How the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust Built a Custom Digital Academy With Open LMS

Read all about how The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust worked with eThink Education, now a part of Open LMS, to build a custom digital academy to suit its training needs.

About the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is a specialist mental health trust in the UK, focused on psychological, social, and developmental approaches to understanding and treating emotional distress, disturbance, and mental ill health, and promoting mental health. It has a national and international reputation based on excellence in service delivery and clinical innovation, high-quality clinical training, and workforce development. The Trust combines patient services, research, and consultancy with a national brief for training in mental health professions, social care, and forensic services. For 100 years, the Tavistock and Portman clinics have embodied a distinctive way of thinking about and understanding mental distress, mental health, and emotional wellbeing.

The Goals & Challenges

The Trust has a reputation for quality education and training provision that is recognizably distinctive and valued, and growth in student numbers in recent years has demonstrated encouraging levels of interest in the Trust’s educational provision. However, there was demand for the training beyond what could be satisfied by a face-to-face delivery model. The Digital Academy project was developed to meet this demand and provide a broader educational offer to learners both nationally and internationally.

The Digital Academy offers online-enabled products in a variety of high-demand subject specialisms for which the Trust is well known. The aims of the initiative are to:

  • Widen access to The Tavistock and Portman’s courses, expertise, and learning model
  • Build internal capacity and knowledge in online teaching methods and pedagogical design
  • Generate additional revenue for the organization and raise awareness of the Tavistock brand in national and international markets

Digital Academy Courses

The Digital Academy course types include:

Masterclasses: An hour-long, live-streamed presentation, conversation, or panel discussion on specialist and topical areas of interest, led by senior Trust clinician-trainers.

Mini Courses: A five-hour-long, self-directed subject introduction course with engaging online content produced by The Tavistock and Portman’s experienced clinical educators.

Short Courses: A 20-hour course completed with a cohort and an assigned tutor through a virtual learning environment. The course includes a combination of online learning materials, webinars, moderated discussion forums, peer-based tasks, and live Q&A.

Trust Certificates: A year-long online course that introduces the key concepts of the subject and provides the core knowledge for progression onto a higher-level qualification, including online theory lectures, reading seminars, discussion seminars, readings, self-reflective journaling, and more.

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust needed a flexible training platform that could meet the varying needs of the different course styles by supporting a mix of live and self-paced courses and large amounts of supporting content. The Trust also wanted its platform to clearly align with the style and branding of its Digital Academy and be flexible enough to integrate with a variety of third-party tools and services. It was important to find a learning platform that truly felt like a part of the wider Tavistock and Portman experience and embodied the organization’s professionalism, accessibility, and distinctive approach as part of a high-quality online experience.

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The Solution

Fully-Managed Moodle™ Platform

The Trust chose to work with Open LMS, an experienced Moodle™ provider, to create a fully-managed Moodle™ platform for its Digital Academy. Open-source Moodle™ provides The Tavistock and Portman Trust with the utmost flexibility due to its agnostic nature and ability to support a variety of different content types, plugins, and integrations.

With Open LMS’s high level of eLearning expertise and unlimited LMS support model, the Trust received the guidance it needed to create its first digital learning platform and can count on Open LMS’s help to maximize its platform moving forward.

AWS Cloud Hosting

With its Amazon Web Services (AWS) Education Competency status, Open LMS hosts The Tavistock and Portman Trust’s Digital Academy on AWS, the leading cloud platform. Open LMS uses AWS hosting because it offers a stronger foundation for future innovation, ultimately providing the Trust with more agility in how it would like to make changes to its learning program down the road.Open LMS’s AWS hosting provides a secure cloud services environment that offers computer power, database storage, content delivery, and other functionality that will help the Trust scale and grow its Digital Academy in the years to come.

Customized Look & Feel

Open LMS worked alongside The Tavistock and Portman Trust’s online learning partner, Pearson, to determine the Moodle™ theme and design that would provide a consistent look and feel. Using theme configuration options in Moodle™ as well as some custom CSS changes, Open LMS tailored the Digital Academy site to include the Trust’s colors, images, and logos to present a consistent and branded image across the site that would be recognizable to external learners. To achieve this, the Open LMS team used a highly customized version of the Fordson theme, which provided a clean, corporate look and feel to the site and incorporated Digital Academy branding guidelines provided by the Trust to design a completely unique user experience (UX) for users.

The Digital Academy login page

Open LMS case study The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust login screen

Examples of Digital Academy courses

Open LMS case study The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust digital academy example
Open LMS case study The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust course example

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Integrations & Plugins

Open LMS’s experienced team of LMS experts helped to integrate a variety of plugins for The Tavistock and Portman Trust and counseled the organization on other tools that may improve the platform for learners and administrators. The Trust’s Moodle™ site includes integrations with:

Integration Plugin

The Trust site uses Open LMS’s Integration Plugin which allows Moodle™ to connect to a central student information system (SIS) to pull data regarding users, enrolments, and courses to create an automated setup.

Single Sign-On

Open LMS configured a Single Sign-On (SSO) system for the Trust’s site, allowing users to be authenticated with the same credentials they use for other internal systems.


Open LMS integrated the EBSCO digital textbook system into the Digital Academy platform so that trainers can assign readings and learners can interact with the eBooks directly from their Moodle™ site.


Open LMS configured and integrated Zoom into the Trusts’s platform via the Zoom LTI so that the web conferencing tool could be incorporated throughout courses for synchronous lectures, course meetings, and more.


Open LMS worked with the Trust to run a detailed accessibility audit to ensure that its site met all the necessary accessibility requirements, and allow all learners to comfortably navigate the Digital Academy site.


Open LMS worked with the Trust to create the reports it needed. Open LMS continues to work with the Trust to design new reports as needed based on the Trust’s changing requirements.

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The Results

Consistent Site Branding

Open LMS’s customized Moodle™ site, which incorporated branding guidelines from the Trust, resulted in the Digital Academy platform having a clear and easily navigable design. Learners can easily locate their courses and related assignments within the Moodle™ site and custom branding attributes make it clear that these courses are associated with The Tavistock and Portman Trust’s trusted name.

A Future-Proofed Digital Academy

Open LMS’s service model allows The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust to maximize the potential of its Moodle™ site for years to come. The Trust can make changes to its site as needed and consult with the Open LMS team to understand what trends it should be aware of, as well as what learning tools could best help the organization reach its goals.

With the training Open LMS offers, the Trust team is equipped to effectively teach, manage courses on the platform, and track its learners’ progress throughout the learning programs. Additionally, with the added flexibility of Open LMS’s AWS cloud hosting infrastructure, the Trust can confidently scale its site as the Digital Academy expands in the future to incorporate more learners and clinical facilitators.


Conclusion & Future Goals

With the launch of its new Digital Academy, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is now able to provide a distinctive digital program. In Open LMS, the Trust has a partner that will help it to optimize its platform as it continues to shape and scale its Digital Academy.

Note: A version of this case study originally appeared on the eThink Education blog. eThink is now part of Open LMS and some details of the case study have been updated accordingly.

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Jeremy Schweitzer
About the author

Jeremy Schweitzer

Product Manager at Open LMS

Senior leader in education technology with a proven track record of supporting enterprise clients. My team develops and implements learning solutions that support organizations’ strategic goals. As a former systems administrator and instructional designer, my technical knowledge and people skills drive a systems approach when I conduct needs assessments and design solutions. My focus is building sustainable options for my clients that are adaptive to evolving needs and challenges. In my current role with Open LMS, I work with three learning management systems building solutions for clients in higher ed, non-profit, government, and corporate sectors.

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