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Digital education

A new XERTE theme?

22 June 2017

Over the last few months, with help from learning technologists in a number of schools, the CEI have been developing a new theme for XERTE and an accompanying good practice guide.

The aim of this work is to overcome the two barriers that we hear about most when it comes to the adoption of XERTE:

  • Understanding of all the different page types and which ones to use
  • Various frustrations with aesthetics compared to other authoring tools

To do this, our theme (when used with the good practice guide) will:

Promote a content focused approach

The good practice guide that accompanies the theme can be used to choose the most appropriate page type for the type of content you want to display.  It will then help you to configure the page type if necessary.  Creators will be encouraged to focus on their content, the interactions that the learner will have, and breaking their content up into appropriate sections.

Maintain accessibility

The theme maintains the built in XERTE accessibility functions and is currently reviewed outside of the team from an accessibility perspective.

Require no coding by the creator

Creators should never have to look at a line of code if they don’t want to.  The design of the theme allows creators to use mark-up styles from the drop-down menus to re-style their content within a range of different options.

This also promotes the creation of sustainable learning objects that can be edited by anyone with experience of using XERTE.

Present a reduced set of page types

During the development of the theme we have chosen around 30 of the available page types that we think are the most useful, straight forward, and easy to configure.

What does it look like?

This image gallery shows some work in progress screenshots of the theme being used for a couple of different functions.

How can I try it?

If you are interested in testing the theme, please get in touch with us at

What are the next steps?

These is a lot more testing to be done.  Once the theme is ready it will be available in the drop down menu and more information will be provided on how to use it alongside the good practice guide.