The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for September, 2015


The Internet is rife with free things, especially free stock image sites. However, there are usually three main issues with the free stock image sites:

  • The free stock images aren’t really free. For example, free is confined to “free for personal use.” This is great when I want to build elearning courses for my family’s safety training but pretty useless when I need to do anything work-related.
  • The free stock image sites are only there to point to for-pay stock image sites. You are enticed with free stock images, but when you click on the ones that look good, they turn out to be connected to a for-pay service.
  • Most of the free stock image sites are irrelevant. You’re building courses and not the montages for Soylent Green’s Home Centers. Thus, all of those beautiful shots of nature are mostly useless.

In this post, we’ll look at free stock images sire that are mostly free for commercial use. As far as relevance, I sorted them based on how I value them.

Free Stock Images in the Community

Of course, the elearning community has all sorts of free stock images. Here are some that I think work well for many elearning courses:

Free Stock Image Sites

Keep in mind that these types of sites are starting to gain popularity; so while some may not have a lot available right now, they will probably continue to grow and have more at a later date.

free stock image sites

Startup Stock Photos:

free stock image sites

Unsplash

free stock image sites

Picjumbo:

They do offer commercial services, but the images are free and I love the “test drive” option they offer for each image. Here are some searches that may help for elearning: desk, business, and workspace.

free stock image sites

Stokpic

free stock image sites

Gratisography

free stock image sites

Jay Mantri

free stock image sites

Jeshoots

free stock image sites

Life of Pix:

Desk and construction are nice collections.

free stock image sites

Magdeleine

Curated from other sites; do like the color filtering

free stock image sites

New Old Stock

A great resource of old public domain images via public archives.

free stock image sites

Public Domain Archive

free stock image sites

Kaboom Pics

free stock image sites

Splitshire

free stock image sites

Skitter Photo

free stock image sites

Good Stock Photos

free stock image sites

Snapwire Snaps

free stock image sites

Foodie’s Feed

Great food images. Do not view while hungry

Free Stock Image Sites with Strings Attached

Here’s a list of free stock image sites that require some sort of registration or are supported by commercial vendors.

Free for commercial use but requires registration

Tied to commercial vendors

  • Pixabay: they pull in a lot of the other free sites but are sponsored by a commercial vendor. You can search by user like Unsplash and StartupStockPhotos to see a thumbnail list of what those sites have.
  • IM Creator: many free for commercial use; some require attribution
  • Stock Vault: some free and sponsored images. Seems like most of these sites are basically the same. Another good reason why curating them makes sense and saves time.
  • Morgue File: lots of free images as well as indexed commercial sites.
  • Foter: database of a lot of free images; attribution requirements are in the image details.
  • Compfight: database of free images with links to sponsored images
  • Superfamous Studios: attribution required

Keep in mind that licensing terms may change so before you use the images, double-check to make sure you can.

While it’s technically not necessary to give many of the free stock image sites attribution, I think it’s still good to acknowledge them because they take the time to collect and curate the resources. Of course, attribution doesn’t work if you have to plaster links all over your course screens, but you could try one of the ideas we discussed in this post on how to use free assets in commercial projects.

Obviously, there are a lot more free stock image sites. With this list I tried to focus mostly on the ones that were free for commercial use and didn’t require attribution (which bumped a lot off of the list).

You can always find inexpensive stock photo subscriptions. In fact Graphic Stock (which has a good selection) regularly runs a $99/year subscription with unlimited downloads. They also have a video  and audio service that is reasonably priced.

Are there free stock sites you recommend (assuming that they are free for commercial use and don’t require attribution when used)? Feel free to add to the comments. Spammers will be deleted. 🙂

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.

 




e-learning templates tips

We all work at the speed of business which means that we have to find tips and tricks that save time. In today’s post I’ll show three easy ways to create templates for your elearning courses.

30 Second E-Learning Templates

I’ve featured this technique before in the post on How to Build a Template in 30 Seconds. Essentially, you want to find a viable sliver from an image or screen grab. And then stretch it to create your template. I guess this could also be called the “viable sliver technique” but it doesn’t sound as sexy.

e-learning templates tips #1

Use this technique enough and you’ll save so much time you’ll be able to go to the movies when you should be at work. When you’re boss asks where you were, all you need to say is “30 second template.”

10 Second E-Learning Templates

Want to save even more time? Try the 10 second template technique. This is one of David’s favorite tips and he shows how it works in this post on how he built an interactive quiz. The process is very easy:

create e-learning template PowerPoint

  • Create a slide with a header and footer shape.
  • Find a contextual image.
  • Fill the header with a color picked from the top of the image.
  • Fill the footer with a color picked from the bottom of the image. In the example above, I also picked a color for the content area.
  • Add your content.

Pretty simple, huh? They key is that you don’t have to put a lot of thought into the template and how to get the right colors. While it’s simple and the template is basic, it’s a good starting point for beginners.

