The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for June, 2019


create custom maps for e-learning

Here’s an issue I run into quite a bit: I need a map for my e-learning courses; but I don’t need a detailed map.

Stock image sites are fine for generic illustrated maps but they’re usually too generic. The other option is to do a screen grab of an online map, but then that’s often too detailed.

Recently, I was working on a map demo where I needed a specific map, but I didn’t want a real map screen shot because it was too busy and I knew the stock sites couldn’t provide what I needed because it was too specific. Fortunately, I found this site, Snazzy Maps, that makes it easy to customize Google’s online maps.

Examples of Custom Maps for E-Learning

Here’s why this comes in handy.

Most maps have too much visual information. For example, if I built a labeled graphic map of some historic sites in Washington, D.C. I need a simple map for reference, but I don’t need all of the street names and colors that may distract from my labels. Instead I want a map that gives me some context, but allows the label to be the star of the show.

Washington DC labeled map interaction

In the example above, the real online map has way too much visual info. It’s hard to know where to look first. In fact, it’s difficult to see the markers because of all of the colors, text, and roads. I’m not using this map to drive an Uber so I probably don’t need all of the detail and distracting visual information.

Washington DC gray map label interaction

This next example above is the complete opposite. All of the colors are turned off as well as many of the roads. A gray scale map like this allows the accent colors from the labels to really pop. In fact, one of the best simple tips for course design is to get rid of competing visual information like colors and then only use color to accent or highlight content. In this example, the marker colors are much more distinct.

Washington Dc interaction color map

For this particular interaction, I like having a little color to show the park and monuments in relationship to the city and water. I turned off the titles and some of the roads. You can still recognize it as a map, yet it’s not quite as busy.

Customizing the Maps

To be honest, I don’t have the patience to learn how to use the Snazzy Map site. So I started with one of the maps someone with more patience created. And from there it was just a lot of clicking around to see what I can edit. Most of it makes sense and with a little practice you can get almost any look you need.

Washington DC custom maps examples

If you need a custom map for your e-learning courses, check out the site. I may come in handy.

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.

 




4 things to think about before building e-learning courses

It costs money to build e-learning courses and it costs money to take e-learning courses. Considering the cost, it’s important to ensure that you get the most value out of the courses you create.

One way to get value is to not create a course. Seriously. We don’t want to admit it, but many courses are pointless and a waste of time.

However, if you do need to create e-learning courses, then consider the following points below:

Create a Resource Hierarchy

You have limited resources and you want to make sure you use them wisely. In a recent post, I shared how I’d determine which e-learning application to use and when. This type of approach will save resources and help you get the most out of the e-learning software you use.

Move Content Offline

A lot of e-learning content is content that already exists in other formats. And most of that content is text-based. If the course is mostly reading and lots of text, why not take it offline and create PDFs or some other medium that’s easier to read? If you need a course, make it an abstract of the resource content with some activities to demonstrate understanding.

Teach How to Find & Use Resources

Since a lot of content already exists in other places, perhaps it’s better to teach them how to find and use those resources than it is to copy and paste that content into e-learning screens. Create real-world activities and then design the courses so that the learner is accessing resources and using that content to solve the activity.

Make the Courses Smaller

Do you need big courses? That seems like something from the 1990s and not the YoutTube generation. Instead of one big course, perhaps it makes sense to create a series of mini courses. They can always be bundled to create a cohesive learning path.

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.

 




move past click and read e-learning

It’s easy to make a list of things one needs to know and create courses focused on that information. That’s why we have a lot of click and read content.

However, knowing information and understanding the information are two different things.

Most e-learning is designed to present information through a series of screens. Then the course ends with a simple quiz to confirm a rote understanding of the content. However, a good course develops understanding rather than merely present information.

Here are 4 ways to move past information sharing and create courses that present a deeper level of learning and understanding.

Present Clear Learning Objectives

What is the expected outcome of the learning? This seems so obvious, but most courses I see are a little weak on clear objectives. And with fuzzy objectives there’s no clear path for learning and then no way to measure success or prove understanding.

Learn to build meaningful objectives.

Prove Understanding

With clear objectives, the course can establish how to know they’ve been met. What evidence can the learner present that demonstrates how well they understand the content?

Create objectives that are measurable and prove understanding.

Provide Information within a Learning Experience

Build the course to provide content AND create a learning experience. Courses start with content. But learning and understanding is demonstrated not by consuming but by using the content. I like to craft the course around real-life activities. This allows the person to see the content in a real-world context and then demonstrate their understanding by using the content in that context.

How to build real-world interactions.

It’s All About E-Learning Emancipation

Every day I get questions on how to lock course navigation. I get why it’s a question. That’s what the client wants. But it still makes me cringe, because it has little to do with learning and more about controlling the experience.

Free up the course design and let the person navigate the content the way they choose. If you need to lock it, lock it at a point of decision where they need to demonstrate understanding before they advance. Don’t lock it thinking that’s how they’ll learn.

Find ways to move past the locked navigation.

Click and read content exists because we tend to focus on pushing information out. A good learning experience focuses on using the information to craft a desired level of understanding.

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.

 




Here’s a simple tip that I use all the time. In fact, I use it multiple times a day. It’s fast and efficient.

Create a blank text file on your desktop for quick access.

That’s it?

Simple. Right?

Here are three reasons why this is a good tip.

Create a Temporary Holding Area

The text doc isn’t bloated or media rich, so it opens really fast. I have a blank text file on my desktop. I click on it all the time. I jot down some quick ideas, take a note, or use it to temporarily hold some text on my clipboard.

I’ve tried other ideas and apps over the years, but I find the text doc has always remained faithful because of its simplicity and how fast it is to use.

Get Rid of Text Formatting

Often I copy and paste text from one thing to another. It may be a PowerPoint slide, Word document, or web page. Often it’s a PDF, where this tip really make a lot of sense.

Often the text I copy has some sort of formatting. And I don’t want the formatting of the text to make it’s way into other documents. You may have run into issues in the past where you copy and paste text and then the text doesn’t look right or align properly. And it can be a hassle to try and fix it.

Pasting into a text file (and then copying from there) gets rid of those formatting issues.

Quick Access to Code Snippets

There are many times where I need some code while I’m working with my courses. One of the most common is when I use an iframe in Rise. In those cases, I duplicate my iframe code, paste the URL, and the copy and paste into the embed block in Rise.

Or perhaps I need a local web object, so I need to create a simple web page. Easy enough. Open my placeholder text file and create a quick web page that I name index.html and can then insert as a web object. I also have a lot of little HTML code snippets I use for the blog.

In either case, I access the text file, locate my code, and paste it where it needs to go.

I usually keep three text files on my desktop. One is for blog stuff, another for code snippets, and the other is just an empty file I can open quickly for pasting text.

This is a simple tip, but it is one that I use all the time when building e-learning courses.

What simple tips do you have that help in your day-to-day production?

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.