medium for delivery.  Ask colleagues and friends to attend short, mock sessions so that you can check everything works: what can they see? Are links working, is changing screen working? Can you manage delivery and questions at the same time? Practice until you feel comfortable with system.

Creating new training
•    If you are creating new training please speak to one of the People Development L&D Managers or our Events Team about how we can support you administratively.

Accessibility guidance for training developers

Keep it simple – if training and resources are designed using the following principles it will already be accessible to a greater number of people and may reduce the demand for additional versions: 

  • write in plain language - The Plain English Campaign provides advice and guidance. 
  • make it as concise as possible – consider using bullet points, numbered steps and meaningful subtitles. 
  • design it to be as legible as possible, for example using a minimum 12 point text size. 

This is a cost and time-efficient way of making information instantly accessible to a larger number of people. 

Making your original documents, resources or presentations more accessible will reduce the need for producing accessible formats. However, people with some types of visual impairments, learning disabilities, dexterity or literacy difficulties (such as dyslexia) are likely to have difficulty accessing information in written text – even in the largest font size. You therefore still need to consider accessible formats that meet their needs in addition to making your initial document more accessible. 

What is accessible design? Accessible design is process in which the needs of all people are fully considered. Accessibility sometimes refers to the characteristic that products, services and facilities can be independently used by people with a variety of disabilities. When designing training you should always consider the full range and needs of your audience, you should anticipate these rather than expecting each person to inform you, making resources accessible helps everyone.

The following resource was created by Worcestershire County Council, it provides an introduction to accessibility and guidance around creating accessible formats and design – specifically see the SCULPT is six basic principles of guidance section for quick hints and tips. 

Where an external company is developing or delivering training, the product must adhere to the requirements of the University Staff Accessibility Policy. The areas covered in this guide should be discussed with the developer to ensure they understand the approach required and so that any additional formats are included, budgeted for and covered in costings. 

You don’t want to overwhelm staff with information but you do need to make sure they are aware of key information required to make your session successful. For instance, how will staff access the location? Are resources accessible? Is the delivery style appropriate for all? Do staff need to prepare in any way for the session? Will there be the need for special equipment for activities?  These are just a few considerations that might need to be included in the Joining Instructions. If your course is loaded via Trent then staff might have declared accessibility requirements which will be highlighted when they are added to the attendance list, however, it is incumbent upon the instructor to consider accessibility for all.

Where will your training be delivered? The accessibility site AccessAble used by students provides details about locations and learning spaces around the University. You should ensure you consider the layout of your room as well as access to it. If utilising breakout rooms how accessible are they? If using PowerPoint, resources, activities or handouts have you ensured they too are accessible for all?

Training that is delivered via information contained on a web page must adhere to the guidance produced by the University web teamWeb page accessibilitySupport for staff developing training using a web page format can be found here: Web support accessibility.

The Education Toolkit provides great advice around Inclusive and Accessible design for your online module. It also contains great Digital Accessibility Advice.

There is no specific e-learning policy to adhere to; however, the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) is used by a majority of e-learning designers and should be used as a baseline for all online training.  A shorter version of the guidance has been produced by Marshall ACM who have developed a summary of key areas to be follow when producing e-learning material - WCAG Summary.  If you are procuring e-learning materials from an external supplier or creating internal options, the WCAG guidance must be followed.   

Where at all possible training should be piloted using a range of colleagues/delegates that represent the broad audience that might attend your training. No tool or simulator can quite replace talking to people living with different disabilities. Testing your resources with disabled users will give you more accurate feedback. You can also try using a speech reader yourself to hear how your resources sound.

Screen readers built-into operation systems:

Support and advice around accessibility can be sought from the Staff Wellbeing team and training advice from the Learning and Development team.

Support for staff and managers can be found in the Mental and Physical Disability Support section within the Occupational Health Team.

SensusAccess is a self-service solution coordinated by the Library Service that automates the conversion of documents into a range of alternative formats including digital Braille, MP3, DAISY and e-books. The service can also be used to convert otherwise inaccessible documents such as image-only PDF files or scanned images into more accessible formats.

Access to University licenced supporting software can also be found in the Software Service Catalogue.