The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for November, 2014


Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons & free e-learning template

One of the challenges I pose in our workshops is to create an elearning template using free resources like some of the free images and free icons you find online.

Free Icons for Your E-Learning Template

Here are three four good resources for free icons:

Create an E-Learning Template Using Free Icons

  • The first step is to find an icon style you like. Try to use icons from the same pack. Also, look for icons you can use for commercial use. And of course, give attribution to the creator. Here are a few ideas if you’re not sure how to give attribution in your courses.
  • Create a few screen layouts. The screen is a blank space. And there are only so many things you can put on the screen: text, shapes, media files, etc.
  • Create assets that work with the icons you’ve chosen. For example, if it’s an icon that is made of think black lines, than it makes sense to match the color and lines in the shapes you create for the slide.
  • Use the color picker to pick colors from the icons. This way your other assets are using the same colors. You can also create a custom color scheme based on the colors.

My Example of an E-Learning Template Using Free Icons

I chose the ballicon icons. There are 20 free icons via Nick Frost. He also sells a more complete pack for $19.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons via ballicons for the free e-learning template

Since the icons are a bit informal, light, and flat, I decided to go with a simple layout with a light wood background. To tie the icons and the other assets together I decided on a thicker white border on the assets.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons example e-learning template

I created all of the graphics in PowerPoint. Some of the graphics were easy because they are just simple rounded squares with the icons in them. However, others are combined shapes (something you can do starting with PowerPoint 2010).

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons example layouts for the free e-learning template

I also decided on using the diamond icon to represent course progress by awarding a diamond upon completion of each module. The map icon links to my progress screen which you can see in one of the screens above. I then saved the graphics I created as image files so I can use them in Storyline.

I also played around with a few ideas to add some interactive elements. For example, in the demo below you’ll see a simple click and reveal question/answer interaction.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons free elearning example

Click here to view the demo using free icons (Storyline).

Here are some free templates for your practice:

Here’s a PowerPoint version of the template to show you what’s in there.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free icons powerpoint example free e-learning template

Click here to view the PowerPoint version of the template.

If you need to learn to create a template or build off of the one provided, be sure to check out this blog post on the four essential tips. It includes some tutorials on creating a notebook and the process is the same.

If you’re limited to using free icons and other assets, then practice using them to create cohesive templates. Create your own shapes, layouts, and color schemes.

For those on holiday this week, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.

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 - tips and tricks to build online courses

I’ve just finished a number of workshops and capped it off with a session at Devlearn. It was a great time of meeting many of you and learning more about what you do.

As always I get a bunch of questions via email when I travel. Here are answers to frequently asked questions.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tricks to build online courses interactive video

I don’t have a large budget or a lot of time, but I’d like to use more video in my courses. Is there an easy way to do this?

Yes. Years ago producing video was expensive and labor-intensive. Today, many of us have smart phones to record and even edit video. Videos don’t need to be big productions.

Once you have a video, it’s easy enough to add the video to your elearning courses and include interactive elements to create engaging and interactive video courses.

At a workshop in Portland, Mike went outside and shot some video with his smart phone and then built this quick demo to show how easy it is to build interactive video courses.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tricks to build online courses example of interactive video

Click here to view interactive video demo.

Essentially video is just a media asset like a picture or shape. That means you can leverage the branching, triggers, or other interactive features to make the video as interactive as you like.

While Mike’s video example is simple, it could easily be a role-played scenario with decisions that branch to additional video scenarios. Building the structure for this in Storyline only takes a couple of minutes and then can be reusable and only requires swapping video and changing the text.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tricks to build online courses another example of interactive video

This post has a couple of simple examples and quick tutorial to show it’s done.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tricks to build online courses Microsoft clip art

Question: I can’t find the Microsoft clip art, where did it go?

I get this question a lot. Microsoft made some changes to their online site. We discussed it in this blog post on finding free stock images.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tricks to build online courses what it looks like Microsoft clip art

Here’s an old search link that I have bookmarked on my browser toolbar. Disregard the “no results found message.” Just type in your search and you’ll see the older image search.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tricks to build online courses training workshop

Question: How do I get you to come to our area?

Usually the local ASTD, ISPI, or STC chapters contact me about doing workshops. You can connect with your local chapter and have them contact me. I am starting to do some Articulate-specific events. This year we went to Toronto, Denver, Minneapolis, and Boston. We’re working on events for next year.

If you’re interested in attending a workshop, I always have an updated list at the bottom of the week’s blog post.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tricks to build online courses free blog graphics

Question: Can I use some the graphics like the one below that you have in your blog posts?

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tricks to build online courses example elearning blog graphic

Yes, if I created the graphic you’re more than welcome to use it. Attribution is fine, but not necessary. If you aren’t sure, just connect with me.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tricks to build online courses 2

Question: What’s the number one tip you’d give based on the courses you see?

Here are two tips that are common solutions to much of what I see.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tricks to build online courses free applications

Question: See any cool apps or sites lately that work for elearning?

  • Clipping Magic is kind of cool and relatively simple. Many of us use graphics editors to remove backgrounds and Clipping Magic makes it really simple. It’s not free, but it does a great job.
  • Poladroid is one I’ve mentioned before on a post about free applications. It’s a gimmicky app with limited use, but recently I needed to create some Polaroid like images for a demo and it came in handy.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tricks to build online courses example Poladroid

  • Method Draw is a free vector editor that runs in your browser. It’s a simple app but more than adequate for simple vector drawings or editing.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips and tric ks to build online courses travel tips

Question: Do you have any hotel travel tips?

