Case Studies

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust Built a Custom Digital Academy with eThink Education 

By December 3, 2020 No Comments

About the Tavistock & Portman 

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is a specialist mental health trust 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.

Goals & Challenges 

The Trust has a reputation for quality education and training provision that is recognisably 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 organisation and raise awareness of the Tavistock brand in national and international markets.

Digital Academy course types include:  

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

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

Short Course: 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 Certificate: A year-long online course which 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 needed a flexible 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 Tavistock and Portman also wanted their platform to clearly align with the style and branding of their Digital Academy and be flexible enough to integrate with a variety of third-party tools and services. It was important to find a platform that truly felt like a part of the wider Tavistock and Portman experience and embodied their professionalism, accessibility and distinctive approach as part of a high-quality online experience.   


Fully-Managed Moodle Platform by eThink Education 

The Tavistock and Portman chose to work with eThink, a Certified Premium Moodle Partner, to create a fully-managed Moodle platform for their Digital Academy. Open-source Moodle provides The Tavistock and Portman with the utmost flexibility due to its agnostic nature and ability to support a variety of different content types, plugins, and integrations. With eThink’s high-level of eLearning expertise and unlimited LMS support model, The Tavistock and Portman received the guidance they needed to create their first digital learning platform and can count on eThink’s help to maximise their platform moving forward. 

AWS Cloud Hosting 

As an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Technology Partner, eThink Education hosts The Tavistock and Portman’s Digital Academy on AWS, the leading cloud platform. eThink uses AWS hosting because it offers a stronger foundation for future innovation, ultimately providing The Tavistock and Portman with more agility in how they’d like to make changes to their learning programme down the road. eThink’s AWS hosting provides a secure cloud services environment that offers compute power, database storage, content delivery, and other functionality that will help The Tavistock and Portman scale and grow their Digital Academy in the years to come. 

Customised Look & Feel 

eThink worked alongside The Tavistock and Portman’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, eThink tailored the Digital Academy site to include Tavistock and Portman colours, images, and logos to present a consistent and branded image across the site that would be recognisable to external learners. To achieve this, the eThink team used a highly customised 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 The Tavistock and Portman.   

The Digital Academy login page.

Examples of Digital Academy courses.

Integrations & Plugins 

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

Integration Plugin 

The Tavistock and Portman’s Moodle site uses eThink’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 

eThink configured a Single Sign-On (SSO) system for The Tavistock and Portman’s site, allowing users to be authenticated with the same credentials they use for other internal systems.  


eThink integrated the EBSCO digital textbook system into the Digital Academy platform so that readings can be assigned by trainers and learners can interact with the eBooks directly from their Moodle site.  


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


eThink worked with The Tavistock and Portman to run a detailed accessibility audit to ensure their site met all the necessary accessibility requirements, and allow all learners to comfortably navigate the Digital Academy site. 


eThink worked with The Tavistock and Portman to create the reports they needed. eThink continues to be available to design new reports as needed based on The Tavistock and Portman’s changing requirements.    


Consistent Site Branding 

eThink’s customised Moodle site, which incorporated branding guidelines from The Tavistock and Portman, 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’s trusted name.   

A Future-Proofed Digital Academy 

eThink’s unlimited service model allows The Tavistock and Portman to maximise the potential of their Moodle site for years to come. At no additional cost, The Tavistock and Portman can make changes to their site as needed and consult with the eThink team to understand what trends they should be aware of, as well as what learning tools could best help them to reach their goals.  

With the training eThink offers, The Tavistock and Portman team are equipped to effectively teach, manage courses on the platform, and track their learners’ progress throughout the learning programmes. Additionally, with the added flexibility of eThink’s AWS cloud hosting infrastructure, The Tavistock and Portman can confidently scale their site as the Digital Academy expands in the future to incorporate more learners and clinical facilitators.   

Conclusion & Future Goals 

With the launch of their new Digital Academy, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is now able to provide a distinctive digital programme. In eThink, The Tavistock and Portman has a partner that will help them to optimise their platform as they continue to shape and scale their Digital Academy.

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