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Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - time saving tip - build courses slides templates

At a recent workshop I was chatting with someone about simple ways to speed up course design. Here are a few of the time saving tips we discussed.

8 Time Saving Tips: Build Template Slides

Start by thinking through the various screens common to elearning courses and then build the core structure. Don’t worry about the way they look because that will change based on the course topic. However the core features and functionality can be established upfront and then saved as a template slide.

Here are a few of the screens common to most courses:

  • Course Navigation: It’s common to have some course navigation guides as part of the course. And there are many ways to do it, some covered in this post on course navigation. Create a template and structure for navigation that you can quickly add to your course.
  • Test Media Screen: This screen includes information on types of media, plugging in audio, and testing volume. Do this before they get to a slide with media that may be turned up to loud.
  • Getting Started Screen: This screen explains details of the course, title, abstract, how long it will take, etc. Create an instruction screen with all of those details. Again, don’t worry about the way it looks. You can move the objects around and style them to meet your course design.
  • Section Title Screen: All courses have a title screen. Many courses also have sections that require section title screens. How will those look different? What content generally goes there? Create a few variations of the section title screens so you have them on hand when you need them.
  • Gate Screens: A gate screen serves multiple purposes. It stops the learner and orients them to something new. Some people use it prior to an interaction, others use it move persistent instructions to a single screen. You could even use it as a section title screen. Here’s a post on how to build gate screens.
  • Resources Screen: After the course there may be all sorts of resources for the person to use. Some software comes with a resources tab, but you are usually limited to a title and link to the resource. If you want to add more, you’ll need a page. Like the other options, come up with a structure and determine the type of content. Perhaps it includes a table-like look with thumbnail image, title, and link.
  • Final Instructions: What’s the next step when the person’s done with the course? Are there practice activities? Do they connect with a peer coach? Are they required to demonstrate something in the real world?
  • Exit: When everything’s complete and the person’s ready to exit, what are they to do? If you don’t provide instructions you may come in on Monday to find that they sat at their desks the entire weekend waiting for exit instructions. Don’t risk upsetting their work life balance. Create a default exit screen you can plug into the backend of the course.

Bonus Time Saving Tip: Create a Course Starter Template

Build an elearning starter course template. There are a few core slides that are in most courses.  For example, two are the navigation instructions and the final slide that tells the learners they’re finished and free to leave.  Build those into a template and start all of your courses with those slides ready to go. And add in some of the ones we discussed above.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - time saving tip use a template starter kit

Here’s a post where I detailed the elearning starter kit.

The key point in all of this is that there are slides common to most courses. And most of the slides have the same type of content. Save time by creating those slides and adding placeholders for the content. Then the next time you start on a course you can add those pre-built slides.

Is something missing?  Which screens would you pre-build and include in the list?  Feel free to share your ideas by clicking on the comments link.


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8 responses to “9 Time Saving Tips When Building Courses”

September 23rd, 2014

This article is very good and is what I have done. I created my own template for projects and have a specific starting and ending slide that we use for all of our courses.

I agree that it is a good idea to have navigation be as consistent as possible with similar buttons etc.

I also include a HELP slide(s) that can be lightboxes or just as they are. In some projects, I may want a generic help but in others I may want specific help for sections of the project.

I have also included a slide where the learner may be asked to select an avatar or if they follow a particular program in our company. My plan is to make the template flexible and even create a course or gamify the course all from one template.

It seems like this idea just came to me, but I have been a fan of your blog for years so I really just put the pieces together. I am also sure many of my ideas come from this wonderful community. What a resource!

I am really happy to read these tips of making slides. I believe that section title screen is always the most important one and one should focus on this.

@Jeffrey: good list and thanks for the kind words.

September 24th, 2014

Great Post that is! All the necessary aspects you have covered in this post and hope full it would be use full information for others in there future.

September 26th, 2014

I realise that this is a bit off topic so i will keep it short.

What is the difference between Articulate and Storyline?

Can you direct me to your latest link?

Thank you! This will help mr decide what to suggest for a job interview.

@MaryLea: Articulate is the company’s name. Articulate offers two elearning suites: Studio ’13 and Storyline 2.

Studio ’13 leverages PowerPoint’s authoring environment to create the courses. We add Quizmaker and Engage interactions to augment what you can’t do in PowerPoint.

Storyline 2 is it’s own authoring solution not dependent on PowerPoint (although you can import PowerPoint into Storyline). Storyline offers everything that Studio does and then some. The key differences being the interactive capabilities and screencast/software simulations.

If I were looking at a new product, I’d choose Storyline because you’ll be able to do more and have more control. You’re not constrained by PowerPoint.

October 14th, 2014

Thank you, Tom! I think this will be my task for this week, so the rest of the year’s projects will go a lot more smoothly.

Our company has recently required a “Credits” slide, so the employees can email the SME or Developer directly with any questions. That would be the only item I would add to your wonderful list of slides.

@Steffanie: that’s a good tip.