The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for September, 2016


free resources

Free resources always come in handy when building courses or slide presentations. At most of my workshops we take a few minutes to share different free resources people use. It’s a great way to be reminded of resources you may have already bookmarked but have forgotten. And of course, there’s always something new to learn from others when the share what they use.

At this point, I find that there’s not a lot of new free resources being added. So I compiled the resources and put them in some sense of order to make it a bit easier to parse. I can’t vouch for all of the sites but from what I can tell, they’re all legit.

Most of the resources are free. And with all things free, be sure to check on the usage terms and give proper attribution. Here’s a post on how to did this: how to use free assets in commercial projects.

Where to Get Help from the Community

Where to Get Free Resources from Your Organization

  • Marketing team: they usually have graphics and other collateral
  • Web team: collection of online resources
  • Public relations: public facing graphics

Create Your Own & Share

  • Take your own pictures of people and share
  • Walk around organization and get background and ambient images
  • Get inspiration from stock photo sites and try to mimic them

Free Resources: Icons

Placeholder Content

Free Stock Photos

Free Medical Images

Free Illustrations

Free Templates

Free Audio

Free Fonts

Free Video

Deal Sites

These sites aren’t free but they often offer great deals. For example, I’ve been able to get a lifetime membership to a graphics site for $49 and picked up a bunch of cutout people images for just a few dollars. It’s worth subscribing to these types of sites just to see what deals come your way. Most of the deals are not relevant to elearning but you can just delete those emails.

If there’s a free resource or site you like to use, feel free to post in 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.

 




powerpoint tips tutorials

When we started this blog in 2007, PowerPoint-based elearning was all the rage, and for good reason. It was a great entry point for people just getting started, especially when the alternative was custom Flash programming that required programming skills and resources.

Today, the elearning market is different and PowerPoint elearning isn’t as important (or relevant) as it was ten years ago. It’s something I shared in this blog post on why PowerPoint isn’t the right tool for interactive elearning. With tools like Storyline, you get PowerPoint ease-of-authoring with a lot more capability and you still don’t need to learn any programming.

But that doesn’t mean PowerPoint’s obsolete. It just means that a lot of the tutorials shared over the past ten years are not as relevant as they were when they were first published, such as working with clip art (which is now defunct).

I did look through many of the older posts and here’s an updated list of PowerPoint tutorials that still come in handy if you build elearning courses  with PowerPoint; or if you want to become a PowerPoint guru and learn things like how to use it to create graphics and illustrations.

There are some really good PowerPoint tips and tricks in that list. Even if you can’t go through them all, make sure to bookmark them for quick reference.

What’s your favorite PowerPoint tip learned via these blog posts over the years? Feel free to share them via the comments.

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.

 




lorem ipsum

Adding placeholder text is one of those tasks that we do a lot when building our course screen layouts or templates. It helps us make sure things are looking right before we spent too much time building out the real content.

In today’s post I’ll share three easy ways to add placeholder text to your elearning courses.

Use the Built-in Lorem Ipsum Generator

PowerPoint, Articulate Studio, and Storyline offer built-in lorem ipsum generators so that it’s really easy to add some placeholder content. Here are the steps:

  • Add a text box
  • Type in =lorem() 
  • Hit enter

That will create a good amount of random placeholder text. However, it may be more than you need. That’s OK because you have some flexibility.

lorem ipsum

You can add numbers inside the parenthesis to control how many paragraphs and sentences are presented. For example, =lorem(2,1) will give you two paragraphs with one sentence each.

Here’s a tutorial that shows how to create random text in PowerPoint. The process is exactly the same in Storyline, but you use lorem instead of rand.

Use an Online Lorem Ipsum Generator

There are a lot of online lorem ipsum generators. Just do a search and you’ll find more than you need. I like the ones where you can generate placeholder text in other languages, too. This is another good one because you can set word count and choose Kafka text which is perfect for bureaucratic, compliance training. It may even be possible to use nothing but Kafka for your real training and have no one notice.

If all you need is lorem ipsum text, then the built-in tools are fine. Why go to a website to find something you already get in the elearning applications? However, some people don’t like the lorem ipsum text and want real readable text. Or they don’t like the fact that the lorem ipsum text doesn’t get past the spellchecker.

lorem ipsum

That’s OK, too, because there are sites that create random text that is also legible. And some of them are funny. Here are a few:

Use a Lorem Ipsum Browser Extension

Why go to a website to get your placeholder text? Why not just grab some from right within your browser? There are a number of browser extensions that offer quick lorem ipsum text. Just click on the extension and copy and paste your placeholder text.

lorem ipsum

Here are a few that I’ve used in Chrome. I’m sure that the other browsers have something similar.

As you can see, there are more than enough ways to generate fake text and with the amount you need for your slides. And of course, make sure that you let your subject matter expert know it’s fake text so that they don’t ask why you localized the course before getting final approval.

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.

 




dropbox

You need to stop sharing your elearning courses and portfolios using Dropbox’s public folder. Effective October 3, 2016, Dropbox is disabling the feature to render HTML pages. It’s one that many have been using to share their courses and elearning portfolios. This is similar to the action Google took last month to disable webpage sharing via the Google Docs service.

If you’re a Dropbox user you probably already received an email from Dropbox alerting you to this change. If not, I’m here to alert you today.

dropbox

Why Should I Care?

Many people in the elearning community currently share their courses via Dropbox. In fact, we have close to 4,000 weekly challenge entries in our weekly elearning challenges; and at least 20% are shared via Google Drive or Dropbox. Maybe more.

It’s a bummer that the service is being discontinued. But the bigger bummer is that all of that content shared by the community will no longer work. That means if you shared a demo in previous challenges (or if you were using Dropbox as a free way to feature your portfolio of courses) all of those links will be broken.

What Are The Alternatives?

In a previous post, I shared a few alternatives. I’ll share them here again.

  Click here to view the YouTube video.

  • Use Amazon S3 or a competing service. Here’s how to set up the Amazon S3 service. That’s what I use.
  • Buy your own domain and manage it yourself. A domain name and hosting may cost about $50/year. That’s not expensive at all.
  • Can you upload your course? A lot of people use Wix and Weebly type services for their portfolios. They are good services for websites, but sharing files isn’t easy. You need a place to host the courses files and create a link. Those website services often don’t have a file/folder upload feature. Something to keep in mind.
  • Be careful of free services. Odds are they’ll be gone or remove the free part of the service and you’ll be in the same place you are today.

Personally, I think it’s worthwhile to create a custom domain and manage the demos and courses that way. It doesn’t cost that much and then you have complete control over your brand and you’re not at the whim of those free services that may or may not be available at a future date.

What do you recommend?

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.