Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) employs a workforce of some 900 personnel. The majority are operational fire-fighters based at locations across the county.  Other employees are employed in managerial and support roles based mainly at Service Headquarters.

The Challenge 

NFRS had the internal expertise to produce high quality and engaging eLearning.  What they did not have was a modern, attractive and easy to access platform to deliver their in-house learning packages. They required a new platform that would guide users to the appropriate programmes and increase user engagement within courses.

It was key to attract learners to the system as opposed to forcing them to use it.  A main design driver was to have a simple learner journey for quicker access to key modules.

A change in operational equipment was used as the catalyst to adopt a new platform and to ensure staff completed the eLearning designed to support the rollout of new Breathing Apparatus, used in fire-fighting by all frontline firefighters.  

The challenge was to deliver the new eLearning platform on time, in a finished bespoke format that the users could access and use their digital packages without any significant software failures.

NFRS Theme Design

What we did

Synergy Learning provided an eLearning platform capable of hosting all organisational digital learning packages.  A platform was created where all users had access from launch and the eLearning packages and mandatory knowledge checks taken by the fire fighters gave senior management and training colleagues the confidence and insight, that staff had learnt their safety critical competencies for the breathing apparatus equipment.

In addition Synergy Learning and the Totara Learn platform allowed NFRS to:

  • Track and record all digital learning activity within the e-learning platform.
  • Provide robust reporting functionality on data around user completion of digital learning packages.
  • Allow users to access NFHSLearn by a range of digital devices
  • Encourage users to access and use social collaborative learning tools
  • Make course content and guidelines accessible
  • Compatibility with relevant IT based systems used within NFRS
  • Provide digital learning for 850 users.



The new Totara Learn eLearning platform, called NFRSLearn, was delivered on time by Synergy Learning, six weeks from project kick-off.

This allowed NFRS to utilise NFRSLearn to provide the digital learning materials as planned to support the multi-million new equipment programme.

Since this major deliverable for the organisation, NFRS have:

  • Improved engagement with an uptake of 750 users and 3500 course completions within the first 4 months
  • User engagement was a key requirement from the outset and this was achieved in shortening the steps to access the learning for all users.
  • Rolled out 30 major eLearning packages through NFRSLearn to meet operational training and professional development as well as individual learning.
  • Worked to develop and amend the learning platform to keep it fresh and interesting due to the user friendly design features in the Totara Learn platform.
  • NFRS are now showcasing mobile content through the platform to allow remote access to packages by mobile phones away from work.

Fire & Rescue elearning case study

Overall Synergy Learning created a user friendly learning environment which improved quality, efficiency and effectiveness of learning at NFRS.

What they said

What impressed us about Synergy Learning was a can do attitude from the start. The design team worked hard to understand our requirements and went the extra mile to be as proud of the site, as we are.

The site functions well, the users have adopted it and are getting actively involved in the development, which is a great direction to be heading in.

Since go live, we have not had any software failures with the platform and the Totara product has proven to be very robust.  Not having to carry out remedial work on the platform has meant that we have been able to fully concentrate on delivering quality eLearning material through NFRSLearn. The new platform has done what we wanted it to do from day one.

Richard Heffer, Training Delivery Manager, Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service


If you would like to speak to Synergy Learning about how we can help your elearning strategy, please contact info@synergy-learning.com or call us directly on +44 (0) 28 9042 2000.

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