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SPOTLIGHT STORY. Keen to bring novice authors, like subject experts, in to create an elearning project, but not sure how? Olivia Cunningham, from nCino, shares how she used Elucidat to create editable templates that helped make elearning rockstars out of three novices, in a matter of days. Watch the interview.

Olivia Cunningham

“If these new authors hadn’t had custom templates, I don’t know that they would have been able to produce such a high-quality product.”

Olivia Cunningham Instructional Designer

Olivia Cunningham

Customer Spotlight Story:

Creating your own templates to support SME authors


Instructional designer, Olivia Cunningham, used Elucidat’s ‘Templates by you’ feature* to empower in-house subject experts to create some elearning of their own. 


In this interview, she shares how she:

  • Smartly Onboarded the SMEs
  • Set up templates for them to use, in Elucidat
  • Injected guidance into the templates and why
  • Sat back and let the SMEs give it a go


Watch the video to find out why the results were so astonishing, and gain top tips about her process.


*This was called ‘Guided Authoring’ at the time of interview.

The Challenge – Onboarding Three SMEs


How do you bring total novices, all with different backgrounds, onboard to create effective elearning, in an authoring platform that’s new to them, within days? This is exactly the challenge Olivia set out for herself to do, and with three different colleagues:


  1. Face-to-Face Trainer – Responsible for developing trainingthey were eager to embrace digital learning, but easily overwhelmed.
  2. Technical Writer – An expert in technical writing across nCino but an elearning design novice. They were starting from scratch.
  3. The Elearning Intern – New joiner, they’d only ever edited existing Elucidat courses. They were nervous about making errors.


Olivia decided to take a hands-on approach and get them started with a quick practice project. They watched a couple of Elucidat onboarding videos, then created a project based on a US classic. You guessed it, making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!


“We had them all sign in to Elucidat and start building it out. Editing text. Adding images. Doing some of the things that I knew they were going to be doing for the projects that we had in mind.” Olivia Cunningham

The Solution – Creating Elucidat Templates


Next, they were ready to tackle a real project. Olivia set them up with an on-brand template to use in Elucidat – one that she had created herself.


“I was so excited from an instructional design perspective to be able to put templates together because it took it takes out so much of the initial stress of learning for novice authors”


She didn’t just set up branded templates, but injected them with some learning design guidance. Each section of the template included some pointers about what kind of content to put in there.


“I don’t have to handhold and be there for every step of the process. Setting up templates allowed me to focus on some of the bigger projects and some of that design and consultation work that takes a lot of time.”  – Olivia Cunningham


By setting them up with some initial onboarding, and providing templates designed by her and with guidance inside them, she wanted them to roam free. The question is, did it work?



The Outcome – Confident Authors, Great Results and Spare Time!


“Once my authors had finished, I was able to just pop back in, take a look through what they had done, make sure there weren’t any errors and we could release them. It was really sort of shocking!   – Olivia Cunningham


All three authors created great results, were confident, and had tackled more projects than they set out to! One produced 10 modules in two days!


“Darrell, our employee enablement specialist, he came to me screaming and sounding a lot more confident using Elucidat”


Because Olivia put time in up front to set up a template that met her team’s standards, with guidance text for the novices to follow, she could rest assured about the quality of their work. Not only that, it created time for her to focus on other strategic projects.


“I was able to go work on some of the bigger and other projects that I’ve been working on, like needs assessments”


In summary


Like many global businesses, demand for elearning at nCino is rising as the L&D team grapples to meet it. For Olivia and nCino, Templates by You proved a great way to meet this demand, by empowering employees to share their expertise and create impactful elearning content.


  • Creating Templates: Setting up best-practice templates and branding, was key for quality control and supported novice authors
  • Including Guidance – Adding in written tips and pointers to the templates helped the team of novice authors no end – top tip!
  • Collaborative Authoring – Opting for a cloud-based authoring tool with easy review functionality and advanced role management was key.


Want to know more about creating templates or supporting SME authoring? Explore more here.