The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for December, 2015


Best E-Learning Posts of 2015

December 29th, 2015

best e-learning posts 2015

2015 was another great year in an industry that’s still really hot. I hope you had a great year, too. Here’s a rundown of some of this year’s rapid elearning goodness.

Things You Need to Know

Before we review the best elearning posts for 2015, here are some important things related to this blog and the community.

Best E-Learning Posts for 2015

Here is a solid collection of blog posts for those getting started with elearning and who want to learn more.

best e-learning posts for instructional design

Best E-Learning Posts with Free Downloads

We all love free stuff so here’s a list of all the 2015 blog posts with free assets, applications, and templates.

best e-learning posts with free templates, free stock images, and free downloads

I’m excited about 2016 and hope you are, too. Have a great one!

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 templates for PowerPoint and e-learning

At a recent workshop I showed the difference between creating interactive elearning in PowerPoint and Storyline. For the workshop I created a few different templates. One of them was a tabs interaction. Following is the free PowerPoint template and the corresponding Storyline version. You can use them as you wish.

Free Interactive Tabs Template

free e-learning template

Free PowerPoint Template

free PowerPoint template

Production Tips

I usually get questions on how to edit the free templates and make them interactive. Here are a few tips:

  • Leverage the master slides. Try to put as much persistent content on the slide master as you can. Sometimes you don’t know what’s persistent until you’re done. That’s OK. At that point, it’s worth adding it to the master slide and then deleting it from the slides. You’ll be glad you did it when you need to edit the slides later.
  • Learn to work with hyperlinks in PowerPoint because interactions in PowerPoint mostly work the same way: they are hyperlinks to other slides. Also, hyperlinks work on master slides. Storyline’s a lot easier because you can create triggers to slide layers and add more interactive features.
  • Start by downloading some of the many free templates and deconstructing them. That’s an easy way to learn.

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 e-learning template post

In the spirit of the holiday season, here’s a free elearning template. It can be used as a progress meter, a main slide menu, or simple process interaction.

There are two versions of the free elearning template: Storyline 2 and PowerPoint.

Free E-Learning Template: Storyline 2

free e-learning template Storyline version

Free E-Learning Template: PowerPoint

free e-learning template free PowerPoint template example

Production Tips

  • As you can see there’s a difference between the two templates. Storyline has a more complete range of interactive capability so the template employs a hover effect. The PowerPoint version is limited to a click-and-reveal interaction.
  • The PowerPoint template is edited in the slide master. Each tab has a link to a specific slide (use CTRL+K as a shortcut).
  • The Storyline template uses links to slide layers.
  • The templates use the design color schemes, so changing the design theme color should change the colors of the interaction.

Additional Free E-Learning Templates & Assets

Check out these other free templates and assets shared in the community recently:

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.

 




PowerPoint interactive e-learning

If you follow this blog then you know that I’m a big fan of PowerPoint. In fact, I think it’s one of the single best applications out there. And with some practice and creativity, there’s not much you can’t do to create engaging multimedia.

But is PowerPoint the best option if you want to create interactive elearning?

Here’s What Makes PowerPoint Special

Just so you know that this isn’t just another trendy PowerPoint bashing post, I’m starting with some of the cool things you can do with PowerPoint. Here’s a sampling from some of my previous blog posts:

PowerPoint is a great multimedia application. But it’s not necessarily a great application if you regularly build interactive elearning.

Interactive E-Learning 101

Let’s consider the basics of interactivity and then see where PowerPoint falls short. Essentially there are three types of onscreen interactions: click, hover, and drag. Data entry (such as adding a name) is an additional form of interactivity if you build a course using variables.

interactive e-learning PowerPoint

Which of those types of interactions can you build with PowerPoint? For the most part, you’re limited to click-and-reveal interactions. Thus, you only have a third of the interaction types available and no programming control for more advanced capability.

Here’s Why PowerPoint Fails at Interactive E-Learning

Below are two interactive scenario examples. One is built in PowerPoint and the other in an application that better supports interactive authoring. Essentially, the scenarios are the same. The big difference is in the production process and time it takes create the interactions.

Here’s the interactive scenario built in PowerPoint.

PowerPoint interactive e-learning

Click here to view the demo.

It works. However, what did it take to build? The PowerPoint interaction includes 31 slides. That’s for only one of the interactive scenarios. If I built out all 6 scenarios, I’d have to add an additional 145 slides and hundreds of individual objects and hyperlinks.

Here’s the same interactive scenario rebuilt in Storyline.

Storyline interactive e-learning compared to PowerPoint

Click here to view the demo.

The Storyline version only has 5 slides and it includes a lot more subtle interactive features, like button hovers and visited states. If I wanted to include all 6 scenarios, I’d only add 18 additional slides.

PowerPoint interactive e-learning

The image above demonstrates the difference between the PowerPoint and Storyline versions of the same interaction. As you can see, the PowerPoint version requires a lot more effort. The Storyline version is much more streamlined and easier to manage.

In fact, if I built this scenario from scratch rather than importing the PowerPoint file like I did for the demo, I’d probably get each interaction to 3 slides. And since the slides are generally the same, I only need to build one slide with three feedback options and reuse them. Not considering the content, building the structure for the interactive scenario would only take a few minutes. That’s not the case with PowerPoint which would take longer and become progressively more challenging to manage as the slide count would increase dramatically.

