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Innovative eLearning for the British Armed Forces

The work described in this case study was performed by LEO Learning prior to becoming part of GP Strategies.


The Defence SERE Training Organization (DSTO) is the sole provider of critical survival training to all three military services (British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Airforce) which make up the British Armed Forces.

Survive, Evade, Resist, Extract, or SERE training, is required training for military personnel prior to overseas deployment. The training equips them with the critical survival techniques they need in the event they are isolated in hostile territory.

The Challenge

SERE training used to be delivered entirely face-to-face. The DSTO would train instructors to deliver SERE at their headquarters. These newly-trained instructors would then deliver the training as a five-day residential course at their respective units.

The challenge with training in this way was that the DSTO had limited visibility on the quality of training these instructors provided to military personnel. Alongside this, they were spending thousands of hours organizing and running the training.

To solve these challenges, the DSTO developed a new blended learning strategy to deliver SERE training. They approached LEO Learning with the challenge of translating days of face-to-face training into a concise, engaging and informative online learning experience.

Custom eLearning
Scenario-Based Learning
Video and Animation

The Solution

The LEO Learning team collaborated with the DSTO to create eight hours of online learning, split into six individual modules. With mixed reception from learners to previous online training, it was important to the DSTO that the new course featured a rich variety of content to keep learners engaged.

To meet that need, LEO Learning packed the modules with a range of innovative learning content, including:

  • Interactive video scenarios – to provide learners with a challenging way to test their knowledge and see the consequences of their actions
  • Virtual battle scenes (VBS) – to realistically represent hazardous situations
  • Interactive 3D models – to enable learners to see and interact with emergency communication devices
Course split into digestible chunks to maintain engagement
Powerful video scenario-based assessment
Use of new technologies to immerse learners

We wanted to push the levels of innovation we could achieve within the budget we had and LEO Learning helped us deliver that. For the military, this course is genuinely innovative. There are very few courses of this type, with this level of complexity.

Tim Laws, Training Development Advisor, DSTO


Now that SERE training is almost entirely online, the DSTO can ensure that military personnel, wherever they’re based, receive the same high-quality training. The DSTO also has far better visibility of the effectiveness of their learning. They can track who has completed the course and flag learners who require additional support by looking at assessment results.

The new online learning has enabled them to make significant efficiency savings and rapidly decrease the lead time from identifying when a unit needs to take the SERE training to them completing it.

Over 2,300 days saved (compared to the previous method of training)

1,500 learners completed the training since launch

Five days of residential training transformed into one day of engaging online learning and one day of follow-up face-to-face training

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