E-Learning Templates on a Budget

One challenge is creating a nice looking (and functional template) that also incorporates your organization’s branding. In a previous post I shared how to create an elearning template using your organization’s website.

Why not allow your organization’s website (or other branded collateral) inspire your next elearning template?

Websites and elearning templates are very similar. They’re screens and they display content. The types of content you put on the screens is also very similar, as well as how you design their layouts.

elearning template inspiration

Let’s assume your organization has the site above. It incorporates the brand colors, type, and imagery. You’ll notice that the page also includes tabs and button styles. These are all elements that are typical of elearning courses.

Here’s a quick mock-up I created using the website for inspiration. As you can see, it’s not a verbatim copy. But it does include the colors, button styles, and type (assuming I had the same font available).

e-learning template example

Think of it this way, whether you’re using a web site, marketing collateral, or something else, the organization’s paid a graphics person to design the look and feel of those resources. That means you already have a great design from which to work. And it matches the organization’s brand. Use that design to create your elearning template.

So there you have it, three easy ways to create your own elearning templates. Have you tried any of these techniques? If so, how’d it turn out?

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.

 




build e-learning skills

When I look back at my early work, I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long. A lot of the courses I built years ago just weren’t very good. But that’s okay. I may not have built good courses to start, but I did do some things in the early years to build my elearning skills that helped me grow and learn to build better courses over time.

Here are a few of the things I did and what you can do, too.

Build Your E-Learning Skills by Debriefing Your E-Learning Projects

Get in the habit of regularly reviewing your projects. I worked on a team once where every Friday we reviewed what we built or what we were working on. We discussed what was going well, what didn’t, and how we could make improvements. Then we made adjustments and the next projects were a little better.

Remember, if you try hard and don’t succeed, it’s a great learning experience. You’ve discovered one way to not do things. 🙂

Build Your E-Learning Skills by Showing Your Work

Show you work and ask for honest feedback. I get a lot of questions about how to get started. I usually recommend participating in the weekly elearning challenges so you have something to work on and show. This lets you built what you want and not be tied down by proprietary content at work. Then ask for feedback on how what you built could be improved.

The weekly challenges are great because no one wants to review a big course. Something small and pointed is apt to generate more feedback for you.

Build Your E-Learning Skills with an Idea Folder

Keep an idea folder that you can review when starting new projects. I routinely look for multimedia examples. You can find a lot at news sites and graphic artist communities. I look for interesting interactions, animations, and visual design.

I also like to deconstruct some of the elearning examples I see and figure out how they did what they did and then noodle on how to build on it. Sometimes when I’m stuck I’ll look through the folder for inspiration.

Build Your E-Learning Skills with an Informal Learning Plan

Develop a personal informal learning process. Today there are all sorts of free resources to learn about course design and construction. The key is to create a way to collect and regularly review that information. Choose a tool like Pinterest, Diigo, or Evernote to collect and organize important content.

Stay engaged in what’s going on and what people are talking about. If possible, start a blog to document what you’re learning and reflect on what others think. In any case, don’t depend on the occasional conference or workshop. Instead, create your own plan and then act on it.

Build Your E-Learning Skills through Practice

Set some time aside to practice new ideas or techniques. Having a folder of inspirational ideas is great. But at some point you have to make some time to practice applying those ideas. You won’t get time to practice while working on a real course, so you need to find time in between.

As you do this, you’ll build the proficiency with your elearning software and you’ll get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. Then you can apply the ideas to your real projects later.

Build Your E-Learning Skills by Getting Connected

Get connected. When I started in the industry, getting connected meant going to ATD chapter meetings and subscribing to listservs. Today it’s so much easier with social media services like Twitter and LinkedIn. You can connect with all sorts of experts and learn from each other. I love those who are active participants in the Elearning Heroes Community. They share so many tips and tricks. And it’s been fun to see many of the careers of the community’s active participants take off the past few years.

There’s a lot more you can do to build your skills. The key is having a plan and then moving forward. What are some things you do to build your skills?

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.

 




e-learning examples and free stock images

For many of you, this is like the start of a new year. The summer’s gone, kids are starting school, and it’s back to building some elearning courses.

I’ll keep this post quick so you can get back to the work at hand.

More Free Stock Photos

free stock photos

I just noticed that one of my favorite free stock photo sites, StartUp Stock Photos, released a bunch more photos. I like their photos because they can be used in a lot of elearning contexts. To save you some time, I downloaded them all and zipped them up into a single download.

You can always find inexpensive stock photo subscriptions. In fact Graphic Stock (which has a good selection) regularly runs a $99/year subscription with unlimited downloads. They also have a video  and audio service that is reasonably priced.

Don’t Share Courses in Google Drive!

google drive

Google Drive’s been a popular way to share published courses and web sites. However, that’s all changed. Effective August 31, 2015, Google Drive no longer supports this feature. If you have some shared courses on Google Drive, you’ll need to move those to another service. You have until August 2016.

