The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for August, 2014


Articulate Rapid E-Learning  - pet peeves for elearning

Recently there was a great discussion in the elearning community on pet peeves. As you review them, I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to quite a few. Here are a few that stood out to me:

Articulate Rapid E-Learning  - examples of pet peeves for elearning

My E-Learning Pet Peeve

There are a lot of things I’d like to improve with elearning but one of those things that bugs me most is when the client wants to lock the course navigation. And then when I ask why, it’s because they want to make sure that the person is getting all of the information.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning  - my pet peeve for elearning

I addressed this issue in a previous post. Locking online courses so that the learner “gets the information” is ridiculous. The only thing they’re getting is a headache and repetitive stress disorders as they rapidly click on the next button. Of course the case could be made that adding a slow narrator to the locked course helps slow down the rapidly clicking and in turn decreasing repetitive stress injuries.

The only way you know they GET the information is by having them show you how they use it. I prefer some sort of contextual activity where they apply what they’re learning to demonstrate their understanding of what they know.

Of course, some clients will still want to lock the course. That’s OK. Lock it at the decision points and not through the navigation controls.

So that’s my elearning pet peeve. What’s yours? Share it here.

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

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 e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - learn about fonts in these games

When building an elearning course there are three main considerations:

  • What content will be in the course?
  • What will it look like?
  • What will the learner do?

Most of the content in the course is text. And the look and feel of the course is also dependent on text. That’s because the text in your course serves two functions: it is what we read and it is a graphic that contributes a contextual look and feel.

How to Learn About Fonts & Typography

In today’s world there’s no shortage of free fonts. The challenge is learning more about them and how they’re best used in your elearning courses. And one of the best ways to learn about fonts is to play some games.

You’ll find a few different activities and games that help you learn more about fonts. But before you jump into the font games, let’s take a step back and think about games in general.

Since this blog focuses on elearning and courses design, look at these font games as if they were elearning courses. What do you like best? Are there things you can apply to your own courses? How do they engage the learning process?

Now onto the games.

Games to Help You Learn About Fonts

Spacing of letters in your words helps make the text easier to read. If you move letters too close together it’s hard to read. And if the letters are too far apart, it’s hard to discern distinct words. The spacing between letters also contributes to the font’s style.

KERNTYPE

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - learn about fonts using kerntype game

Kerntype helps you learn about kerning (spacing) by dragging letters and positioning them to look right. After you drag the letters, you compare your choice to the recommended solution.

I SHOT THE SERIF

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - learn about fonts using I shot the serif game

Fonts have different elements that make them unique. One of those elements are whether it has a serif or not. Can you spot the fonts with a serif? If so, take your best shot.

TYPECONNECTION

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - learn about fonts using the typeconnection game

In a previous post we discussed a few simple rules when selecting font pairs. The TypeConnection game takes it a step farther by letting you match two fonts and seeing how they pair up. It’s a great way to learn about what works and what doesn’t when using different type.

Which game did you enjoy most?

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

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 e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - what do you love and hate about e-learning

The infographic below shows the results of a recent survey we conducted on what people love and hate about elearning and online courses. I’ve included a few of my thoughts.

The E-Learning Industry is Hot!

The industry is growing like crazy. This is good because often the training people are the first to get cut when companies restructure. However, many of the emerging technologies and devices (like mobile apps) are centered on learning. Instead of training being the first group on the chopping block, today it plays a key role in the evolution of online courses and learning moving forward.

E-learning is still relatively new and many organizations are still making the move to online courses. The authoring tools offer plenty of capability, but the next step in the process is making all of these online courses effective. That’s where you come in.

What About Those That Take the Online Courses?

I routinely ask my friends and neighbors what types of online courses they take at work and how they feel about it. Usually the feelings are mixed. They tend to find the online courses boring, but prefer them over going to a class.

The survey shows that most people want relevant content and almost as many prefer decision-making scenarios. One value of elearning is its flexibility to the organization and the learner. However, too often we focus on pushing content out efficiently and lose sight of the other benefits of elearning. However, online courses can be so much more than a bunch of screens of information. What can you do to change that?

What Do YOU Love and Hate About E-Learning?

Share one thing you really like about elearning and one thing you don’t like. Here are a couple of my thoughts.

What I like:

I like that I am part of an evolving industry. Things are changing fast. When I first started we were using overhead transparencies and 35mm slides. Today, not only do the online course creators have more options, but so do those who participate. Virtually everyone carries a small production studio with them at all times via their smart phones and tablets. It’ll be cool to see more of those capabilities integrated with learning and the online courses created.

