Surf Life Saving Australia

Surf Life Saving Australia uses etrainu LMS to increase community learning platform adoption by modernising accessible learning and automating workflows for better administration.

Reimagining a custom LMS to strengthen learning and community

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) is Australia’s peak coastal water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority. With 181,603 members and 315 affiliated Surf Life Saving clubs, SLSA represents the largest volunteer movement of its kind in the world.

SLSA was faced with the problem of user adoption of their learning platform. So to increase adoption SLSA engaged etrainu to assist with modernising the learning management solution for enhanced accessibility and automating workflows for better administration.

etrainu was able to deliver a customised product solution for SLSA that has grown SLSA’s active user base from 12,000 in 2015 to over 50,000 in 2021. This helps align with the national body, which is able to offer members a seamless product.


Emergency Services and Sport



Number of Employees


Product Used

Customised LMS

"We have developed a great partnership with etrainu, and their understanding of our organisation is evident in all our dealings with them. We appreciate their patience in ensuring that we are always satisfied with the end product, which is reflected in our course completion rates and member feedback."

Pamela Simon
National Learning and Development Manager


Building a successful eLearning platform for user adoption

The previous LMS that SLSA was using was not a positive experience for both administrators and users, and had poor data accessibility for reporting purposes. The manual administrative burden on volunteers was high, and there was no integration to Surfguard, their membership platform.

As such, the LMS had poor user adoption, and was expensive compared to the value it delivered. SLSA members wanted high quality and easily accessible eLearning, and as the national body, SLSA wanted to set the standard for education.

In terms of content, only the Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC) and Bronze Medallion (BM) existed in the previous LMS.


Learners Enrolled


Courses Enrolled


Mobile Users


Choosing etrainu to increase community learning platform adoption

The etrainu LMS proved to be an immediate uplift to the previous platform; its intuitive look-and-feel was more modern, and the system allows for reporting groups and categorisation of content, making the data more easily accessible. 

Over time, etrainu has also:

  • Integrated the LMS with Surfguard for more enriched member data.
  • Launched an Assessor App to remove manual data entry by administrators and provide on-the-spot updates to user progression.
  • Migrated SLSA to its own instance in July 2021, providing a more stable platform for the large SLSA user base and custom feature development.
  • Re-built a number of courses on the partner authoring tool, Chameleon, which is modern and mobile-responsive, thereby reducing the time it takes the etrainu Studio team to produce courses.
  • Rolled out a number of platform enhancements, which has helped with user experience and administrative functionality.

An incredibly customisable LMS

The platform is incredibly customisable and SLSA has grown its active user base from 12,000 in 2015 to over 50,000 in 2021, through a combination of organic growth and some of the state bodies also using etrainu to deliver localised programs. This helps align with the national body, which is  able to offer members a seamless product.

The integration between the LMS and Surfguard has allowed for a single customer view, providing administrators with immediately accessible and accurate data. There are also multiple touch-points with members in the entire ecosystem. Their engagement with SLSA will change over time – it may even stop and restart – but etrainu is able to track and measure their key learning interactions so as to support member growth strategies.

Assessor App (developed with etrainu)

A few years ago, SLSA obtained government funding to assist in reducing the burden of paperwork which their volunteers contended with. A major factor in this reduction was the development of the Assessor App in conjunction with etrainu - an app which allowed assessors to enrol, assess and update Surfguard in a few straightforward steps.

The app also allows assessment events to be advertised to members via the etrainu LMS event calendar; members can then book into an event in advance. This not only saves time on the day, but allows clubs to properly forecast assessor and equipment requirements, and removes the reliance on random pieces of paper stuck on a surf club wall!

Assessors have at their fingertips the ability to mark members as competent for practical components of their assessment. Previously, these results would have needed to be transcribed from paper to Surfguard which would often take longer than the actual assessment itself. By it all being done at point of capture and then updating SurfGuard immediately, this eliminates all manual data entry.

Administrators have a variety of options in setting up an event in terms of being able to specify maximum numbers, allow visitors from other clubs, etc.

While change can be difficult, particularly for some volunteers who have been operating in a similar fashion for many years and were required to re-learn a new system and trust that data wasn’t going to disappear, the uptake has been fantastic. The etrainu project team has been incredibly proud to lead SLSA and its States through the entire process, which started with a desire to make the lives of their volunteers easier.

To better illustrate the way the solution has grown with SLSA, we dug up some data from 2016-17 and 2020-21.

The number of members has more than tripled, demonstrating how the platform has handled organic growth. The surge in course enrolments shows that the organisational adoption and newly released courses keep engagement levels high.

An increase in mobile user sessions reflects how the average user wants to interact with training today - on-demand and readily accessible.

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