The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for May, 2015


Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free clip art no longer

A few months ago I wrote a post on Microsoft getting rid of free clip art. For those with a budget that probably wasn’t that big of a deal. But there are many who relied on the free assets that Microsoft provided, especially since they didn’t include just clip art.

Losing free clip art isn’t all bad news. There is some good news in all of this. A lot of the clip art was lame and negatively impacted many online courses and presentations. Not having it means we’ll need to get better at our design and learn a few new skills.

How to Find Free Clip Art

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free clip art search

Most online searches for “free clip art” produces very limited results and most of them are worse quality than the stuff Microsoft dumped. However, you may find some things you need. Here are a couple of free clip art sites:

Another option that I’ve mentioned before is to scavenge clip art images from older graphics programs. For example, often bookstores, office supply stores or computer stores will have discount bins where they sell out-of-date software. I look for multimedia creation software like greeting card makers. They usually have all sorts of assets. Be sure to read the EULA, though.

Switch from Free Clip Art to Free Vector Illustrations

If you change your search term from “free clip art” to “free vector images or illustrations” things change for the better. There are a lot more free images available and they’re more up-to-date in terms of visual style.

The challenge with free vector illustrations is how to edit them. Free clip art was easy because in PowerPoint you could always right-click and ungroup them for easy editing. That’s not the case with most of the free vector illustrations. You’ll need to use a software application to edit them.

Customizing Free Vector Illustrations

Most of the free vector illustrations include a bitmap output such as .png. That’s great for inserting them in your courses, but they’re not vector files and can only be edited like regular images. In that case you’ll need to learn to use an image editing program. If you don’t already own one, Paint.net is free and Photoshop Elements is inexpensive and more than enough to handle basic editing tasks.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free vector illustration software

The vector file formats are usually .AI or .EPS. Those need to be edited in a more complex application than PowerPoint. There are a few options out there, but for the most part it’s going to be Adobe Illustrator (which costs money) or Inkskape (a free opensource alternative).  The challenge is that they’re not necessarily intuitive applications so you’ll need to make an investment in learning how to use them.

I know very little about Illustrator, but I was able to fumble around and open an .EPS file and save the individual elements as .PNG graphics that I used for this free elearning template I shared a few weeks ago. With a little practice, basic editing is possible.

Inexpensive Alternatives to Free Clip Art & Vector Illustrations

Since I no longer have access to free clip art I had to make an investment in an image library. There are a plenty of options out there like iStock and ShutterStock, and most of them are fine.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - inexpensive stock images

But this does mean, I’ll have to learn more about working with vector images and get a bit faster editing regular images, as well. It’s on my schedule.

Create Your Own Images

There’s no reason you can’t create your own images. Here are a few ideas from previous posts:

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - illustrated character

If you’re interested, I’ll be in San Francisco presenting a workshop on how to create your own assets for your elearning courses. In it you’ll learn all sorts of practical tips and tricks.

Your Next Steps

  • Locate a good source for course images, whether free or not.
  • Learn to edit the images and illustrations.
  • Ask for a graphics budget to either create the images or hire someone more skilled to do it.
  • Take advantage of the free assets in the elearning community.

Elearning was a lot easier when everything was wrapped in the PowerPoint blanket. But that world is changing and we’ll need to change with it.

 

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.

 




build effective e-learning with this free e-book

I’m not sure you noticed but we just updated the Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro. The first edition of the free e-book was released in 2007, and as you can imagine a lot has changed in our industry. This new addition addresses some of those changes and offers more practical tips and tricks.

How Has E-Learning Changed?

In 2007, most of the options for creating interactive elearning required Flash. If you wanted to build courses, you were required to either learn Flash or hire a Flash programmer. That meant a lot of organizations were shut out of building their own elearning courses.

But along came the PowerPoint-to-Flash products. They enabled people to create their content in PowerPoint and convert it to the Flash. Essentially, each slide was converted to a Flash movie. Thus the non-programmer was empowered to create Flash-based courses at a fraction of the cost. They weren’t perfect, but they definitely were viable. I imagine that many of you seasoned elearning developers cut your teeth in a PowerPoint-based product.

PowerPoint e-learning and free e-book

These tools didn’t get their start in 2007. Articulate Presenter was around well before eHelp (one of the leading companies) was purchased by Macromedia that was purchased by Adobe. In fact, eHelp licensed Articulate Presenter for their own RoboPresenter product. So while all of this happened in the early 2000’s, rapid elearning and PowerPoint-based authoring didn’t really start to take off until around 2008 or so.

Today things are different. PowerPoint’s not as important to elearning because there are more advanced elearning applications like Storyline that let you do all sorts of things with PowerPoint ease and a host of form-based tools (like Engage) that only require copy and paste editing.

And we won’t even get started on the state of Flash. While it’s still viable, I don’t know many people working with it anymore and I think it’s been almost four years since someone’s asked me a Flash question.

As you can see, the industry has changed over the past seven years and the free e-book, Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro, has been updated to reflect that change.

What’s New in the Free E-Book?

When I wrote the first e-book I wanted to help people who were just transitioning to the elearning industry. Many of them had limited experience and were mostly working by themselves (or on small teams) and with limited resources. Today, things are a bit different.

free e-book for e-learning developers

The industry continues to grow. That means there’s an ongoing influx of new elearning developers mixed with the first generation of rapid elearning pros, who’ve mostly moved past PowerPoint-based authoring. The free e-book reflects this transition. Here are some of the key topics I’ve updated:

  • Tips and tricks on managing your success. Building a course is one thing, being successful doing it is another.
  • Learn to be a proactive partner to the organization. Don’t be an order-taker; learn to understand the organization’s needs and help them meet their objectives.
  • Understand the types of tools on the market. Many organizations make the mistake of creating a checklist of features to compare tools. But they disregard the types of tools on the market. The e-book discusses the pros and cons of the different types of products without looking at any one specific vendor.
  • Create interactive elearning courses. In 2007, if you were working with PowerPoint, your options were limited. Today, that’s not the case.
  • Save time and money by creating reusable content. One of my favorite features in Storyline is being able to build an interaction and then saving it as a template. This speeds up my production time and after a few projects, I end up with a tool chest of reusable content. You’ll learn a bit more on creating reusable content.

How Do You Get the Free E-Book?

free e-book for e-learning

Getting the free e-book is super easy. If you’re a current blog subscriber, the e-book is linked at the bottom of each post. That means all you need to do is scroll down and click on the download link. If you’re not a blog subscriber, you can get the free e-book here.

Download the free e-book and let me know what you think.

 

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 onboarding and employee orientation

I’m working on some practice content for an upcoming workshop and decided to share the template that is part of the workshop activities. It starts with a main image that has five distinct sections. Each section links to a series of slides with a few different layouts.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free onboarding and employee orientation template

Because the main image looks like an organizational overview, I think the template works great for a new hire orientation module. But you’re free to do with it as you wish.

In the template you’ll also find some extra slides with the people images and some props that I gleaned from the main image. Feel free to copy and paste them to create your own slides and scenarios.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free onboarding and employee orientation template assets

Here’s a quick mock-up I created using the new hire orientation template so you can see some of the layouts and perhaps get some ideas of how to add interactive elements to make the modules more interactive and engaging.

See the New Hire Orientation Template in Action

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free onboarding and employee orientation template example

Click here to view the elearning example.

Download the Free New Hire Orientation Template

Click here to download the new hire orientation template.

If you use the template let me know. I’d love to see what you create.

 

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.