The other benefit is that the Storyline version of the file can be saved as a template and easily reused for future scenarios. That’s a big time saver. And time is money.

So what’s the point?

  • PowerPoint Has Limited Interactions. For the most part, you’re limited to click-and-reveal interactions. There’s no drag-and-drop or button rollovers. Try to create a simple visited state for a button clicked. You can’t. And forgot about adding data entry or variables to build more sophisticated interactive elearning.
  • Building Interactions in PowerPoint is Time Consuming. Sure, you can build interactive elements in PowerPoint. The example above demonstrates that.  However, building interactive elearning with PowerPoint will cost a lot more time and starts to get messy after a few slides.
  • Interactions in PowerPoint Get Progressively More Complicated. Interactions are a combination of hyperlinks to slides. For example, a five tab interaction requires six slides: the main slide and one for each tab. Want to build something more complex, like an interactive scenario? Your slide count increases exponentially; and the structure and maintenance of the course gets overly complicated. Whatever money you think you’ve saved in software you’ve easily spent in authoring. And each subsequent project adds to the cost.

As I stated earlier and throughout this blog, PowerPoint’s a great multimedia application. But if you want to build interactive elearning courses, it’s not the best option. The truth is that you will be saving hundreds (if not thousands) of hours building elearning courses using a tool better suited for interactive elearning.

Of course, if you do freelance consulting and bill by the hour, then it makes sense to stick with PowerPoint. If you don’t, then it’s time to move beyond it for your interactive elearning. You won’t be sorry.

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.

 




get started with e-learning

“How do I get started with elearning” is one of the most frequent questions I’m asked. It makes sense since the industry is still hot and growing and every day someone new joins it and needs help.

Most elearning developers I meet are transitioning from face-to-face training and usually start by converting their classroom content into elearning courses. The usual solution is to use software that turns the PowerPoint slides into elearning courses. The challenge is that effective elearning is more than converting existing classroom content.

Get Started by Learning More About E-Learning

get started with e-learning using the e-learning community

There are all sorts of great resources online to help you learn more about elearning and building good courses. If you can only find one resource, I recommend the E-Learning Heroes because it’s a community of over 250,000 elearning practitioners. Here’s why I like the community:

Get Started with E-Learning Through Practice

Many elearning courses are relatively simple click-and-read courses where it’s click, click, click, and quiz. One reason for this is that elearning developers who are just getting started have limited skills so they tend to build the courses that are easy to build and similar to what they usually see. And since so many courses are linear click-and-read courses, that’s what they build.

get started with e-learning by participating in the weekly challenges

One way to get past that is to learn more about the tools you use. The more proficient you are using your software the more likely you are to go beyond the basics and build engaging and interactive elearning courses.

I prefer Articulate Storyline because it hits a sweet spot between ease of use and capability. You don’t need to know everything about elearning or the software to get started. But as your skills and experience expand, Storyline’s there to grow with you.

Start with the basic tutorials and practice applying what you learn from them. After that, the weekly elearning challenges are a great way to expand your skills. You’re not constrained by the pressures of a real course and can think about something new and stretch your creative juices a bit.

Learn About Learning to Get Started with E-Learning

Stay connected with elearning peeps using social media like Twitter and LinkedIn. I use Hootsuite to manage my social media streams. I focus less on specific people and follow keywords and hashtags. I will admit that sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming, but that’s OK. You don’t need to stay on top of everything. I only check the stream a few times during the week.

get started with e-learning by reading good books

Read some books on elearning and course design. There are lots of good elearning and instructional design books, but here are a few of my favorites and why:

  • Design for How People Learn. This is a great book about how people learn and will help you design better elearning. It’s also easy to read. I wish some of those instructional design books I read in college were written in the same style.
  • E-Learning Fundamentals. Another easy-to-read book that goes through the basics from A to Z. It’s a must-have for the new elearning developer.
  • E-Learning and the Science of Instruction. I like this book because it addresses a lot of common design issues. My only caveat is to not become too dogmatic about the points made.
  • Instructional Design for E-Learning: What I like about this book is that it has short chapters that cover a broad range of topics. They’re almost like abstracts of a lot of the things you need to know. Good general overviews without going too deep.
  • Designing Successful E-Learning and Creating Successful E-Learning are both good books in the elearning library series. They should help most beginners learn more about effective e-learning design.

The links to Amazon books may produce a slight commission.

The books above are good starting points. Once you have a handle on some of the basics, make it a habit to regularly read and apply more advanced topics like gamification and UX design.

It doesn’t really matter how much you read if you don’t apply what you read to your course design. That’s why I like the weekly challenges I mentioned above. They give you a platform to practice what you read in a safe environment. Odds are you won’t get that opportunity when building real courses in real time.

There’s a lot more to building elearning courses, but you have to start somewhere. I suggest catching up on some of the basics mentioned here and then practice, practice, and practice. Your first course may not be the best course, but with each course you’ll get better. And if you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask.

What tips do you have for the person just getting started?

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.