The other day this guy asked me how to develop color schemes for his rapid elearning courses. Like a lot of guys, he has some issues with color perception so he wanted an easy way to match colors.
I have the same challenge. In fact, my wife’s probably getting annoyed with me always asking which shirts and pants match when I pack for the conference trips. It’s a good thing I can trust her. Otherwise, I might show up at the conference looking like a doofus in a leisure suit.
I shared some of the tools that I use for color schemes in previous posts like this one on creating your own rapid elearning PowerPoint template. I start by picking a color from the he image using Pixie. And then I take that color information to a site like Color Schemer to create a color scheme. That helps me have a consistent color scheme.
As I was searching previous posts to answer his question, I ran into a lot of the tools and sites that I’ve recommended in previous blog posts. So I thought that it might be a good idea to make a single list of some of the tools and sites like Pixie and Color Schemer that I’ve referenced before. So here’s a list of previously referenced tools and brief explanation of what they do.
Also, here’s a link to the 200 free rapid elearning tutorials I posted a while back.
- Samson Go Mic: I get lots of questions asking about a good mic for about $50. This is the one I use. [original post]
- Levelator: automatically adjust the audio levels in your narration. [original post]
- Audacity: free open source audio recording and editing software. [original post]
- Myna: easy-to-use online audio editor that includes a library of assets. [original post]
- Voice123 and Voices.com: find narrators for your elearning courses. [original post]
Creative Commons audio: good sites to get free audio for your courses. [original post]
- CCMixter, The Freesound Project, OpSound, Free Music Archive, and Jamendo
- Musicshake and TuneAround are free tools that let you easily create your own music and soundtracks.
- Screenr: free screencasting tool; great for tutorials and simple software demos. [original post]
- Preview Flash content on your computer: SWF Player and FLV Player [original post]
- LectureScribe: free tool that lets you create whiteboard style lectures and save as Flash. Here’s a demo. [original post]
- Windows Live Movie Maker: free and simple-to-use video editor. [original post]
- Format Factory: convert media from one format to another. [original post]
- Videomaker Magazine: great resource to learn video production tips. [original post]
- Kuler: site to create custom color schemes. [original post]
- Color Schemer: site to create color schemes. [original post]
- Photo Resizer: use this application to quickly resize images to a specific resolution. [original post]
- Image Tuner: resize, rename, and convert image formats with this free tool. [original post]
- Poladroid: quickly create images that look like they were taken with a Polaroid camera. [original post]
- Cartoonster: free tutorials that teach the basics of animation. [original post]
Image editing software:
- Paint.net: free image and photo editing software that probably does most of what you need for elearning. [original post]
- GIMP: free image editing and authoring software that give you more Photoshop-like power without the price. [original post]
- Picnik: web-based image editor. [original post]
- Aviary: web-based image editor. [original post]
- Artweaver: good for basic graphics editing. [original post]
- dafont.com: free and inexpensive fonts. Check the usage agreement. [original post]
- Fontcapture: free to create the fonts. [original post]
- YourFonts: $9.95 for custom fonts. [original post]
Stock Image Resources
- iStockphoto. You can find photos, illustrations, video clips, and some Flash files. [original post]
- Fotolio. Large selection and offers some free images if you complete a free registration. [original post]
- eLearning Art: free sample character pack of stock images. [original post]
- Fotosearch. Searches multiple sites. Also includes video, illustration, and audio clips. [original post]
- Stock.xchng: lots of free stock images. [original post]
- Flickr: creative commons images that you may be able to use in your courses. [original post]
The following sites were recommended by blog readers. [original post]
Writing & Reading Resources
- Copyblogger: the site is focused on writing for blogs but the ideas work for elearning courses, too; especially when it comes to creating learner-centric content. [original post]
- Windows Live Writer: this is what I use to write my blog posts. It’s free and works great. [original post]
- Making Change: Cathy Moore does a good job providing tips that will improve how you write for your courses and with your instructional design. [original post]
- Free Training Templates: Microsoft offers a number of free training templates that could serve as a starting point for beginning rapid elearning designers. [original post]
- Motion Path Tool: add-in to better manage animations in PowerPoint. [original post]
- PowerPoint Color Swatch: quickly create custom color themes in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010. [original post]
Community & Social Media Resources
- TED: there are a lot of very good videos; some relevant to learning and some just inspiring. [original post]
- Common Craft: great way to get an overview on many of the social media basics. They also do a great job presenting information; a good model for some courses. [original post]
- Vuvox: create interactive collages that you can insert into your elearning course, such as in this example. [original post]
- Feedly: a simple and fast way to browse your favorite sources. [original post]
- Netvibes: great way to create a custom home page and load it with the information you want quick access to like blogs that your follow. [original post]
- Dipity: create interactive timelines. Insert into your course using the web objects feature. [original post]
- ClusterURL: make free webpages using your browser’s tabs. Here’s a tutorial. [original post]
- Google Reader: use Google’s web-based feed reader to keep up with blogs and news. [original post]
- Dropbox: this is my favorite application. It makes it easy for me to sync across multiple computers and collaborate with others. [original post]
- Airdropper: easy way to have someone send files to you using your Dropbox account. [original post]
- Fences: keep your desktop clean by quickly hiding or displaying your icons and shortcuts. Great for screencasts and presentations. [original post]
- OneNote: by far one of my favorite applications to take notes. It integrates with Outlook and I have it synced across all of my computers using Dropbox. [original post]
- Evernote: great way to capture and document almost anything. Check out the Articulate Guru entry. [original post]
- Zoomerang: create free surveys [original post]
- Web2PDF: convert a website or blog to PDF. [original post]
- AlacrityPC: shut down unnecessary services and programs before you run a resource intensive application like multimedia authoring applications. [original post]
- ZoomIt: screen zoom and annotation tool for presentations that include application demonstrations. [original post]
- Survey Monkey: create free surveys and collect feedback. [original post]
- MindManager: this isn’t free, but a tool I use to create mindmaps of my scenarios which I can export to PowerPoint. [original post]
- 7-Zip: free application to zip and unzip files. I use it to unzip .pptx files. [original post]
- Karen’s Directory Printer: easy way to create a list of files and folders on your computer. [original post]
Hopefully you can use these applications when working on your courses. If there are some free resources you think should be on the list, feel free to share them in the comments section.
Upcoming E-Learning Workshops & Events (2015)
- September 23 & 24 (Vancouver). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more & register, click here.
- September 29 (Las Vegas). Want to learn to get the right look and feel for your courses? Join David Anderson and me for a fun and active hands-on workshop. This topic is by far one of the most popular of the ones we've covered in any of our workshops in the past.
- September 30 (Las Vegas). Going to Devlearn? Swing by the Articulate booth and say hello.
- October 28 & 29 (Philadelphia). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more and register, click here.
- November: Just added! I'll be in London, Dublin, Berlin, Paris, Belgium, and Utrecht. Details coming soon.
Free E-learning Resources
Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.
Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs
Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills
Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.