The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for November, 2015


free e-learning interaction template

One way to engage learners and get passed locked navigation is to allow the users to explore content in the course. There’s many ways to leverage exploration in a course. For example, using the 3C model for branched decision-making (challenge, choices, and consequences), you could pose a challenge to the learner that requires them to research content to make an informed decision. In that case a simple interaction that allows them to explore content is a great way for them to collect information.

To help you out, I created an office exploration activity template that’s free for you to use.

Free E-Learning Interaction Example

Below is a published demo of the elearning interaction.

example of free e-learning interaction template

Click here to view the elearning interaction.

Free E-Learning Interaction Template

Here’s a link to the free elearning interaction template. It’s created in Storyline 2 and uses a 16×9 aspect ratio.

Since the template uses a flat design, you can easily incorporate it with these existing free resources to create a more complete interactive elearning experience.

Hope you enjoy. Let me know if you use the free e-learning interaction template.

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.

 




engage learners

One of the big challenge in crafting a learning experience is figuring out how to engage the learners. This is especially true for a lot of corporate training that is compulsory and not always connected to performance expectations.

Today, we’ll review 5 ways to engage your learners and build a better learning experiences.

Engage Learners with Relevant Content

Engaged learners need content that is relevant to their needs. If it’s not, then they’re less apt to be motivated which leads to less engagement. It forces you have to do a lot more to increase their motivation and guide them through the content.

interactive e-learning engage learners

I discuss relevant content quite a bit throughout the blog and make it one of the key building blocks for interactive elearning.

Engage Learners with Just-in-Time Delivery

At a previous organization, we installed a new phone system. We had to train so many people on the new system that the first groups were trained months before the system rolled out. By the time the phones came online, a lot of what they learned was lost. That was OK, because we had some cheat sheets and quick tips that offered help for the most common tasks.

coursel interactive e-learning engage learners

Instead of a big course delivered months in advance it would have been easier to build lighter modules (similar to the cheat sheets) that delivered the necessary content at the point of need. I like to call these micro-learning modules, coursels (as in course morsels).

With YouTube and similar media services, people are conditioned to search for what they need when they need it. Why can’t the online training follow suit? Focus less on sharing every piece of content and more on context; and then work towards making it easy to search and access bite-sized training at the point of need.

Engage Learners with the Look & Feel

Learners perceive a product as more usable than it may actually be if the design is aesthetically pleasing. This is known as the aesthetic-usability effectIt’s also possible that they may reject a product that is actually better because it may not be as aesthetically pleasing.

visual design for e-learning course engage learners

Even if you build basic courses, place a lot of focus on getting the right look and feel. There’s a visual context that works for your course as well as a way to create novel and engaging interactions. These don’t replace good instructional design, but they do contribute to the perception the learner has of the course and its value. And that’s critical to the initial engagement.

Engage Learners with Interactive Content

Most courses are linear with little, if any, interactive elements. That’s fine for consuming information. But it doesn’t make for engaging learning experiences. An easy way to engage learners is to add interactive elements to the course.

interactive branching engage learners

Generally, there are two facets to interactive elearning. The first is getting the learner to interact with onscreen elements. These interactions are clicking, mouseovers, dragging, and/or data entry. The second is getting the learner to process and interact with the content. Usually this involves some Socratic questions or more involved interactive, branched scenarios.

Engage Learners with Free Navigation

One of my pet peeves is locked navigation. We all know why it happens: the customer wants to make sure that the learner sees all of the information. Otherwise, how else would they learn it?

Obviously, this is a false assumption. People don’t learn just because you expose them to content. And making it mandatory to see content is not an appropriate way to assess knowledge.

Instead of locking content down, give them the freedom to access and explore the content. If you want them to learn more, provide a challenge that causes them to pull in the content and make decisions. This is a much better mechanism than you pushing it out to them.

branched scenario engage learners

If you want to ensure they have learned something, then instead of locking the navigation, lock the course at decision points. Give the learner freedom to move around the content and explore. However, for them to advance, provide decision-making scenarios that require an understanding of the content. This gives the learner more control and the course owner some assurance that the learners know the content.

There are many ways to implement these tips to create engaging and interactive learning. The key is to engage the learner and create an experience that is memorable and enjoyable as well as educational.

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.

 




search free stock image sites

It seems like every day there’s a new site that offers free stock images. There are so many, that sometimes it’s a burden to process so many choices. Seriously, how many stock images are you really using?