Here’s a post where I shared a few alternative methods for sharing courses. I like the Amazon S3 option. That’s what I use for the blog.

Articulate Guru Award Winners

articulate guru e-learning example

Articulate just announced the Guru Award winners. I’ll have to say this year was one of the best because we had so many diverse and creative submissions. One thing that stood out to me is how many people use the elearning applications for more than course creation.

Personally, I love all of the Guru submissions (even the ones that don’t win) because they represent so many clever ideas and production techniques. I like to deconstruct them to figure out how they were built. It’s a great way to learn and get ideas.

Here is an article that highlights the Articulate Guru winners and links to the demos.

GOLD GURU

Enter the Ninja
Phil Mayor
Elearning Laboratory

Articulate Guru e-learning example gold

Click here to view the guru winner.

SILVER GURU

Audiometry Refresher Training
Richard Edwards
MOD

Articulate Guru e-learning example silver

Click here to view the guru winner.

BRONZE GURU

Robot Wars
Nancy Woinoski
Pinched Head

Articulate Guru e-learning example bronze

Click here to view the guru winner.

HONORABLE MENTION GURUS

Galactic Games
Jerson Campos
Visual E-Learning

Articulate Guru e-learning example 1

Click here to view the guru winner.

Ebola Fatality Rates
David Tait
4pt Limited

Articulate Guru e-learning example 2

Click here to view the guru winner.

Everyday Employee Relations
Jack Quantrill
Boots

Articulate Guru e-learning example 3

Click here to view the guru winner.

The Case of the Fraudulent Pharmacist
Kate Atkinson
The Training Room Online

Articulate Guru e-learning example 4

Click here to view the guru winner.

Like I said, there were lots of really good entries and many covered more than elearning. As you can see they range from simple games and quizzes to interactive graphics. In either case, they show off some of the capabilities and features of the Articulate tools. There’s a lot to glean from these examples.

Now back to work and have a great week!

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.

 




free PowerPoint and e-learning templates

Things tend to slow down in the summer. A lot of people are on vacation and not a lot of work is being done. It’s also a time to prep for a new school year. Why not make it a time to prep for a new work year as you come back from your vacations fully rested?

To help you out, I compiled an assortment of free templates that you may have missed the past few weeks. There are 16 free PowerPoint templates and 15 free Storyline templates.

And if you’re on that side of the planet where summer’s long gone, you can still take advantage of the free templates.

Free PowerPoint Templates

Here are a bunch of free PowerPoint templates. There’s a really good assortment, too. Keep in mind, if you like the template, you can easily change the content and colors to match your needs.

Punchy Tab Template

free PowerPoint template

Circle Lift Template

free PowerPoint template

Creative Team Tabs Template

free PowerPoint template

A Day-in-the-Life Template

free PowerPoint template

Indigo Template

free PowerPoint template

Super Simple Circle Menu

free PowerPoint template

Interactive Office Template

free PowerPoint template

Realistic Desktop Interaction Template

free PowerPoint template

Interactive Desktop Template

free PowerPoint template

Notebook-Themed Template

free PowerPoint template

Interactive Conversation

free PowerPoint template

Tab-tastic Flat Template

free PowerPoint template

Fun Magic 8 Ball-Themed Template

iPad-Themed User Interface

free PowerPoint template

Nested Menu Template

free PowerPoint template

Photo Gallery Template

free PowerPoint template

Industrial Zeal Template

free PowerPoint template

Free Storyline Templates

Here a few really nice free Storyline templates. They run the range of click and reveal activities to interactive quiz examples. Just like the PowerPoint templates, feel free to download them and customize them to meet your needs.

If you don’t have Storyline, download the free trial. You have 30 days. I’m sure you can use the templates and build quite a few free modules in 30 day trial period.

Text Message Style Quiz

free Storyline e-learning templates

Timeline Interaction

free Storyline e-learning templates

Simple Tabs Gray Interaction

free Storyline e-learning templates

Process Drag & Drop Quiz

free Storyline e-learning templates

Flat Office Icon Set

free Storyline e-learning templates

Circle Lift

circle-lift

Zoom Office Interaction

free Storyline e-learning templates

Tic Tac Toe Template

free Storyline e-learning templates

Desktop Zoom Interaction

free Storyline e-learning templates

Interactive Resume

free Storyline e-learning templates

Interactive Conversation

free Storyline e-learning templates

Compare & Contrast Interaction

free Storyline e-learning templates

Multimedia Glossary

free Storyline e-learning templates

Simple Tabs Blue Interaction

free Storyline e-learning templates

Classic Practice Interactions from Storyline 1

free Storyline e-learning templates

Here’s a big shout out to those in the community who freely share the modules and templates they create. Hopefully you can find some use for these templates. If so, let me know. Also, which ones do you like best? I like the simple tabs interactions and the text-based quiz. How about you?

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.