I get emails all the time from freelancers or elearning vendors asking how to get more work or exposure. I also have quite a few managers ask for ways to get their staff up-to-speed building better elearning courses. So, I’m going to take this opportunity to plug the Articulate Guru Awards and show how you can use the awards as a way to grow your business and rapid elearning skills.
Get Lots of Exposure & Free Marketing of Your Services
The past few weeks, as people have been reaching out to me looking for work, I’ve told them about the Articulate Guru Awards and recommended that they submit something. Almost as if scripted, they most say, “I would but I’m too busy,” or “I don’t have any courses to enter.” I have to chuckle at the first response considering that they’re contacting me looking for work.
Running a small business always creates this tension between doing revenue-generating projects and spending time looking for it. So for many people it’s feast or famine. I have to think that if I were trying to make a name for myself, contests like the Articulate Guru Awards and the eLearning Global Giveback Competition would be my first priority. It’s free advertising. And most likely one of the most important courses you’ll ever create.
Here’s the deal, there are very few elearning awards out there, especially ones that are free. So why not take advantage of the opportunities that exist? And these elearning awards are a great way to do this.
While it’s cool to win, that’s not the only benefit. If you build a good course, you’ll get featured in other ways that give you exposure and will help you out. In fact, it’s exactly what eVision said. Entering the Articulate Guru Awards “was one of the best things for marketing their services.”
Build Your Personal Portfolio
With the way things are going, you never know when you’ll be looking for work. So you want to be prepared, which I discussed in a previous post on why you need an elearning portfolio.
One of the challenges with compiling elearning portfolios is that many organizations have you build the same courses over and over again; and most of them are probably pretty simple or not very interesting. It’s hard to show off your skills if you company is happy with basic PowerPoint-to-Flash courses.
With the guru awards you aren’t limited to submitting work-based courses. You can choose to submit whatever you want. The CPR course eMersion created wasn’t a real course. It was just a proof of concept to show off what they can do. And the Evernote demo that Chris did was something he chose because he is a fan of the product.
Take advantage of the opportunity to create the type of course you want to build and show off what you can do. You can create a course on any subject. Here are some examples from the previous competition. As you can see they don’t have to be corporate-type projects.
Become an Award-Winning Team
Lots of managers ask me how to get their staff up-to-speed or train them to become better at building courses. One good way is to have the team go through a book together, something like E-Learning & the Science of Instruction or E-Learning by Design. Discuss the key points and then practice applying them to projects or small prototypes. You can also use these prototypes as examples that you can share with your clients.
Another way to build your team’s skills is to challenge them to create an award-winning elearning course. They don’t need to build an entire course. Keep it short. Pick a generic subject, like planting a garden or building a birdhouse. Find something with lots of content so you don’t have to spend a lot of time on that and can focus mostly on the course design.
While it didn’t win, one of my personal favorites from a previous contest is this sexual harassment course from Cognizant. Here’s why I like it:
- It was built in just four days—from script to final product. That’s pretty impressive.
- It’s not an information dump. With that quick turn-around, it’s easy to build a simple, linear PowerPoint-to-Flash course. They didn’t.
- They used lots of video and included some interactive scenarios.
The course received high marks and rave reviews from their peers. And my guess is that as a team, they had a lot of fun creating it.
Are You Really an E-Learning Pro?
This is a challenge to all of the elearning gurus out there. I see all sorts of opinions and criticism of rapid elearning from many in the industry. But most of the critics do not offer examples of how they’d build the courses with rapid elearning tools.
But I know that many of them do build courses with the tools. In fact, when I ask some of the critics for examples of their own work, I typically get the “I’d love to show you, but it’s all proprietary” answer. I’m not sure I buy that. It seems to me that you should be able to offer more than just your opinion.
Many of you more experienced elearning developers are building rapid elearning courses. So take this opportunity to show off your skills (and your potential clients why they should choose your services rather than build their courses in-house).
The reality is that a good instructional designer should be able to build a good course regardless of authoring tools. So if you’re in the industry and are known for giving advice on building courses, why not show us all what you can do? In addition, your examples are good inspiration for all of those up and coming developers who want to learn from you.
Tips to Get Started
- David and Jeanette put together a series of blog posts with some good tips and links to relevant tutorials. Even if you don’t enter any contests, the information is good.
- You don’t need to submit a real course (or the entire course if you have one ready to go). I’d make a list of certain things you want to feature, like the tools, interactivity, graphic design, etc. Then pull together a really tight example rather than a full 60 minute course where the really great stuff might be swallowed by the not-so-great.
- Check out other rapid elearning examples for some inspiration. Here’s a list from a recent conference. There’s the community showcase. And of course, previous guru award winners. There are also a bunch of great examples in the community and on Screenr.
- Want to partner with someone, contact me and I’ll see if I can get you connected with someone else. Also, if you are creating a course for the LINGOs competition you can also submit that for the Articulate Guru Awards.
I’ll close with this, good fortune sits at the crossroads between opportunity and action. You have the opportunity, now just take action. Besides, this stuff’s so easy, even a monkey can do it.
Upcoming E-Learning Events
- We'll be adding events for 2017 soon. If you'd like to see one of our workshops in your area just let me know.
- Mar 20 (Orlando). Want to learn to build courses with the right look & feel? Join David Anderson at his all day workshop on Graphic Design Essentials for Non-Graphic eLearning Designers.
- Mar 22-23 (Orlando). Come by the booth at Learning Solutions and say hello.
- April 13 (Minneapolis). Variables Made Easy with Articulate Storyline. Limited seats, so sign up now.
- April 13 (Minneapolis). Articulate User Meet Up. Details coming soon.
- April 14 (Minneapolis). PACT Meeting: Facing Today's Instructional Design Challenges.
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 elearning, instructional design, and training jobs
Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills
Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.