In the past, I’ve save you some time by reviewing free stock images and curating them into contextual downloads. However, even that can be a bit much to manage. What you need is an easy way to search through all of those free stock image sites so you can find what you need when you need it.

The good news is that there are three such sites where searching and finding free stock images is possible.

Stock Up

search free stock images via Stock Up

Stock Up is courtesy of Site Builder Report. It’s a search engine that indexes free stock photo sites. I consider it the Lord of Rings site because it’s one site to rule them all. Because of this, it may be the only link you need since most of the free stock image sites that I listed in this post are already indexed there.

Stock Snap

search free stock images via Stock Snap

Stock Snap is similar to Stock Up because it’s a curated resource of free stock images that don’t require attribution There’s a lot of overlap.

Exposure

free stock images

Exposure another site that searches free stock image sites. They’re listed as free for commercial use.

You’ll notice that all of these sites pull from the same free stock images sites. As I mentioned before, you probably only need to use one of these sites since they all host the same free stock images. But it doesn’t hurt to have all three sites at your fingertips.

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.

 




no audio narration for e-learning

Audio narration is part of multimedia and adds a lot of value to your elearning courses. However, there are times when it makes sense to NOT use audio in your courses.

Do Not Use Audio Narration When They Can’t Hear It

If those taking the course can’t hear the audio narration, then it makes sense not to include it. This probably seems obvious, but often we don’t get to meet those who take the courses so we’re not always aware of their audio limitations. In fact, many of the people I talk to get handed the course content with no access to the intended audience.

There are usually three main reasons why the person can’t hear the course:

  • Technology. Many access the elearning courses from computers that don’t support audio. The computers may not have sound cards or speakers. This is not as common as it used to be, but it’s still a good idea to ask your client if the end users will have access to computers that support audio and if they need headsets.
  • Environment. Some people access the online modules from shared computers in a production environment. Many of those systems don’t have audio output, and even if they did, the environment is too loud to hear it.
  • Hearing disabilities. You may have learners with hearing disabilities. In those cases, you’ll need to make modifications so that they can learn what needs to be learned. Some organizations already require accessible content. Even if it’s not required for your course, it’s a good idea to add closed caption text or some sort of transcript for those who may need it. Here’s a free e-book that discusses best practices for 508 and accessible content.

Do Not Use Audio Narration If You’re on a Tight Budget

Producing good audio narration takes time and doing it right costs money. You need to write, rehearse, and approve scripts that sound like real people talking. Here’s typically what happens:

  • Write the script.
  • Review the script with subject matter experts.
  • Re-write the script.
  • Review again.
  • Re-write the script.
  • Record audio narration and realize the script doesn’t sound right.
  • Re-write script.
  • Record audio narration.
  • Review final course and have upper-level manager tell you that they don’t like the audio and the legal team needs to make a few edits.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Seriously, producing audio narration takes time and adds many variables to the production process with a lot of extra meetings. If you don’t have the resources, it’s better to skip it than doing it wrong or wasting time.

Do Not Use Audio Narration If the Narrator is Not Professional

I have mixed feelings on this next point. There’s a lot to be said about the authentic voice of a real person. And the reality is that in many cases, it makes sense to record your own audio narration. However, there is a big difference between a good speaking voice and a professional narrator.

  • You want a voice actor. Someone once told me that you don’t want a professional narrator, instead you want a voice actor. And recording your subject matter expert who has a good speaking voice is not the same as the person you’d qualify as a voice actor.
  • You don’t need to spend a fortune. There are a lot of ways to hire good voice talent at reasonable cost. Fiverr and services like Voice123 are worth exploring. And you can even find some freelance elearning developers that can produce their own audio.

On the flip side, if you do record your own audio narration:

  • Get a good microphone. I have used the Samson C01U & C03U. Travel with the very portable GoMic, and currently use the Yeti Pro for most of my recording. They’re all good mics. You can get a decent microphone for about $75.  The links to Amazon mics may produce a slight commission.
  • Learn some of the basics with these tips and tricks.

In an ideal world you have a budget to create the best course possible. And this includes inserting great audio narration. Keep in mind that bad audio is the least tolerable form of multimedia. People will tolerate less than perfect image quality before they accept bad audio narration. If you can’t do it right, perhaps it’s best to not do it at all.

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.