Discover how The irish hospice foundation is increasing the awareness about grieving in the workplace through online learning.


The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) works to ensure the best end-of-life and bereavement care, for all. From advocacy and education to vital services like Nurses for Night Care and their Bereavement Support Line, the IHF believe in the importance of dying well and grieving well wherever the place.

For this project, we were tasked to design and develop a brand-new suite of courses about “Grieving in the Workplace” to increase awareness for supporting people experiencing grief in diverse workplaces. In addition, one of the main goals was to empower managers and colleagues to be able to support staff who are grieving, and to help reduce the taboo around death and grieving.

Our award-winning team of Instructional Designers made this challenging subject matter, easy and accessible by using animated graphics, vibrant colours, and video materials in a meaningful way.

“Cobblestone understood the brief really well and they were able to add their creativity and knowledge of course design to very sensitive topics. They created a solution that translated a difficult subject matter to online learning, with an impressive use of our branding guidelines.”​


the result? see it by yourself:

Because every death matters, and we only have one chance to get it right, this suite of courses integrated 11 multifunctional micro learning modules, each of which covers different types of death, bereavement, and support techniques according to each case.

In each module it was extremely important to increase the awareness about grief in the workplace as part of staff wellbeing and mental health. Some of the courses focus on the benefits that employees, but also organisations, will obtain from having grief and bereavement policies and procedures in place.

Designing the learning programme

Our team of instructional designers reviewed the source materials provided by the Irish Hospice Foundation, identified what learners needed to do and created an online course that would prepare them for that.  

From the beginning of the project, we looked at how to communicate in a better way the diverse kinds of workplaces, death, and bereavement to make each course relatable to different people.

We used this insight as a focus to create the flow of each course and author the content. We also used the ‘engage, study, practice, summarise’ model as a basis for our learning design. For example, in the module “The Nursing Home and Workplace Grief” we applied our learning model in the following way:



To provide a quick snap-shot introduction, we created an animated explainer video to inform learners of what the course is about and why is it relevant.

We also introduced the differences between personal and professional grief and how these have an impact on how managers can support staff who are grieving.

This animated video is branded in line with the course, including voiceover, background music, and graphics to add clarity.




Each of the ‘Study’ elements in the course are concise and relevant to each learning objective.

In this case, we created  ‘Acknowledge, Validate, and Support’ flip cards with speech bubbles and different examples of helpful things to say to someone who is grieving in a nursing home.

The interactive nature of the content allows learners to better engage with and retain the information presented.



Multi-stage Scenarios with ‘what would you do?’ questions and a final summary were provided as practice pieces that connected the learning to real-life example situations. ​

With the narrative and illustrations we aimed to engage with the learners, so they keep connected with the story and make conscious decisions.

Additionally, this format was a great way to condense large chunks of the source material into concise and engaging learning experiences.



As a final round up at the end of the course, we incorporated ‘Summary’ elements as feedback to the scenarios and knowledge check questions.

This provides a mechanism for learners to check their comprehension and consolidates the key points from the learning material.

In addition, the IHF contact information was added at the end in case the learner or their organisation are in need of more support.  

“Cobblestone really understood our message and interpreted it with sensitivity and creativity”


Authored with ELUCIDAT

We acknowledged how important it was to IHF for us to deliver a high-standard and interactive learning solution for this subject matter, so we used Elucidat to bring this project to life. Elucidat provides a more fluid, scrolling web experience, rather than a series of PowerPoint style slides. ​

Throughout the course, we provided accessibility features for all learners, as well as making the content adaptable for mobile, tablet, and personal computers. ​This flexibility around screen size allowed us to display the content more logically, using as many interactive elements on each page as are needed. ​


Other benefits include:​

  • Use of mobile-friendly HTML5​
  • Runs in any web browser ​
  • Can display embedded and externally hosted media (e.g. video) ​
  • SCORM 1.2/2004 and xApi compliant, so can be deployed on a wide range of Learning Management Systems ​
  • Complies fully with WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards. ​

Instructional design with a purpose

The IHF partners with many organisations to help them develop diverse grief and bereavement policies and procedures. One of the most important strategies is to help employees understand how they can be supportive if one of their colleagues is experiencing a loss.

To create case studies that learners can relate to, the IHF drew on real-life examples of employees coping with grief in the workplace. This helped us to create tailored scenarios, where learners could select diverse options according to the case they are presented with.

The scenario shown here combined elements from several different case studies and was a vehicle to present further useful content in the feedback to the questions and the summary dropdowns.​



Bespoke feedback 

These activities need conscious decision making and active participation from learners, and according to their choices, they obtain customised feedback.


"It’s been fantastic working with Cobblestone on this. It’s really great to see our brand design being used so effectively in the courses.”

-Lynne Murtagh​. Head of Marketing & Communications​ at IHF

Learning that Delivers results


An eLearning course of this subject matter was never created before, so it has received extremely positive feedback; one senior member of a higher education institute commented that they “wish [they] had this years ago.”

With the aid of these online learning courses many workplaces, managers and employees will have a better understanding of grief and how to support colleagues who are grieving.

"The work is really high quality, and so creative. Cobblestone have added so much value with the course design."

-Breffni McGuiness​. National Bereavement Development Specialist​ at IHF.

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