The 5C Framework for successful digital learning

The five Cs will help you to plan, design, create, optimize and commercialize your online learning.

If you’re starting a new project, go through each of the 5Cs in order, downloading the free resources to get tips, checklists, templates and guides for each stage of your project.

And if you’re facing a particular challenge, use our interactive 5C Toolkit to find a resource that can help you right now.


Capture – start with a clear plan

The first step of the 5C Framework helps you to shape the problem, so that you can shape your solution. To set your project up for success you need a plan, right from the outset, that gives clarity on:

  • Your audience’s needs
  • The desired outcomes for your project
  • Potential barriers and how to overcome them
  • The resources at your disposal

Free guide: How to Capture your audience’s needs

Conceptualize – lead with a prototype

The next step in the 5C Framework is to turn what you know about your audience’s needs into a vision for an effective and engaging piece of learning. You’ll need to:

  • Explore and test the big ideas before getting into the detail
  • Map your content to your big idea
  • Create a rapid prototype to test the look, flow and approaches your learning experience will use
  • Align your team behind a shared vision.

Free guide: How to Conceptualize your elearning ideas

Create – build with confidence

Only once you’re armed with a plan and clear design concept should you start building your project in your authoring platform. For a streamlined, efficient development process:

  • Get visual styles in place from the start
  • Test out your concept with a short section of content first
  • Collaborate smartly with clear roles and responsibilities
  • Be clear on your testing process so you can launch with confidence

Free guide: How to speed up your Creation process

Cultivate – improve and refine

The fourth ‘C’ is a game changer. The best learning professionals are using data to improve projects and inform future strategy: this guide will show you how.  

  • Tap into data dashboards to identify where your content could be tweaked to improve engagement
  • Track wider audience trends to inform your digital learning strategy
  • Balance data about learners with those all-important business KPIs

Free guide: How to use data to design and refine elearning

Commercialize – deliver better ROI

The final C is all about making sure your product works for your business. This is key whether you are taking your product to market or simply keen to improve the ROI of digital learning. To deliver the goods, consider:

  • How to increase the reach of your digital learning products
  • Design products that will sell
  • Potential new revenue opportunities
  • How to increase the value of existing products
  • How you can streamline workflows to increase speed to market

Free guide: How to Commercialize your elearning products


Who’s behind this learning design and development framework?

We’re a team of learning consultants at Elucidat. We’ve boiled down 50 years of collective experience to get to the essence of what’s needed to deliver a successful elearning project.

We’ve analysed what worked well – and what didn’t – across thousands of projects delivered to millions of learners, continually testing and iterating our theories. We’ve offered our best findings for free as our 5Cs guides.

If you’d like direct support with your learning projects, we’re available to help you excel with Elucidat with our Professional Services. From learning strategy coaching to design support, we can support you at any stage of your product lifecycle.
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