I just got back from the Brandon Hall Innovations in Learning conference.
In one of the presentations, the presenter talked about how ineffective PowerPoint was for learning. The irony of course was that he was using PowerPoint to teach this. It’s not the first time I sat through a PowerPoint session where the presenter was telling me that PowerPoint is ineffective for training.
PowerPoint is still the dominant tool of choice for many in our industry and for good reason. It’s accessible and easy to use. And since it is so widely used in most organizations, it’s easy to convert subject matter content into an effective elearning course.
PowerPoint gets a bad rap because there are a lot of bad PowerPoint presentations. Some of the blame rests on the default template settings, however more has to do with poor instructional design.
Here’s how I approach PowerPoint so I don’t fall into the bullet point trap.
Drop the Bullet Point Templates and Start with a Blank Screen
Look at the images above. Do you notice any similarities? They all have a blank screen.
Once you step away from the bullet point look, you open up all types of possibilities that extend beyond the typical PowerPoint slide shows. For example, you can create branched scenarios, flash animations, and even nice graphics. Click on the links below to see some quick examples.
- Branched scenario using PowerPoint’s hyperlinks
- Flash animation slide created by the PowerPoint Expert Club (Korean site)
- Custom graphics using PowerPoint
Here is the PowerPoint file for you to download and see how it looks before publishing.
PowerPoint for E-Learning is More Than Just Online Slide Shows
There are a lot of people who are confused about using PowerPoint for elearning. Many still think it just means straight PowerPoint to Flash slide show conversion that gives you elearning courses limited to click-and-read, bullet point slides.
What makes an elearning course effective isn’t the authoring tool as much as it is the person who designs the course. That means a creative instructional designer can use PowerPoint coupled with a rapid elearning tool to build very effective elearning courses.
Today, good rapid elearning software can handle most of the multimedia that you can put in a course. Thus, it’s easy to step away from basic PowerPoint to Flash slide show conversion and instead create a very compelling multimedia experience. And you can do so quickly and at a reduced cost.
In fact, just to show you what you can do, I built this mini demonstration in just a couple of hours. I used PowerPoint as my authoring environment and included a variety of media. I was able to build this with no advanced programming skills.
If this can be done in just a couple of hours, what could you do when given a project with clear objectives, the freedom to add more than just bullet points, and a dose of your own creativity?
Upcoming E-Learning Events
- August 3 & 4 (Seattle, WA). Connect with your peers in the Pacific Northwest and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. SOLD OUT.
- September 20-21 (Dallas, TX). Connect with your peers in Texas and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
- October 12-13 (Vancouver, BC). Connect with your peers in British Columbia and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
- November 1 & 2 (London). Articulate Roadshow. Details coming soon.
- November 4 (Dublin). Articulate E-Learning Workshop. 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.