The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for October, 2021


Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free stock images for e-learning courses

If you’re using Articulate 360, you already get access to more than enough stock images. However, if you’re looking for a place to find more, one of my favorite sites for free stock images is Unsplash.com. They provide hundreds of free stock images with a Creative Commons Zero license. That means you can do anything with the images, whether free or commercial. And that’s a good deal for those of us who are on a tight budget.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free stock images for e-learning courses in this example

As you can see above, I used one of the city images provided by Philipp Henzler for the Storyline tutorials. It works well in an e-learning context. I also used one of the free images for this free template that I shared a while back. You can download the free template it here.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - free stock images for e-learning courses used in this elearning demo

Click to view the free template in action

Unfortunately, while it’s great to get a boatload of free stock images, many of them are mostly decorative and hard to use for e-learning courses. And it does take some time to go through the whole kit and caboodle to find just the right images.

Download Free Stock Images

To save you time, I sorted through the images currently available and looked for the ones that had desks, tables, computers, and other generic elements that could work for e-learning courses. You can see a sampling below and download the curated free stock images here.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - thumbnail of free stock images for e-learning courses

How to Use the Free Stock Images

Obviously not all of the images will work for your courses, but with some creativity you can use of many of them. Here are a few thoughts on how to use them:

  • Content holders: use the computer screens as a place to put your content.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - how to use free stock images for e-learning courses

  • Zoom and crop: you don’t need to use the image as is. Feel free to crop or zoom to the parts that work.
  • Apply filters like blur, black and white, or recolor to get the effect you want. In the image below, I added a blur and character.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - add characters to the free stock images for e-learning courses

While I did curate the images to help save time, they did come from Unsplash. Be sure to give them some props. Thank you, Unsplash!

PS While you’re download those free stock images, grab these 54 free medical images, too.

 

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.

 




Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - training mistakes

One of the activities we do at my workshops is prototype an interactive e-learning module. I provide some generic content and their task is to do two things:

They spend about twenty minutes discussing ideas and then they share their ideas. It never ceases to amaze me how creative they are and what they’re able to produce within the limited time.

I find that there’s no shortage of clever ideas and creative people. However, that doesn’t always translate to the production of good e-learning courses. If we don’t lack creativity, why are there so many bad courses?

Limited Performance Expectations

Many courses only exist because of some legal or regulatory reason. They are not designed to change behaviors or performance. And the only expectation is that the organization’s staff completes the “training” by the end of the year.

In that environment, organizations are reluctant to commit resources to “training” that doesn’t do much to improve performance. And that makes sense.

When I first meet with a client, I try to distinguish the information type courses from those that require changes in performance. I want them to recognize what type of course they want and then commit the resources to meet their goals.

Unfortunately, we still have to build those compliance courses that have little impact to the organization. Here are some tips to help overcome the challenges when building compliance courses. Ultimately, I try to make them light and easy to take. Get the people in and out as fast as you can. And if possible, make the course interesting. A good story helps.

Limited Graphic Design Resources

Look at many of the award-winning courses. They’re not instructionally any more sophisticated than what the workshop participants design in our sessions. Usually the big difference is the way the course looks. The award winners or those types of courses have the resources to build nice looking courses.

However, many of the people I meet are stuck building courses with no graphic designers and limited to the free assets they can find online.

If I were to assemble an e-learning team, I’d value a graphic designer as much as I would an instructional designer. Also if 80% of what is built is compliance training, one of the best investments is to have a graphics person on staff who can make the courses look nice and visually cohesive.

No Budget for Course Design

I once worked at an organization where we were training tens of thousands of employees around the country. I was new to the organization and tried to get $80 to buy some images from a stock image site. Instead of giving me the money to buy the images, we had a team meeting with an executive manager who explained how we could save money using the images on some crappy CD she had at her desk. The organization spent about $2000 in meetings to save $80. This type of thing is typical for many training teams.

The lack of financial commitment to create effective e-learning is probably the single biggest issue I see in our industry. Organizations buy authoring software. But that’s just meets part of the need. They don’t always invest in training their staff and they rarely provide a budget to create e-learning courses.

Some of you get a budget when you build courses. But when I ask at my workshops, usually no hands go up. So if you don’t get a budget, start to ask for one. Perhaps the first time you only get $500. But the next time you get a little bit more. The key is to build the expectation that when a course is required that also means we need a little bit of money to make it happen.

If you have no performance expectations, no graphic design resources, and no budget you’re going to get the types of courses that are too common in our industry. What are some of your struggles with building better courses?

 

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.

 




e-learning project management

I get a lot of project management questions, specifically how to keep the projects moving forward successfully. The two most essential elements are expectations and communication.

Understand the Purpose of the Course

When meeting with clients it’s important to understand and identify the learning objectives. And then from there, to craft a good learning plan.

What do they need to know? How do we know they know it? How will the learn it? OK, let’s build it!

Create a Service Level Agreement

What is the final product going to look like? What are the course requirements? When’s the due date? How will it be implemented?

Outline the entire production process and discuss who does what and when. Identify a due date and the measure of success. Then get them to sign-off on that agreement. Whenever, there’s a dispute, refer to the agreement as the foundation for the work required.

Concerning the agreement, get the person who is the final authority to sign the agreement. I’ve worked on plenty of projects that were complete and had the client then take it to someone else above them who wanted to make changes. You want to prevent that.

Establish Clear Expectations

Once that’s in place, map out the process with a clear deliverable date and some key milestones. And at those milestones, do a check-in and confirm things are moving forward as intended. Often projects get derailed with extra content or additional requirements. The milestones are a perfect way to keep track of the project’s progress and focus on the original agreement’s expectations. If they need to make changes, then rework the service level agreement and expectations.

At the end of the project, I get the client to look over the service level agreement and the final project. I then get them to sign an acknowledgement that what was agreed upon was delivered.

Be Proactive

A lot of people wait around until the client connects with them. This often causes delays because while the course is important to you as a course designer, for the client it’s usually just once thing on a list of a lot of other things (and most likely not their top priority).

Keep things moving forward. Anticipate issues or things important to the client so that you can deal with them quickly and effectively.

There you go, four simple project management tips to that help establish expectations and instigate clear communication to help move your e-learning projects forward. Want to learn more, check out this list of tips, some cheat sheets, and a free e-book in the community.

What other tips do you have to share?

 

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.