The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for December, 2016


free templates

Here’s a list of all of the free resources shared in this blog and a few bonuses. I hope you enjoy them and can use them in the upcoming year.

Free Bonus

Here are a few bonus items not included in previous posts:

Free Applications

Free Multimedia

Free E-Books

Free Templates

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 PowerPoint template

I created a couple of simple quiz templates to use in a workshop and thought I’d share them here as well. One is created in Storyline and the other in PowerPoint. I also added a tutorial video for those who want to learn more about using the template for a simple quiz in Storyline.

Free Quiz Template: Storyline

You can download the free template here. It contains two slides. The first slide is a graphic slide that you can customize to meet your needs. And then once you’re done, do a Convert to Freeform and turn it into a quick quiz questions.

free Storyline template

In the video I show some ideas on how to customize it and apply a color scheme, as well as how to work with the feedback master.

Free Quiz Template: PowerPoint

The free quiz template in PowerPoint is pretty simple. If you want to edit the interactive part you need to do so at the slide master level. This is a good example of leveraging the slide master to make your interactive slides easier to manage and edit.

free PowerPoint quiz template

Hope you enjoy the templates. They’re great to practice using the software features. Feel free to use them as you wish.

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.

 




accessories audio narration

In a previous post, we explored some inexpensive microphones for recording audio narration. However, sometimes having a microphone is not enough. There are other accessories that help put the microphone in the correct position and offer other assistance for recording the best quality audio.

In this post we’ll look at a few accessories to help get better audio quality when recording narration.

Use a Microphone Stand when Recording Audio Narration

It’s a good idea to invest in a microphone stand. It helps control placement of the audio. There are a few inexpensive options for microphone stands.

desktop microphone stand for audio narration

  • Some people use simple desktop stands. They’re OK but I find they often get in the way and chances are greater of accidentally bumping the stand and messing up your audio narration. This is especially important because most people just record audio and aren’t monitoring it at the same time. Thus you don’t realize that the audio has the bumping sound until you preview it.

microphone stand for audio narration

  • Depending on your room set up, a viable option is a stand up mic stand. This allows you to record standing or sitting down with lots of flexibility with how and where you position the microphone. I prefer the ones with the boom arm so that I can move it in position. With a desktop stand like above, people tend to lean down into the mic which may mean they move around more or don’t breathe properly while talking. People tend to talk better standing up and this stand lets you do so.

swing microphone stand for audio narration

One thing to keep in mind, you get what you pay for. The less expensive products are great if you’re not moving them around too much. But moving a lot, means they’re more apt to get banged up and break.

Use Audio Dampening to Get Better Quality Audio Narration

Sound waves tend to bounce around a lot. I work from a home office and the hardwood floors in the hallway act as a funnel, moving all the sound to my office. I dampen the sounds by putting a piece of carpet in front of the door and I hang a thick blanket over a rolling clothes rack I purchased from Ikea. It doesn’t look great, but it works well.

sound dampening for audio narration

You can look more polished with just a few accessories using different types of filters that sit between your microphone and the incoming audio wave. Sometimes all you need is a simple foam ball that sits on top of the microphone. Or a pop filter which helps catch your breath sounds.

Then there are all sorts of acoustic shields that clip onto the microphone or attach to the mic stand. I like this one that expands to create a larger barrier but folds into a nice portable package.

acoustic shield for audio narration

Some people I know use the portable sound boxes that are filled with foam. You can buy them at a decent price or make your own using some acoustic foam and a cardboard box. If you work in a cubicle, it already has some sound dampening. You could also put together a makeshift studio by assembling a few cubicle walls. A lot of companies have extras laying around or you can buy some at an old office supply store. The panels are top quality and do a great job.

preamp for audio narration

If you really want to get fancy you can buy a preamp to better control the audio going into your computer. I don’t use one, but David does and his audio quality is always nice and rich. It may seem extravagant to get a preamp, but consider this: your microphone takes in sound waves and outputs a signal. When you use a less expensive microphone you tend to get a lower signal (or low sensitivity). A preamp will boost the signal for better audio. This is important because you’ll never get better quality than what you record.

What I find amazing is how inexpensive and available these accessories are compared to a few years ago. All of the items are less than $100 and most are in the $20 range.

Which accessories do use? What tips do you have using them? Feel free to share in the comments section.

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.

 




locked navigation e-learning

“How do I lock navigation?” is one of the first questions we get when showing people how to use our software. In fact it’s one of the questions we had to revisit in a recent Articulate Live webinar where people wanted to see the features used to lock navigation.

I understand the question and why it’s asked, but from an instructional perspective it’s one of the most frustrating questions to answer because locking navigation may inhibit learning and it’s a miserable experience for the person stuck in a boring course irrelevant to their needs.

Why Are We Asked to Lock Navigation?

There are a number of reasons why courses are locked. Most of the time the customer wants some assurance that the course taker isn’t just clicking the next button and skipping important information. Locking the navigation and forcing people to go through the course slide by slide is one way to guarantee that they’ve seen the slide.

But does being exposed to the content meet any real objectives? Doesn’t the content exist to promote some sort of decision-making or performance?

How to Move Past Locked Navigation

There are a number of ways to move past locking your course navigation. Here are a few ideas:

  • See the course in two parts. Part one = information required to make decisions. Part two = the types of decisions they need to make to show they know the information. Focus on how the course takers can demonstrate their understanding.
  • Step away from the solution. The elearning course is a solution to meet specific objectives. My guess is that the business objective isn’t to look at screens of information. Why does the course exist? Build it to meet those objectives and rest assured that locked navigation doesn’t meet them. Activities where they practice and demonstrate understanding is a better way to meet objectives.
  • Avoid linear courses. Most courses are linear, “A to Z” courses. They beg to be locked. If you open them up and make them more exploratory, this makes locking them less critical.
  • Create relevant content & context. People don’t normally make a habit of reading policies at work. But they routinely make decisions that hopefully align with the policies. Convert your content into real world activities where they use the information to make decisions. This requires them to know the information and prove it.
  • Lock the course at decision points. You probably can’t get past some form of locking. In that case, create decision points where the course taker demonstrates understanding of the content to move on. This allows you to give them freedom to explore content between the decision points.
  • Replace locking with rewards. Instead of forcing them through content, provide an incentive to collect information (or make good decisions with the information). This can be in the form of a dashboard where they collect badges to reward completion.
  • Chunk the course into smaller segments. Even with all of these tips, there’s a good chance you still have to create locked navigation. In those cases, chunk the course content into smaller segments. I like to call them coursels (course morsels). No one likes locked navigation, but it’s definitely a lot less frustrating when it’s a quicker experience.

What tips do you have for those who are stuck in the world of locked navigation?

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.