Ok I added that question because there are two things that bug me when I travel: clothes irons and coffee. In Boston, the hotel iron spit a bunch of rust onto my shirt and the last few hotels I’ve stayed in didn’t have coffee in the room.

  • When I get to the hotel room, the first thing I check is the room’s iron and ironing board. The last thing you want to learn the day of an event is that the room is missing either or that they don’t work.
  • A lot of people make grilled cheese sandwiches and other food with the hotel irons. Or the irons have built up deposits that will stain your clothes. Run the iron over one of the hotel towels first.
  • If traveling to London, pack an ironing board. Every hotel I visited had an ironing board made for Barbie clothes. I know many in the U.S. are a little large but an 8” ironing board? Come on!
  • Most hotel coffee isn’t very good. That’s why I bring my Aeropress. With it I can make a great cup of coffee every time. And you can download some apps with different coffee recipes. Although be prepared to be strip searched at the airport. Apparently the Aeropress looks like a bong when it passes through the security scanner.

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 - free stick images

If you do a search online you’ll find all sorts of free assets like free stock images, icons, fonts and other media that work perfectly for your elearning courses. But often you find that free isn’t really free. Instead, free is free with strings attached.

One of my pet peeves is people who give away free assets and then only allow them to be used for personal use. I guess there’s a big demand for free stock images and free fonts for family use. While it’s the asset creator’s prerogative to attach strings, personally I find it kind of lame. Either it’s free or not. Why work to get eyes on your product and then create that sort of friction? However, if that’s the stipulation then we need to stick by it and respect the desires of the content authors. Mostly likely those resources won’t work for your project.

Another issue is that the free content comes with attribution requirements. That’s much better than free for personal use only. But it still creates some friction because the attribution requirement may conflict with your project.

How to give proper credit to the creator of the assets and still maintain a professional looking course is a challenge. Here are a few ways to attribute content to the asset creator.

Add Attribution Credits to the Image or Slide

  • Credits on the image. This is the easiest, but doesn’t always look good.
  • Credits as a caption. This is also easy and easy to template. It also creates consistency, but still can be a bit distracting.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - add attribution links to the image

The two options above are fine for school projects, but don’t look very professional. They also only allow for text descriptions and URLs. But no hyperlink to the creator’s site.

  • Mouseover credits as the person moves the mouse over the image the credits appear. They can be over the image or as a caption box and you can link to the site.
  • Add credits and links at the bottom of the screen. This works but may look a bit busy and not many clients want to see a bunch of outside content in their course screens.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - add attribution links to the screen

Add Attribution Credits to the Course Player Tabs

  • Use the player’s resource tab. Change the resource tab to read “credits” and then add links to the sites. This is really easy and looks nice.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - add attribution links to the resource tab

  • Use Engage to create an “About” player tab. Add information about the organization and course developers. An additional section could be attribution for free resources with a link back.
  • Lightbox slides on player tabs. Create a custom slide and insert it using the lightbox feature. This lets you make it look any way you want and add any type of information and links back to the site.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - add attribution links as a lightbox slide

Personally I like the resource tab and lightbox options. The resource tab is simple and the lightbox means I can make the credit page look anyway I want. Icons8 allows this for their free content. You can find it in their licensing. And I’m sure most of the others would, too.

If you’re not sure, ask the source of the free content. I’ve found that often they’re happy that people are getting use out of the free assets and appreciate that I’ve even bothered asking. Often they’ve given me permission to use their assets. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Here’s a published version of the different ways to attribute the free resources if you want to see them in action.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - add attribution links example course

Click here to view the attribution demo course.

What do you do when you get free assets that require attribution? How have you attributed free content in your elearning courses?

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 - safety training images

In a recent blog post I featured a series of free images that work well for safety training. Quite a few blog readers asked how I customized the free images for the safety training demo I posted.

In today’s post, I’ll show you how to create your own safety training images using that same clip art style.

Download & Sort All of the Free Safety Training Images

Do a search for the safety training images and then download all of them to a single PowerPoint file. I sorted them by type of image so it’s easier for me to see what I have.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free safety training images

When I save images from a single style, I title the file “stylename.pptx” so that I know which style it came from. In this case, the file is saved as “Style401_Safety.pptx.”

Isolate Elements of the Free Safety Training Images

Whenever I work with clip art I not only look at the clip art for what it is, I also try to isolate individual assets. Here are some examples.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - examples of free safety training images

In the image above, I was able to separate distinct elements from the safety training images. I can possibly use these elsewhere in my safety training course.

In the following example, I was able to pull some icons out of the clip art. Then I created a colored shape that was the same size and added the icons to it so that I have icons that are the same size.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free safety training images customized

You can see that the shower icon was originally just a small element of the original clip art. I pulled it out, straightened it a bit, and swapped colors. Below are more examples of icons I created from individual elements in the original safety training clip art.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free safety training icons

Create Custom Pictographs for Safety Training Images

I needed a breathing/gas mask icon, but didn’t have one. So I created my own by using a different gas mask image and modifying it so it looks like it belongs to the same icon pack.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - customized safety training images

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - example of free safety training images

If you can’t find what you need, especially with safety training images, then create your own pictographs like the one above. They’re made up of a few simple shapes and easy to create.

Learn How to Create Free Safety Images with this Tutorial

Here’s a tutorial where I show some of the techniques I used to modify these safety training images.

Click here to view the tutorial.

Here’s a free download if you want to use the Storyline file to get started on your own modules.

Now it’s up to you to clean up these safety training images and use them in your on courses.

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.