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Turning a social mission into an immersive online learning experience

by manifesto

3-minute read

Turning A Social Mission Into An Immersive Online Learning Experience

We created an online learning experience that ensures The Holocaust Educational Trust's core messages is lifted beyond the confines of a laptop screen


The Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) has delivered its ground breaking “Lessons from Auschwitz” course since 1991, teaching more than 40,000 young people from across the UK about the Holocaust.

Traditionally relying on in person interactions and spaces for Lessons from Auschwitz, in 2020 the charity began a digital transformation initiative to ensure this flagship project could continue to be widely available in a digital and remote age.

This project was the first time HET had ever digitised an offline experience, so it was really important for the team to feel empowered to make decisions throughout the course creation.


HET’s core focus is to help students understand why the Holocaust happened, that the people involved were real people, not just numbers, and that keeping conversations around the Holocaust alive will always be important.

The learning platform had to be educational, accessible, and — above all — offer a memorable learning experience. The charity wanted to treat this development as an opportunity to explore new and emerging technologies, with a focus on looking towards a future in which this digital platform, and these digital learning experiences, could complement in person projects.

Our team delivered a series of workshops to help HET define the course syllabus. Once the content strategy and design template were nailed down, we created a clear vision for the build. All design ideas were screen shared with HET, acceptance criteria was co-written with the charity, and we held training and demos to increase the educators’ skills and confidence. 

Designed for young learners, the virtual site visit embraces new ways of learning, with both self-guided and guided modules. Features include quizzes, “ask the educator” questions, integrations to further learning resources, end of module recaps, and interactive seminars with Holocaust survivors.

Internally, HET required a bespoke user interface for its management team, as well as a separate registration website to manage sign ups to the course. We, therefore, built a whole new workflow from the point of registration, all the way to application. The team also came up with a new logo, look and feel for the course which saw the team produce around 65 different design screens.


Our team delivered both HET’s registration site and learning platform in under six months. The charity has already enrolled more than 900 students for LFA Online. By managing expectations and not selling unrealistic visions, we effectively juggled factors such as time, people and cost despite the fast pace and deadline pressures.

I have never seen the Holocaust’s events humanised to such a degree.


Through a collaborative approach, engaging content, bespoke technology and eye catching design, HET has created an impactful online experience for its users. One participant said: "I've never seen the Holocaust’s events humanised to such a degree." Whilst students in mid-Wales, who were previously unable to physically travel to in person seminars, are now able to participate in the remote course.

The balance of creating educationally robust and historically rich content, while also pushing the boundaries of an online learning experience, ensured HET’s core messages were lifted beyond the confines of a laptop screen. One of the greatest successes is the way in which the platform has reduced barriers to access HET’s learning material and effectively extended the reach and influence of this charity and their important message.

The Lessons from Auschwitz course has since been shortlisted for a Lovie Award, and won the Leader of the Pack, Not for Profit Acquia Engage Award.