What I don’t like:

The thing I don’t like about elearning is that the organizations that purchase the software don’t commit adequate resources to help their staff build better online courses. Many of the people I meet stumble into elearning from a more traditional training background. Thus they need more than the software to get up to speed. They also often don’t get a budget or resources to create the appropriate assets like graphics and other media. This just sets them up for failure and perpetuates a lot of the negative feelings people already have about online courses.

That’s what I love and hate. What about you?

love-e-elarning

Click to learn more.

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

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 e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - record audio narration tips & tricks

Many of you are course designers thrown into the role of elearning developer. And part of developing elearning is recording audio narration. Unfortunately most of us aren’t audio engineers.

In fact, we tend to have limited audio capabilities. For example, most of us have relatively inexpensive microphones, no dedicated recording environment, and limited technical skills. On top of that, we’re pressed for time and need to get the audio recorded quickly.

Audio Narration Setup

In this week’s challenge David asked people to share their audio set up and a few tips on recording audio narration. This is a good challenge because it’s a great way for people to show the different ways they record audio narration.

You’ll see that some have more polished setups and others work with strict limitations like a simple headset microphone and a noisy office cubicle. Check out what’s been shared thus far. You’ll find some really good tips.

Here’s my take on the challenge and a few quick tips.

Home Office Audio Narration

Generally I try to work with the same restrictions that many of you have, so I don’t have an overly fancy audio set up at home where I work. I started with a Samson C01U which was relatively inexpensive and worked fine for what I needed. But I was able to trade up as we brought on more community team members. I gave my Samson to Nicole and upgraded to a Samson C03U. I ended up giving that microphone to Nicola (our German Community Manager) and took David’s Yeti Pro that he was not using. The links to Amazon mics may produce a slight commission.

The secret there is to hire people so you can handoff the old stuff and upgrade your own equipment.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - audio narration home office setup

I also traded my Wacom tablet to David for the O.C. White Boom which you can see in the picture above. I like the boom because it’s easy for me to swing the microphone in and out of the way when I don’t need it. You can buy a boom for about $200, but I’ve seen some good examples of people converting lamp stands. That might make a nice weekend project.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - make your own mic stand for audio narration

You’ll notice that I don’t have any sound dampening or a pop filter. I recently moved and my new office room has a little echo. I also use a portable air conditioner. That does impact the recording quality. I can turn off the AC which is fine when it’s not too hot. But if it does get hot, I’m just replacing the steady hum of the AC with the sound of sweat dripping off my bare chest. Either way, it requires some post edit.

Mobile Office Audio Narration

When I’m on the road I may have to record a quick tutorial or do a webinar. I try to travel light and don’t want to bring a bunch of audio equipment so I have a lightweight Samson Go Mic. I really like it. I also bring a cheap Plantronics headset mic because I use it to show the differences between a headset and desktop microphone.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - audio narration mobile office setup

When I do record, I find the hotel room is usually fine. In fact, they are usually sound proofed so I don’t get a lot of echo and outside sound.

Audio Narration Tips & Tricks

I recorded a test with the three microphones I use. I recorded them at the same time in the same environment and I didn’t use any filters or sound dampening. The microphones were just plugged in and I recorded. This gives you a pretty good sense of the audio quality without any fancy setup or post production.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - compare microphones for audio narration

Click here to view the microphone comparison.

  • Your best audio is the audio you record first. You can do some post production to enhance the audio, but you can’t make bad audio good. So work on getting a clear sound with little ambient noise.
  • Get your mouth as close to the microphone as you can without pushing the audio levels too high. I usually put the microphone next to my mouth so I am not breathing into it.
  • Record about 30 seconds of no narration. This lets you record the ambient sound and then filter that sound out. You can do that with many of the audio editing tools.
  • Find a way to dampen the sound. Cubicle walls are good for this. Perhaps you can find a few extras to use. I’ve seen people put small boxes around their mics and then put foam in the box. I’ve also seen people record with a blanket over their heads. Perhaps there’s a market for an audio narration burka.
  • Cover distracting ambient noise with a soundtrack. Sometimes you can’t easily hide the AC or other ambient noise. In those cases try adding an audio soundtrack like some soft music to the background. You don’t want it too loud, just slightly perceptible. Make sure you have rights to the audio used. Also it’s better to use music than a song with lyrics.
  • Don’t stress about it. Most people who listen to your courses are listening through those crappy headphones that their employer provides or some basic computer speakers. They’re definitely not in a Hollywood studio with THX sound. As long as you get good crisp narration, that’s probably OK for many of your co
    urses. So relax.

Audio Narration Resources

Here are some additional tips to help with recording your audio narration:

Do you have some tips and tricks? Why not jump into the challenge?

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

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 e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.